Friendships subject to vanish in thin air

Published 3:00 am Saturday, September 24, 2016

Being stuck in an elevator is not a funny thing.

Someone got stuck in an elevator in Troy Friday afternoon. But, as Miss Alice Bowden used to say, “That’s somebody else’s tale. I sit on mine.”

But my heart went out to the person in the elevator for I have found myself in the same situation and it’s no laughing matter.

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My friend, Bannie, and I were in charge of setting up communion at our church, Brundidge United Methodist, for that First Sunday. It was a rather nippy, late November afternoon and the sun was fading fast. We decided not to carry the communion trays up the steep steps into the sanctuary but to put the trays and communion cloths on a push cart and ride the elevator up.

That worked out fine. We got finished before dark caught us and pushed the cart into the elevator, squeezed ourselves in, closed the door and pushed the down button. We came down but to an uncanny halt. “What did YOU do?” Bannie said, jerking her head in my direction. It’s her inclination to focus blame elsewhere.

She pushed back the cage door and turned the doorknob outside door that would set us free but the door was shut tight. We rattled and pushed the door but it would not budge.

“Call somebody,” I said to Bannie who has had a cell phone implant. Like the tar baby. She just stood there and “didn’t say nothin”.

Finally, “It’s in the car.”

Picture this. Me, Bannie and good-size pushcart stuck in an elevator, the size of a small refrigerator and facing a side street in Brundidge on Saturday afternoon and at dusk.

Bannie has a voice that carries. She put her mouth up to the crack in the elevator and began to yell, “Help! Help!” out into the lonely street. I climbed on the cart and tried to “bust” the door down by banging my hip into it, Wham! Wham!

We were breathing hard. The air was getting thinner.  Hours later, Bannie stopped yelling. No one was out there to hear her. But she kept her face in the crack in the elevator. She was sucking air for the outside, leaving me to suffocate. I climbed back onto the cart and put my nose close to the small crack in the top of the door.

“Maybe … maybe someone will find us when church starts in the morning,” I said.

Bannie just kept sucking air.

Just as darkness set in and we were reconciled to spending the night together on the top of the rolling cart, we heard a voice calling my name.

Was it an illusion?


“In here!” we yelled. “We’re in here! Save us! Save us!”

To this day, Carter Sanders is our hero. He saved us from death in the elevator. How that man from Goshen came to be in the basement of our church in Brundidge on that nippy November later afternoon is another story.

Even today, Bannie and I remain friends. I’m just glad our friendship didn’t come down to who could draw the last breath of fresh air.