Reaction Time

Reaction Time

Due to the Covid 19 virus, my wife Louise and I have had the rare opportunity to spend extended periods of time with our first grandchild (as of this writing 10 month old toddler), William “Blue” Norton.  To avoid potential exposures in his day care center, we were taking care of him in his home on weekdays while his Daddy and Momma work.  One morning as we explored their back yard I decided to hoist Blue up on my shoulders for an elephant ride as I had done a hundred times with both my boys.  He was delighted and in his joyous squealing exuberance somehow knocked the glasses from my face.  Startled and without thinking I began to lean forward to retrieve the glasses.  As I did, Blue lurched backward and in an instant would be tumbling some 6 feet to the ground had I not somehow latched on to his calves as they slid off my shoulders.  I was overwhelmed with relief and gratitude as I realized that we had been spared from likely a very serious injury.  My sense is that I had been blessed– the reaction time that was sufficient to stop his fall was well out of the normal range of a 67 year old grandpa.

I immediately thought of the wonderful scene in the beginning of the classic Christmas Movie– The Bishop’s Wife.  A young mother, distracted by a Christmas display leaves the carriage unattended for a moment and it rolls away towards city traffic but Dudley the angel catches the carriage just in time to save her baby.  She is overwhelmed with gratitude and says, “oh, how can I ever thank you?”  His reply is, “Don’t try, just don’t let it happen again.”  I believe that God’s presence with us that day intervened to protect Blue, and also that I was given a chance to not let it happen again.

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Wes Norton, my son, has the incredible ability to be both caring and serving at the same time.  He’s a practical ‘people lover’ to his large family as well as friends and those he protects through his job.  Married to Louise Norton, his sons are Phil and Peter, (who is the father of baby William,”Blue” Norton).

He worked 40 years as an Industrial Hygienist for General Motors, and, in retirement, is a consultant.

Wesley was the very first recipient of the Frank Patty Award for Outstanding Industrial Hygienist.  Patty was internationally known as a leader and pioneer in Industrial Hygiene and was at one time the head of General Motors Industrial Hygiene.

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