Coming Home May Not Always Be Best
Imagine instead of winning money, you became the recipient of the sum total of all the attention, affection, and love you imagined you have need. Would you then be contented?
You may respond, “I do not know.”
I may ask, “Why?”
“Simply speaking honestly, I do not have a reference point to imagine what the experience would be like, for I have never been on familiar terms with attention, affection, and love.
Making a telephone call to the local police department is not something I look forward ever doing however this particular Wednesday night I felt duty-bound.
It was a warm evening, a little after 11:00 p.m. I just arrived home from attending a movie at the local theater rewarding myself for a working hard all week. With the movie behind me having accomplishing its purpose, I was really looking forward to a long deep sleep.
Driving through the partially lit parking lot a woman unexpectedly became visible. Crossing close in front of my car she was wearing an outfit in character of a person of modest means. Pushing a shopping cart full of household and personal items, the only object missing from the ensemble that would complete a furnished apartment was a kitchen sink --- okay and yes a bed too.
To the average passerby, her presence accompanied with a full shoppping cart may suggest the notion that an all night garage sale or a neighborhood swap meet may be near. Her aura immediately brought to my mind that she might be trying to skip out of her apartment before she was evicted for not paying rent. What may be thinking this fellow is a cynic Truth be told my interpretation is the result of having worked many years in the apartment property management business.
Having worked in the apartment property management business for nearly twenty years, someone leaving in the middle of the night, (skipping out), has not turned out to be as common as my prior bias had been lead to believe. It has occurred a time or two, three or four! Now all I need is The Fab Four, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, John Lennon, and Ringo Starr begin to sing I I Saw Her Standing There (Lennon and McCartney).
Well, she was just 17
You know what I mean,
And the way she looked was way beyond compare.
So how could I dance with another, (ooh!)
And I saw her standin’ there/.
This was not the case nor was it the welcome that I got when I introduced myself. She reminded me of a card carrying ACLU member. Her reaction triggered an earlier memory when I was in college. I received a business card from the College Legal Aid. The small card bore information written about basic civil rights along with what to say to legally satisfy local law enforcement if approached without giving up any information that may lead to self incrimination.
She seemed to have read that card too. She neither revealed her identity nor where she had collected the goodies from. She simply stated emphatically, she was not attempting to move out and her response had to be acceptable for me. Still, I had watched enough of “COPS” television shows to know her oddness seemed particular peculiar. My gut instinct communed with my spirit by manifesting an overwhelming urgency to call the police.
With in minutes a patrol cruiser made its presence known. After I identified myself and added details of what I had earlier observed, the police officer was dispatched to another more vital radio call.
Being friendly still I got the impression the officer breathed a sigh of relief, as he stated, “If you see her again give us a call.” “I Gotta go!”
Just as quickly as he had appeared, poof, he disappeared. Had he actually been there at all? Still I was troubled the woman I had earlier observed. Like a bursting dam my imagination burst out with thoughts to suggestive maybe she burgled an apartment. The source of this and other imaginative options may be due to the action picture I had just returned home from. Maybe that was it. I don’t’ know. If the police were not concerned and I had to take her word that she was not slipping out avoiding paying rent, it seem a good time to hit the hay. Anyway, it has been my experience as the Latin phrase; tempus omnia revelat which translates to time reveals all things…
Thursday morning, about 3:00 a.m. from deep in the cloister of my mind, I was aroused from slumber by the canorous sound of a solitary bell. This bell was not however found in the steeple of a Benedictine monastery chapel calling me to Nocturns: the first service in the Liturgy of Hours prayed at the beginning of the new day between midnight and daybreak. This ringing was simply located in an invention that history has credited to “… an inspired black-haired Scotsman of twenty eight, on the eve of marriage, vibrant and alive to new ideas.” Alexander Graham Bell: The Life And Times Of The Man Who Invented The Telephone. Yes all this to say I was awaken by my phone ringing.
A sultry voice requested my full attention. My presence was requested to the habitat of a tenant. I was to meet a waiting police officer and the renter’s anxious relative. The dispatcher, who in my opinion should be on radio with that voice, provided no further information that that. So with faculties in tack it was off I go like one of the seven dwarfs. I was however not in the mood to whistle.
