Axl,  left, and his 3 year old brother, Julian, taken the day before winter hit, 2014.
“His name is Axl Koch. He’s 4’2” and weighs 50 lbs. He has blond hair. He was not at the Teton County Library when his mom went to pick him up. Nobody working at the Library has seen him. He generally wears a dark blue and green horizontally stripped jacket and has a green, black and white Backcountry branded hat (which in my opinion is too big and falls down over his eyes, which he seems to like). He has a dark blue down quiltedesque backback (full as hell of oversized books he loves to read and if we’re lucky he remembered to bring his lunchbox home from school today, which is normally full of his half eaten lunch).

What color pants is he wearing?

I’m not sure of the color of his pants. I can ask his mom who just drove home to see if he was at her house, which he wasn’t. That’s when I decided to call you. One of his friends told his mom that he had walked from their school, Colter Elementary, nearly 2 miles away instead of taking the bus (not the biggest deal with our incredible and expanding pathway system but today the temperature is negative 3 and walking wasn’t the plan.)

When was he last seen?

I don’t know. He’s not at either his mom’s house or mine. Yes, I’m at the library and will wait here for an officer. OK. Thank you. Oh wait, he just jumped out of someone’s car in front of the library. Yes. He seems fine. OK. Thank you very much for your help.”

That was the fright we had last evening, not knowing where Axl was after school, at dark and in negative temperatures. Axl informed us that he decided to walk to a friend’s house a couple of blocks from the library (where he had taken the bus) to play (unsupervised) instead of being at the library. We informed him, me with a little less energy (but no less gravity) than his mom, that he is to never deviate from the plan unless he (borrows a phone and) calls one of us first. If he cannot reach either of us, he is to not deviate from the plan. Period. Seeing how upset his mother was as a result of his actions seemed enough of a punishment so we left it at that. First time offenses generally get only a discussion. Happy ending to a frightening evening.

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