Making “that call”

I’m sure glad the weather broke a bit, so that I could pound the pavement some. I needed to take a fast walk to get the morning behind me.


It has been awhile since I had to make that first call. Even though it was over 5-and-a-half years ago, I remember it like it was yesterday. Not just that call itself, but the before and the after.  The next couple of times I had to make the call are a little fuzzy.  That first call is a story for another day.

Today the “before” began with a phone call from my sister Paula. A little bit later there was a text from the preacher, Ray. Then I made a bunch of unanswered calls, and then exchanged texts with both of them.

Two hours after Paula and I first talked, I decided that it was time to make “the call.”

“The call” was to the dispatcher at the office of the sheriff in St. Francois county….where my almost-91-year-old father lives alone in the country.

He has lived in that house outside Doe Run longer than any other place in his life. 29 years. And he doesn’t know any of his neighbors. Not even their names. Nobody I can contact to check on him, other than the sheriff. Fuck Me!!


Today was the same fact pattern as before: numerous calls to both the landline and the cell phone go unanswered. When I made that first call to the sheriff back in 2011, the folk’s landline was busy and they weren’t answering the cell. My Mom often forgot to press “End” at the conclusion of a call on the landline. Like today, the ringtone volume on the cell had been turned down to 0.1.

I’m not sure how many times my sister or the pastor tried both linesthis morning, but I made a dozen calls to the house and the cell before I called dispatch and asked to have someone go check on Dad.

Then I get to wait for the phone to ring…thinking about “the after.”

There are lots of possibilities:

A. The sheriff calls and tells me that everything is fine.

B. The sheriff calls and tells me that Dad died in his sleep…or in his blue chair…or at his desk…or in the yard…or wherever.

C. The sheriff calls and tells me that Dad is alive and appears to have had a stroke.

D. Dad calls to thank me for having the sheriff check on him….and says that he hadn’t gotten any calls on either phone….and has no idea why not.


Once again it was “D.” I was glad to hear his voice and not that of some deputy or EMT.

Dad’s landline was dead this morning. (Later I called his provider to report the outage. Another unsatisfying contact with AT&T. Fuck Me!!)

Once again he turned the cell’s ringtone off. (That one is a losing battle. It’s never gonna stop. He’s never gonna stop turning it off and not knowing it. I repeat: Fuck Me!!)

Thankfully it was NOT “C.” I don’t want him to spend the last years of his life in a nursing home like his three nonagenarian siblings did.


This is the first time I’ve written about family. In my first blog piece I wrote: “There are lots of things that I want to write about that might upset friends and family. I’m thinking that they know more about my life and my lifestyle than they acknowledge.”

My relationship with my Dad is complex. I’ve got lots of “dad stories” but I’m not sharing them for awhile. I did share my dream of how I wanta die. I’ve got a dream of Dad’s last day too. I might share that sometime soon…I have already shared it with Dad. Most of the other family stories will have to wait.

Until then:  Just Be.  Things happen….that’s all they ever do.

Reverse Rapture

I can remember exactly where I was when I came up with the concept of, and name for, what I call the “The Reverse Rapture.” It was sometime after 9 PM on a July evening in 2009. Even though I wasn’t keeping a journal back then, I can get close to the date based on a paragraph in an e-mail dated July 15 that I sent soon thereafter to one of my best friends.

I was the owner of a franchised business at the time. My one remaining store was in a 5-parcel strip center. I was doing what in the army was called “a police call” of the parking lot. Most days that I was at the shop I would pick up litter when I first arrived or after we had closed….or both.

I have always detested litter bugs. Why do these lazy, inconsiderate assholes think the planet is their trash can or ash tray??
That night, in addition to big gulp cups, empty aquafina bottles, and macdonald’s bags there was this trifecta of trash: (1) a soiled baby diaper; (2) a used condom; and (3) a truck tire.

I grumbled at the sight of the first; didn’t touch the second; and spewed a string of profanities when I spotted the third…words that I’ve never uttered in front of my parents. There is no doubt that I called these cretins “god damned mother fucking assholes” out loud, even though there was no one there to hear me.

As I was lugging the tire to the dumpster I flashed on it: my version of “the Reverse Rapture.” It has nothing to do with religious beliefs. It does not result in anybody being caught up in the clouds or in a fiery pit. I don’t know where shitheads would go. They’d just go away.

In the Christian rapture the “saved folks” vanish. They would be lots of car wrecks because of cars without drivers, planes without pilots, people waking up in their house as the only person left behind, yada yada.
The same thing would happen in my Reverse Rapture. The cretins dematerialize. Poof.
Here’s what I wrote in the 7/15/2009 e-mail: “it would be like the rapture, except people would look around and the people missing would all be cretins….churches wouldn’t be empty…prisons would be. pimp mobiles wouldn’t have drivers….and the offices of dewey, cheatum and how (and most other law firms) would be short a lot of people…” [Note: At that time I was in a legal battle with my greedhead franchisor. The Faux Cowboy and his scumbag lawyer were total cretins. Eventually my lawyer and I kicked their ass. 🙂 ]

I know this “Reverse Rapture” concept is very judgmental of me. Tough. Whether it’s my version or the biblical version, I’m a leftover….

Yeah, I know it’s a stretch for the litterbugs and those who routinely speed through red lights at busy intersections to get vaporized along with murderers, pedophiles, people who prey on the old and the sick, greedheads, gang bangers, wife beaters, ISIS, and flimflam men.

But I sure do like the sound of waking up one day on this big blue marble to a much smaller population, especially when those who vanished were the cretins.

Be. Just Be.
But don’t litter and don’t be a shithead.

Two daughters and a beautiful wife…

Yesterday evening we attended the 25th annual brick-laying ceremony at the Victims Memorial Garden in Phelps Grove Park. New engraved bricks were added to the garden to honor victims of violent crimes, their families and those who serve them in the Springfield community.

I always experience a range of emotions while listening to the words of those dedicating bricks. There are stories of heroes and stories of heinous crimes; stories of people who counsel and support victims; stories of those who track down and prosecute the perpetrators. The folks in blue who keep us safe are out in full force….at least 40 in dress uniform.

Continue reading

More DIDLing….

DIDL: 2017-4 Chicago

The first time I saw Chicago in concert I was a PFC, stationed at Ft. Bragg. It was just after they had released their third album. Their count now is 31, including a bunch of double albums.

Our seats back in 1971 were up in the rafters and behind the band at about 10 o’clock in a 10,000+ seat building in Charlotte with gymnasium acoustics. That building is long gone….and so are some of the data points from that night. (It has been awhile. I was a tad toasted that night.)

Continue reading