It’s 6PM and it’s dark outside when the phone rings.
“I can’t find your mother!” Sharon says breathlessly. “Is she with you?”
Sharon is one of mother’s tenants. She sleeps in mom’s trailer in the second bedroom so she can get some space from all her kids and grandkids, who live in the Big White House.
She’s also at my mom’s at night to keep an eye on her.
“Did you call Polly?” I ask. “Polly might have taken her to her house for dinner?”
“I called Polly. She doesn’t know where your mom is.”
“Maybe she’s at Candy’s house,” I say.
“Your mom’s car is here, but she isn’t,” Sharon says. “I’ve looked all through the place, even in her bathroom, and I can’t find her. Even her dog is gone. If she has gone off with someone she wouldn’t take the dog; Becky isn’t a good car rider.”
“I’ll call Candy,” I say. “Mother is usually off with one of us sisters if she’s out at night. The brothers don’t come by this late.”
“I’m going back over to the trailer and look for her, again,” Sharon says. “Call me if you find her!”
I’m nervous. My sister Barbara lives down the mountain so she wouldn’t have Mother at this hour. If Mother isn’t with Candy, we’re in trouble.
I call Candy and tell her Mother is missing and is she with her?
“No,” Candy says. “She’s not with me.”
There is a sucking kind of silence on the line. We are both thinking the same thing. Mother took Becky the Dog out in the fields after dark because she doesn’t want Becky out there by herself with all the coyotes and the mountain lions. Mother has tripped over a stone-hard giant dirt clod, rocketed onto the ground and shattered her hip. ……She’s out there…..Somewhere on 13 acres.
“I’ll call Jim!” I say. “You call Arthur. If they don’t have her we’ll need to run over to Mom’s and start hunting for her.”
Both of us know she won’t be with one of the ‘boys.’
I dial Jim. He answers on the 5th ring and says, “What’s up?”
“Mother’s missing!” I shout. “Do you have her?”
“She must have run off,” Jim says and laughs.
“Why would she do that!?” I demand. “What’s the matter with you? Mother’s missing!”
Then I hear this little tiny, tinny sounding voice; “Honey? Honey? Venus, is that you Honey?”
It’s my mother!
“Jim! Jim!” I’m yelling, “Where is that voice coming from? How did Mother’s voice get on the line? Where are you?”
“I’m driving on Hwy 67,” he says.
I’m thinking, ‘did the phone lines cross from her house to his car and cell phone? Or, more likely, is Mother calling from the dead?’
I’m completely confused but then I hear my mother saying, “Jim, I can’t hear her. Here, you take the line.”
Now, I’m not confused, I’m pissed off.
“YOU have mother!” I holler.
Jim thinks it’s so funny.
He tells me he took her to a board meeting.
Mom is a small investor in his new restaurant and he says he felt she should meet the other investors.
He tells me she couldn’t hear a thing at the meeting but that she had a good time.
My phone rings as I hang up. It’s my sister Polly.
“I forgot that Mother told me she was going with Jim,” she says. “I just remembered.
“How could you forget? I demand to know.
Polly doesn’t know how she could have forgotten and she doesn’t even know how she managed to finally remember.
Now, I have to call Sharon and the family and tell them we’ve found mother. As I finish doing that, the phone rings. It’s Mother.
“Hi Honey,” she says. “I’m home.”
“Well, thank God,” I say. “And where is Becky?”
“She’s right here with me.”
“Sharon said she was missing. Where was she?”
“She’s right here with me,” my mother repeats.
“I couldn’t hear a thing at Jim’s meeting,” she adds, “but I had a good time.”
I tell my Mother that I am really glad she had fun and to please leave a note on the kitchen table when she goes out at night.
“I told your sister, Polly, where I was going,” she says.
“That’s not good enough,” I say. “At this age we all need notes.”
After we hang up I sit and rest for a moment.
I am never going to know where Becky was and why she is now at home with Mother, but that’s OK. Mother disappeared, but now she has re-appeared and all is well in the world.