A peculiar situation Perhaps you have had such coincidence...
|Mama, Me, and the FBI
Frankly, it puzzled me that my mother decided to move back to Wisconsin from her retirement home in Arizona. She lived alone after my stepfather died, that I knew. But she was constantly being visited by my sisters, her cousin, retired friends from work.
Nonetheless, that was her decision, so my 15 year-old son, who was too young to drive but at 6’4” big enough to help me load furniture, flew with me to Phoenix to carry out her wish.
We spent an April morning and afternoon packing and loading and left that evening to subtract some miles from the journey home, sleeping that night in Flagstaff.
The next day was a full day of driving for me. My mother had finally gotten a license when she was 55 but had never driven a truck, so that made me the lone driver. That is why, when we were ready to leave the motel in Tucumcari, NM, under an overcast sky, I first wanted to get the weather report.
Afterward, I turned to the news. What I learned was interesting enough to keep me tuned to the radio as we began the day’s long trek through the Texas panhandle first and then north into the Midwest.
As we drove further east, the radio news became more and more detailed about an extraordinary event. Hours later, I could see evidence of the event from the freeway. There to my left was a flurry of activity and streaming lights from the emergency vehicles clustered at the Federal Building.
Imagine my chagrin when, as I was driving through downtown Oklahoma City, the newscaster reported that the bomb had been delivered in a Ryder truck, of the same type that I was driving!
I could only turn to my mother and say, “We’re going to be stopped.” I was thoroughly surprised that we were not.
But a year later, my mother, then 71, telephoned me, agitated that she had gotten a letter from the FBI, wanting her to call them. They were in the middle of their investigation and wanted specific information, which was detailed on a sheet of paper.
So I made arrangements for her to come to my house, where we took out the road atlas to trace, once again, our exact route and gathered together all the details and locations. It was with those notations that I called the agent at the 800 number supplied with the letter.
In a half hour conversation, I answered every question that she asked me— where the truck was rented and returned, what counties we had driven through, what the three of us looked like, our purpose in renting the truck and driving that route.
It was after the phone call ended that I realized there were other matters she knew nothing about. For, you see, my son had just left for Europe the day before to be an exchange student, the same day his place of employment caught fire. And I had been in Madison, Wisconsin, twenty-five years before when Sterling Hall was bombed on the University of Wisconsin campus by three Vietnam War protestors. I was not one of them.
She never asked, and I never told, once again feeling very much a prisoner of coincidence.