Big Scare and Life Lesson Sunday October 11, 2009Posted by gingerbreadman in Rambles.
Ten minutes later, Ron’s daughter sends out another e-mail. Grandma has been missing for over 24 hours, actually. She was supposed to come up to KY to a church up in my neck of the woods to attend morning services and never showed up. No one had seen or heard from her since then and her cell phone calls were going directly to voice mail. The drive off the interstate to the church is a particularly nasty piece of road, so Mike and I decided to set out and go looking for her car since he knows 90 pretty well and he could tell I was losing it just sitting around doing nothing. So, we got the particulars of W’s car, let Ron’s family know what we were doing and set off.
It was about an hour’s drive just to get to the town we were headed for to look for the car and the path W. would have taken. Plenty of time for me to tell Mike all about what a genuinely warm, sweet, loving person W. is. I first met her when Ron and Rhonda started courting back when I was just 16 or so, and his family was big- loud, rowdy-5 boys, all looking like they could play professional football as tackles-and all Gospel Music singers who were famous all over the South. W. made sure to talk to everyone in our family, make us all feel important and special, even though she was the visitor to our hometown.
Later, after Ron and Rhonda got married, I’d often go with them on their ‘singing trips’ when I started dating one of the guys in the group. W. remembered me, though it’d been years since the first time we’d met, and she again went out of her way to make me feel welcome, comfortable. Just a sweet, sweet, woman. Even after Brian and I broke up and I went on to marry and have kids and would run into W. and her husband and family at holidays over at Ron n’ Rhonda’s, we always took time to catch up on each other’s lives, and W. spread her love down to all my girls, bringing them little gifts when she knew she’d be running in to us all.
Driving down that twisting road with all it’s drop-offs and sharp curves, all I could think of is what kind of outcome is really possible for a woman in her mid-60’s who has been missing over 24 hours and can’t be reached? All the hospitals had already been called and she wasn’t in them. The State Police had an A.P.B. on her car, and even after driving the route she would have taken, even getting on the interstate and following it for 13 miles, there was no sign of her car anywhere. We went back to 90 and stopped at every little service station and restaurant asking if anyone had seen her, seen her car. Nothing.
I was heartsick. Worried. In tears thinking of what her sons must be thinking, especially her youngest son Tim who not only didn’t know where his Momma was, but had a wife in the hospital and a daughter who might lose an eye and had a broken nose and foot that needed surgery.
We came back home because Emily had a doctor’s appt. The State Police sent word they’d tracked her phone to Florence, KY. A long, long way from the little church she never made it to on Sunday. My fear just mounted and my confusion about all of this went through the roof.
Then the e-mail came, finally late that afternoon–"Mom’s been found. She’s fine."
So I called Ron’s daughter and asked her what had happened, where had she been, what was going on??!
She wouldn’t say, only that Ron would e-mail everyone later and explain, that it was "embarrassing" and they had to figure out how to deal with it first.
Well, me and my dirty mind, I immediately thought W., after 3 years of widowhood had found a boyfriend and didn’t want the boys to know. But why drive practically two states away for *that*? Florence, KY is practically on the Ohio border.
Turns out W. has a gambling addiction. Florence has race tracks and a casino of some kind. Bless her heart.
I cannot imagine the mortification Ron must be feeling, knowing his Momma he reveres lied about going to church in another state only to head up this way to gamble. Or how W. feels, knowing she was gambling while her granddaughter and son needed her, that the police had an A.P.B. on her.
How often do we set off to do something, never thinking for a moment that at any time, someone could need us *that minute* and if we simply turned off our cell phones we couldn’t be found if we didn’t want to be? Even if it’s not something shameful or forbidden or deceitful? Just hours we’ve decided to go away and take time for us? I don’t know how I’d ever live with myself if I went off on one of my little excursions I’m always threatening to take and something were to happen and one of the girls needed me.
I feel so badly for W. I don’t know if she has a gambling addiction or if she just likes playing the slots. I know she scared the hell out of a lot of people who love her. I know she lied to people she loved. I know she would never willingly put anything above being there for her kids and grandkids.
I know it’s put me off watching those darn Forensic Files shows Mike had me watching with him for so long too. I had such awful pictures in my head the entire ride up and down highway 90. But for once we were wrong. A 60-ish year old woman can vanish for 24 hours and her car be nowhere to be found along the route she was supposed to take and it still turns out okay. The sweet woman is still here with us.
I’ll write about the birthday from hell in a few days. LOL