That’s interesting! Walking down the apartment corridor approaching closer to my destination I began to make out what appeared to be furniture in the hall. Voices like sugar plums began to dance in my head, that woman. This may be the source from where she filled her shopping cart a few hours earlier. The two men were waiting for me just outside in the hall with the now confirmed furniture.
Soon I walked into the apartment. The room seemed normal enough except for the absence of common items one would expect to see in a furnished apartment. Items very much like those earlier observed placed in that shopping cart.
Requesting for a welfare check Ted’s uncle requested the police to join hi at his nephew’s apartment. It was 3:330 a.m. in the morning. What a time to suddenly become alarmed enough to call the police for a relative that you have not heard from for a while. Conversation with Ted’s uncle revealed Ted had actually called his aunt a few days earlier and had offered to give his cat to his family. He had also offered members of his family his furniture.
A young college freshman, attending school on a full, four-year athletic scholarship, Ted had both a future education and a promising college football career planned ahead of his young life. What was Ted up to?
This conundrum was about to get added an independent variable whose value would be specified first by the police officer and Ted’s uncle and by its finding would help determine the value of all the other variables of Ted’s recent uncommon behavior.
A formal note, written in longhand detailing Ted’s purpose and intent was found on a small table beside his bed. The note, according to the police officer read,
“gone to imperial cove going home to see Jesus”
The puzzle’s pieces began to fit together. The calls by Ted to his aunt regarding the pet and his offering of his furniture started making sense. It did not take an expert in hieroglyphs papyrus writing to decipher Ted’s message and neither a Dr. Watson to assist the police officer to move on what clues were left by Ted. Immediately following the officer informing Ted’s uncle and I of his find, the officer radioed the dispatcher.
With my job completed, I left this live stage of life heading for another that is where my bed had been waiting patiently for me. Now anticipating bed rest, the sugar plums were free to enter my mind once again, this time with pleasurable visions.
Drifting into nocturnal bliss, I found myself in Capulet’s orchard hearing fair Juliet speak, Act 2, Scene 2.
“Good night, good night! As sweet repose and rest come to thy heart as that with my breast…”
This was not my lit however. It was now about 4:30 a.m. Unable to sleep still thinking about the encounter with the push cart woman and finding what may have remained of Ted’s furniture out in the hall I dressed and went out again into the “dawns early light.”
I observed that the police officer and Ted’s uncle were still together on the apartment property. I joined them. By now our local police dispatcher had contact with the Imperial Cove Sheriff’s Department. I was informed that the only news that had been discovered so far was that an Imperial Cove Sheriff’s deputy had stopped Ted for speeding in his vehicle. A ticket was issued about 3:30 a.m.
“At least we know that he may still be with us,” Ted’s uncle said.
I only could muster a half hearted facial expression as I thought to myself, “that was over an hour ago and in an hour a lot could happen.”
It seemed that the sand man had finally hunted me down. I bid myself leave.
A couple of days went by before I received a call from Ted’s family. It turned out that when the Imperial Cove Sheriff’s deputy had stopped Ted, he was on his way towards Imperial Cove’s local beach. Two hours after being issued that traffic ticket for speeding, another Imperial Cove Sheriff’s deputy observed a man wearing the same outfit that Ted was observed wearing when he pulled his car over yielding to the red lights behind him. Ted was wearing his white choir robe. The ghost like figure, according to the sheriff’s deputy on the beach, disappeared while moving over the sand towards the rock jetty and waves.
Ted’s body was discovered having washed up on the shore about 6:00 a.m. Ted’s last wish was “gone to imperial cove going home to see Jesus”
There is a wise ole saying, “Be careful what you ask for; you may get it. –Author unknown. From talking with Ted’s family members who later came to take what remained of his property home with them, it seemed that all the portions of attention, affection and love that Ted might have needed were available to him. It seems that Ted was much like the prodigal son’s brother. Ted just did not discern what was available to him, what was right in front of him, a family’s love, God’s love. “Then the father said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and everything that belongs to me is yours. St. Luke 15:31