...with love all things are possible

Believe ...

Believe ...

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

The DragonWagon's Mum - Part 4

Days 5 - 7

My last "official" sighting outside Calvary

          Day 5 - Carlos had driven me to school earlier that Thursday, because my car had had to go into the shop.  So he came to pick me up after 5 o’clock.  I had some boring errands to run so he chose to wait in the car.  That’s when somehow he missed that call.  He’d missed that call?  We were driving homeward and he excited and I desperate – talking but not communicating.  For the life of me I couldn’t understand why Christian would hang up the phone and not tell his father where he was.  I couldn’t fathom why Carlos wouldn’t ask him! 
            “But ... it was a voicemail!” Carlos exclaimed at last.
“What? Oh, duh!”  I slapped my forehead, “No wonder, I wasn’t getting it.  So when did he leave it?”
“When you were in the store,” Carlos said, “I don’t know why my phone didn’t ring.”
“Just now?” I squeaked, “Why didn’t you call back?” my heart was poun  My crazed mother-hands want to smack his calm-Vcop-attitude.
ding in my ears.
“I did, but they told me he wasn’t there any more.”
“Where? How? Who?” I sputter.
“I don’t know.”
“You don’t know where you called?”
“No, I just called back.”
“You didn’t ask?”
“I think they said the name, but I didn’t understand.”
“Argh!” I’m frustrated but excited too, “So why are we just driving home?  Don’t you think we should go?  Find him, I mean? We’re the support team!   Don’t you think if he’s blown out a tire or something, we should get up there and help?”
“Yes,” he paused, never rushing into anything, “But how do we know where he is?”
“I don’t know,” but I have faith, enormous faith, “He’s got to be somewhere near Narcoossee Road on 192, right?” I’m scouring the map in my head with all my yellow pins on it knowing that we’d agreed to meet on the weekend somewhere in that neighborhood.
“Yeah.” Carlos replied. “So, you think we should go up or should we wait?”
“Go! Go! Go!  Turn around right here and get on the highway,” I’m jumping up and down in my seat.  Why am I not the driver?  Why am I not in charge of this rescue mission?  He’s moving like molasses to me and I could probably jump out of the car, run around it and jump in the driver’s seat before he’d realized what had happened.  But that’ him and this is me, yet another testament to why we get on so well and why we fight so much.  We’re about as different as a bed and a chair.
“You think so?” he actually begins to slow down the car.
“Yes!” I wail, “Turn, turn here!" I almost want to tug the  I point.
At last we’re on the I-95 headed North and getting our ducks in a row.
His call came from a number.  Hah, of course it did, but whose number?  Who cared? We’d figure this out, but the important thing was that we were reducing the distance between him and us.
Then came iron-man’s confession.  As we turned onto 192 and into the late afternoon sun (very reminiscent of my drive only a few days prior) Carlos confessed he’d just driven up this road before picking me up at school.
“What? Today?”
He looked a little sheepish as he nodded. He’d driven all the way to Narcoossee Road, but not seen anything.
“So you had a premonition then?” I gasped.
“Yeah, maybe I did,” he shrugged.  “But I didn’t find him.”
He must’ve had a premonition because it was right around the time Christian was struggling with the wretched wheels. 
“Wow.  That’s amazing.  We definitely have to find him then.” We were chewing up the miles by the time I called that number, steeling myself to speak to some grumpy clerk or foreigner.  It was a rowdy line when the man answered the phone.  I couldn’t understand the name of the place.
“Excuse me? Who am I speaking to?”
“This is the Cozy Corner.”
“Oh, hello.  Is that a convenience store?”
“No, ma’am, we’re a bar.”
“Ah, I see.  I just got a phone call from my son, who borrowed your phone…”
“Oh, yeah!  The walker?” I could hear the smile in is voice.
“Yes!” I beamed, “That’s the one.  He left without telling us where he would be, would you happen to know where he went?”
“I sure do…” and the angel gave me precise directions of how and where to find Christian.

Carlos and I grinned.  My eyes flicked heavenward as I shot up one of my many gratitude arrows. Two agnostics and one Christian.  I’m the Christian.  You get to work out the other two.  It gets confusing because Christian is not Christian, but he's attracting all the angels. Carlos, on the other hand, wears wear a cross around his neck (and has done since the very first time I met him 35 years ago!)

My excitement mounted the closer we got; I couldn’t wait to see him and hear how it’d gone.  Did he manage to overcome the obstacles that no doubt had been thrown in his path? Had he enjoyed his alone time?  What did he think about when he walked and walked?
At last the sign for the Colonial Inn appeared, directly across the road from a field of cows.  Old, tired, but someone had been kind enough to paint over its wrinkles.

Rat-a-tat-tat-tattat!  I rapped on the door of Number 2 as Carlos pulled up and when Christian threw open the door, the first thing he saw was the red Mazda.
Christian whooped, Carlos honked, I hooted.  You’d think we hadn’t seen him for months.  It was a magic moment.  Who knows what we all said as we hugged, and hollered, and carried on.  It was a rowdy few minutes with the three of us chattering at once.

50 some miles later - tires totally ruined

“The FOUR tires collapsed,” he told us as he led us into his room.  There was the DragonWagon looking slain, lying on its side, wheel-less.  It was a horrific sight, each wheel worse than the previous.  One flat, two chewed down to the strings and inner tubes, one missing its ball bearings … a sad, sad sight.  But ... there were two new ones on the Wagon?  Huh?
“What about these?” I pointed.
“Ah, well, there’s the story,” Christian said and went on to tell us about Deputy McCue, from the Osceola Sheriff's Department, who stopped on the side of the road, to check Christian out.  After all, he does look rather shifty!
How does the only person who stops on the highway just happen to have two whole wheels of this exact type of wagon?  This is not your typical wagon, y’know. 
“Sit tight,” he’d said to Christian (who had nothing else to do but sit tight with this wheel-less wagon), and turned up some time later with two brand new wheels.  The perfect size.  The perfect fit.

