I was home alone, doing laundry. My friend Amanda was pregnant, and though the baby was due in about a week, technically it could come at any time. So, when my other friend Paul, who is the father, called me, I figured it had something to do with the baby. I was wrong. Really, really wrong.
“Dude, do you remember Scott Laderer?” he asked.
I responded, “Yeah,” because I did. Paul and I had been in Boy Scouts together, and Scott had been in our troop.
“He killed somebody,” said Paul.
My first thought was, what? but after an awkward silence, what I said was, “Really?”
Paul referred me to the Carroll County Times website, where I read, “Russell Scott Laderer Jr., 22, is charged with first- and second-degree murder in the death of Jeremiah Paul DeMario, 26.”
I didn’t know what to say, I didn’t know what to think, I wasn’t even really sure what to do. I just kept doing my laundry, because how else do you respond to something like that? Someone that I know personally, that I’ve known reasonably well and have spent a fair amount of time with, killed someone.
It’s pretty crazy to think about, but it’s not a week-destroyer. These things happen, and you have to move on.
I continued with my week as per the usual, although this was in the back of my mind pretty frequently. I suppose it would have been in the front, but I had schoolwork to do, sources to contact for the newspaper, and my friend Tyler was turning 21 on Thursday (and therefore all weekend).
Unfortunately for Tyler, not only did he have to work on Thursday, but his immediate family had already claimed him for that night, so our celebration would have to wait. Instead, I decided to go to a minor league baseball game in York, PA with my friend Ryan. He works in a York dentist’s office and his boss had given him free tickets to a playoff game for the local team, the York Revolution.
Just as we were getting ready to go, we got a text from our mutual friend Brandon, saying that Paul had instructed him to take off work that night. Amanda was in the hospital and starting to go into labor, and there was a decent possibility that the baby would come that night. Really!? Ryan and I figured that this probably wouldn’t happen until much later, and baseball games don’t last that long, and even if the baby did come soon, we figured we’d have enough notice to get back in time.
So we went to the game. It was awesome. The Revolution lost, but it was fairly eventful. Towards the end of it, Ryan and I began to receive updates from Brandon on the baby situation, and slowly but surely these updates started coming closer together. By the time the game ended, we were planning on going straight to Carroll Hospital Center, with the exception of picking up my car from Ryan’s house, which is on the way.
We start driving. We’re still getting updates. After about five minutes we find out that Amanda has been instructed to start pushing. Really!? At this point, we are no longer planning on picking up my car first.
We basically race to the hospital. We drove from the heart of York, PA to the hospital here in Westminster in under an hour.
The lobby is closed, so we have to go straight to the emergency center. We are the only two people walking around. We don’t even see employees. Finally we find the receptionist. We tell her who we need to see and what for. She tells us that she can’t let anyone upstairs because visiting hours are over. REALLY!? Luckily, Ryan somehow knew this lady, and we were able to convince her to let us go up.
We had arrived at the hospital at 11:03 PM. We got to the waiting room at 11:08 PM. The baby was born at 11:11 PM. Man, that was close.
But my week didn’t stop there. Tyler did indeed turn 21 all weekend. It was fun, but very tiring. It was a fittingly intense party session.
But my week didn’t stop there, either. I had multiple sources that I needed to contact for my newspaper story that week. None of them responded to me, at all. Once again, really?
Luckily that was it. I don’t think anything else could have been crammed into that week. Certainly no more major occurrences could possibly squeeze into that schedule.
I learned a lot that week, I suppose. The most important thing I learned is the answer to that question that I asked myself so many times: really!? And I’m going to share the answer with you. When you are forced to ask really!?, the answer is: yes, really. That’s almost always the answer, and hopefully you, like me, can take some solace in knowing this. It was a crazy, intense, stressful week, with some of the highest peaks and lowest valleys I’ve encountered. And though I learned a lot, and enjoyed a fair portion of what went on, I sincerely hope that I never have another week like that. Really.