As we drive along the highway in the morning, we pass a black board type sign post, that has various lighted pieces of information or warnings. We have seen it display cautionary measures, such as being aware of slippery roads due to inclement weather, and advance warning for road closures. One of my favourite, however, was displayed on Monday; it is a regular occurrence to see 'Elderly couple missing from..... driving.......', stating from where they are missing, and what vehicle they are driving. There seem to be an inordinate amount of old people going missing. Originally, I thought that perhaps it was over anxious children, unable to reach their parents on the telephone. Yes, I am an over anxious child, as well as an over anxious mother. I, too, could not get hold of my mother one afternoon, and called my sister to see if she had spoken to her. Between landlines and mobiles, we could not contact her. Finally, as Elise was speeding down the connecting road from her town to mum's, I was successful in my call. She told me that her mobile had dropped out of her bag, and was in the car, and that she had not put the 'hands free' into her apron pocket, when clearing up in the garden. I had to get Samantha to call Elise, to tell her that the crises had been averted, as Mum was unaware (thankfully) of our panic, and was in full 'chat mode'. We did not call the police, and did not inform anyone who would display 'missing elderly lady' on a sign. We are still not convinced she is not 'paying us back' for all those times we made her worry.
This week, I came to the conclusion that each time the sign displays 'Elderly couple missing', it is referring to the same couple. As they settle into a well earned retirement, their idea of entertainment is mingled with mischief. 'Let's tell the kids we are going to the store, and then take off somewhere! Then we can count how many signs we make light up!' Yes, as you can see, I have already worked out ways of irritating my children in years to come! I shall put them through the same worry through which I put my mother.
Worrying about the whereabouts of my mother has equalled the worrying about the whereabouts of my children. In fact, I have to phone my daughter if I am out past nine o'clock, to let her know it is intentional! My son insists my mother telephone him if she leaves his home after dark. How the tables have turned! My children have always been very patient and understanding with me, when I insist they call me to let me know they are 'safe'. I do understand that I would find out soon enough if they were not!
On Friday, Samantha called me several times, for various reasons, each time being less convenient than the last. She left the office in the afternoon to go home, and was gone for no more than a couple of minutes before my phone rang. 'You've only just left', I grumbled as I reached for my phone. She very calmly told me she was okay. 'Great!', I said, before my audible memory allowed the next part to kick in. 'You're kidding!', I said (why do people always say that!) as I realised the rest of her sentence had been, 'Someone has just gone into the side of the car!' My next action was fairly typical of me when others are around to take off the pressure. I ran around the office, shouting, 'Someone has just hit Samantha in the car'. Everyone was on their feet and heading for the door, before I stopped circling like a headless chicken. Of course, I was the epitome of chaos by the time I reached Samantha, who was about fifty feet from the front door. Ready to shout garbled nonsense at a woman who was standing waving her arms about, Samantha explained that she was actually offering herself as a witness. The perpetrator was a young man who had backed his 'big ol' Cadillac into Samantha's passenger door. Samantha seemed to be alright. I was less composed.
If I am the only one to deal with a problem, I deal with it efficiently. If I have someone who can cope with the problem, at hand, I go to pieces. I took the dog from Kyle, our young process server, and proceeded to walk him round in circles. Each time I circled back to the crowd that was surrounding the dented door, I made reference to the fact that I my husband would be coming to look at the damage. After several circuits, I returned the dog to Kyle, and went to find my husband, who had failed to appear to look at the damage. 'I don't know what to do!' I told him, as he sat at his desk, desperately trying to complete a task that was of utmost importance. There was no way he could leave his desk for at least the next five minutes. He thought the next piece of advice would be helpful. 'If there is more than $500 worth of damage, you must call the police'. As I stood in my Haute Couture, asking if I resembled a welders apprentice, Samantha and the offending driver entered, with Kyle and the dog.
Having completed his task, and realising that I was as useful as a chocolate teapot, Dana called the local Police Station, and learned that Friday afternoon was not a good time for a their officers to attend a minor scrap, which was fortunate for our young, short sighted driver, as he would be sure to have received a ticket. With more than a dozen people willing to add their name to the witness list, they would probably have locked him up and thrown away the key! Once all the formalities were completed, insurance details exchanged, one or two phone calls made, (and I continued to walk the dog, this time in circles around the office,) the young man asked, 'Are you okay?' Samantha smiled, and I responded, 'Oh yes, thank you. Bit shakey but I shall be fine!' Samantha's smile disappeared and was replaced by one of those looks you receive from your kids when you know you have exceeded the outer limits of embarrassment. Samantha did start to shake slightly, and I pulled myself together long enough to make her sit down for a minute, before she went home. She promised she would let me know when she had 'arrived safely'.
The day came to an end with no further personal incidents, although there was a slight hold up on the way home. The delay was due to passing cars slowing down to view a policeman who had stopped another vehicle. As we passed, I noticed the occupants and turned to Dana, squealing with delight, 'It's the elderly couple!' The young officer had pulled over a 'mature' gentleman and female passenger. Of course, only time will tell if it is in fact the elderly couple, as I am sure they have an array of alias identities.
This morning both my mother and my children appeared to be safe and accessible by telephone. Perhaps tomorrow the signpost will reveal that the elderly have gone on yet another voyage through Texas, once again turning the tables, and leaving the kids to worry about the parents! Hopefully, I shall have less traumatic news when I report.....another story.