|The call came in at 1:30 pm. I had been writing all morning, having good success in putting myself into the story as I wrote. I was hip-deep into a new adventure on the planet Xorgan when the phone jangled me out of my creative fantasy.
“Hello. Oh, hi Mom. What’s up?”
“I’m sorry to bother you, dear. I know you’re working today.”
“It’s okay, Mom.” I lied. “What can I do for you?”
“Well, I’m probably overreacting, but it’s your father.”
“Dad? What’s wrong? Is he alright?”
“I don’t know, dear. That’s why I’m calling. He went to get the mail at about 12:30 and he hasn’t returned and I…”
“Oh Mom! You didn’t let him go alone, did you?”
Her mother burst into tears. “He gets so mad when I tell him he can’t even go get the mail by himself. And he has been doing so well, lately. I just thought I would let him go and see how he does. It’s such a beautiful day. I didn’t have the heart to tell him no. And now…”
“Okay, Mom. I’m on my way.” I grabbed my purse and began the 15-minute drive to my parents’ house out on Mill Creek Trail. Up ahead I saw a black dog bound onto the gravel road, pick something up, and run back toward the ditch. Slowing, I looked and there was my father petting the dog, preparing to throw the stick again.
“Dad! What are you doing here? We’ve been worried sick.”
“Well, hey there, Patricia. I’m just out throwing sticks for Blackie. Can’t a boy even play with his dog in this family?”
Blackie was my father’s Labrador growing up. Blackie died in 1946. I could see that this was going to be difficult.