The Beat Surrender [ 2007-01-17, 5:34 a.m. ]

Yesterday was the day that I thought would be "the day I found out my father was dead". It started off ok. Work was productive, though tiring. I was glad to look forward to my three days off in a row because of getting a comp day for Christmas day. I called my sister Mandy on the drive home and we chatted for twenty minutes. Reminiscing about how when I was a little kid and we lived in Columbia,SC, how the slightly older couple with the teenage daughter let us stay with them during an ice storm when the power went out. My dad had been out of town during the week usually back in those days because he was a traveling salesman for Western Uni0n.

So we hung up when I was almost home and I got into the house and decompressed from the day. Thought about making dinner but wanted a nap first. I laid there for a few minutes and then my cell rang. It was Mandy calling to let me know that my mom had called her in a panic. My mom had gotten a call from my dad's work. The guy he was supposed to relieve (my dad is a security guard at a construction company) said my dad hadn't shown up for work. And this was almost an hour and a half after the fact. My dad is ALWAYS on time. So therefore, panic. Mandy called 911 and they told her to call emergency rooms and they would send out a description of his car to all the police to keep an eye out for.

My sister called me and I told her I'd go over to my mom's to keep her company while this was going on. On the way over there, I had to keep a reign on my tears. Now was not the time for it. If I arrived there with the obvious signs of tears, it would just make my mom feel worse. I kept thinking...will this day, Jan.16th be forever in my head as the day my father died. How would I take care of my mother? I wasn't prepared for this. Who ever is?

I got to my parents' house and saw my sister and her eldest daughter,Jen, had just arrived. I saw Jen hugging my mom and thought "Please, Lord, no". But I got out of the car and my mom said she hadn't heard anything yet. My sister was goinng to call emergency rooms again. I suggested calling his work back. My mom said the guy at his work said he would call if my dad showed up. I said I didn't trust people at work places. One rarely gets messages communicated. So I called. And I hear a voice. "Who is this?" I asked. "Tom (last name)" "Daddy?" (a true southern girl am I) Turns out that my dad had been letting some construction guys out the back gate when he was about to relieve the first guy and the guy stupidly thought he wasn't there. It was one huge misunderstanding.

The relief of hearing his voice was this completely physical thing. I could breathe again, for starters. My mom, sister and niece both heard me talking to him and were stunned. I handed the phone over to my mom. I am so glad that I thought to call his work place back. My mom doesn't need this in her life. It will be rough enough when something for real DOES happen. Mandy called our other sister, Christy, to let her know the outcome. It's times like this when I'm more than glad that I live in the same town as my parents. I know Christy wishes Charleston was even closer than the 3.5 hour drive that it is.

I stayed with mom for a while so she could have some company while she relaxed after that worry. Poor thing. I'm glad my kitty lives with them. Nothing like a cat to help soak up stress.

So. The next three days I have off. I may go to the karaoke place tomorrow night. Not sure quite yet.

I am currently reading an advanced copy of a memoir by Rob Sheffield, who is a contributing editor to Rolling St0ne. I'm only about twenty pages into it but I love it. He's mentioned Drunken Boat and that sealed it. Since I got my fave cd of Drunken Boat off of eBay this past year because it's out of print...I had to read this book.

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Ryan Adams