I’m sitting on the couch watching Christian recount his tale and I’m looking at the wheels, the old and the new.  A rush of gratitude overtakes me.  More arrows heavenward. There is good everywhere, there really is good everywhere.  In a world that has become so corrupt with never-ending bad news, frantic headlines, bleeding articles, it’s such a relief to see that good is out there still.

We offered to bring Christian home to make the necessary repairs and return him to this same location.  But he chose to stay.  Incredibly, right between Christian’s motel in the middle of nowhere and the Cozy Corner there was a U-Haul rental store that was able to order him a couple of new tires.  

So … who do you think is on his side?

Sunday, 2 November 2014

The DragonWagon's Mum - Part 3

Day 1 - 5

These are his shoes...

Blow-out!  We got a voice mail from Christian on day 5 saying he’d had a “problem” with his four tires but that he wasn’t going to be at the number he was calling from.  There was no mention of where he was nor what his plan was.

“But he’s fine!  He’s alive!” Those are the first thoughts that rush to my mind.  “He’s alive.”


When Christian was out in Iraq with the Army in ’05, we would go weeks and months without hearing from him, and while it was worrying, of course, somehow we always knew “no news was good news.”  The Army had multiple ways of contacting us if needed. 

This adventure, however, is totally different for me. It’s requiring a faith of a completely different magnitude, because (God forbid,) if something happens to him, there is no grapevine that can get us a message since he cancelled his phone.  Possible scenarios have flashed intermittently through my mind, until I can bring the devilish thoughts under control again.  After all, he’s a man!  My father told me so, without mincing his words, back in ’04 when Christian was called up to serve. I refuse to contemplate any more horrific scenarios.  I have turned over my son into God’s hands. 

So the problem with writing this blog today, is that I should have written it three days ago.  Before I’d heard his message.  Because I am now writing from a place of ease and comfort.

You can read Christian's own account here as I won’t go into any of those details, because, of course, that’s his story.  I’m just going to tell you what happens to me.  Because that’s my story.


Before the phone call, before my moment of ease and comfort, was Day 1.  Throughout the scorching afternoon, (see The DragonWagon’s Mum Part 2) I couldn’t help pinning yellow tacks on the map in my head. How far? Blisters? Any other angels?  At my event, we stood at long tables handing out water and hot dogs to thousands of people from four to seven pm, with no shade and staring directly west.  West into the sun.  West in the direction Christian was headed. 

So by the time I flopped into my car, burned to a crisp, my mind was racing, you know it was. Home? Or west? Home or west? I stopped at the traffic light at the parking lot exit, my mind in a screaming debate.  A left turn would take me home and a right turn would lead me to 192.

It had only been four hours since I’d seen him.  But there was something about that look in his eyes, something about that walk down the road from our house, something about something … that I wasn’t entirely sure about. A mother-thing. I needed to know, so when the light turned green, I jumped out of the left-turn lane and turned right.

         I didn’t spot him for the longest time.  He’d walked much farther than I’d expected, or maybe it was that second-to-second agony of looking and fearing I’d missed him.  How far would I drive before I turned back and started again?  Would I then get out and beat the bushes to try and find his campsite?  I hoped I wouldn’t stoop so low, but I don’t know…

When I caught sight of him, my heart wobbled – there he was and there he was, a lone figure in the wilderness of an dying autumn evening… I slowed to a crawl and battled my colliding instincts.  He hadn’t seen me creep up from behind because he was on the opposite side of the road, facing oncoming traffic.

        I wished I'd taken a better movie, but I guess I wasn't focused on the technicalities.  By the time he was level with the only tree for miles, the camera wasn't picking him up. I could stop right there and let him walk on, or I could intercept him.   It wasn’t that I didn’t think he could make it, quite the contrary!  He’s an amazing man who’s accomplished some extraordinary things, so clearly this was more about me, right?
I decided to intercept him.  Give him a last Hoorah.  I think I needed to make sure that the degree of sadness I’d seen in the back of his eyes as he’d left the house and later the event, had passed.  I needed to be convinced that he was convinced.

We said hello and I touched his arm, it was clammy.  “You’re freezing,” I gasped, pointing out the obvious.
“Nah, I’m warm,” he smiled.
“You looked so lonely out here.”
“Not lonely, Mum.  Alone maybe, but not lonely.”
At that moment I looked deep into his eyes and I knew.  He’d done it.  He was focused and contented now.  My heart sighed with relief, the adventure was really beginning for him and for me.
“When are you stopping for the night?”
“Not sure.  I wanted to make it to the stream, but I don’t know how much further I’ve got left.  I’m sensing there’s water up ahead,” he jutted west with his chin.
The sun had slipped behind the horizon and I didn’t want to keep him any longer.  Yes, my phone app showed him he was only a short distance from the stream.  I had to let him go.

Do our kids get bored of us telling them how proud we are of them?  Is there a limit to how many times we tell them we love them before they choke on the repetitiveness of it?  I don’t know.  I wasn't ready to find out just then.
“I love you, Wister-man, I’m so proud of what you’re doing.”
“Thanks. I love you too, Mum.”
“Off you go then,” I beam at him and we wave as he strides off.

Yeah, he’s going to be OK.