Monday, September 4 (continued)
“Good news, Cade!” I announce while climbing into the driver’s seat of the Perfect Tow Vehicle. “I spoke with your dad and they’re on their way! He said it will take them about ten minutes to get here.”
(Note: Cade, age six, was left behind at Palisades Campground, Red Lodge, Montana. Apparently his family didn’t realize Cade was still in the restroom when they drove away. If you haven’t read the previous post, I urge you to do so before reading this one. — Sue)
Cade relaxes at this news.
“I wasn’t sure I remembered the numbers,” he confesses.
“You remembered perfectly,” I respond, stating the obvious.
Cade plays with Reggie and Roger while we wait.
Things are looking up. Ten minutes. Sheesh. It’s been a half-hour since Cade came out of the restroom and found them gone. I still can’t figure out the father. If you know your son is missing, wouldn’t you have your cell phone nearby and ready to be picked up? That phone rang several times. . . .
And his lack of reaction. Well, to be honest with myself, I could have handled the call better. Introduced myself first thing and explained how it is that Cade and I are at a gas station in Sinclair.
I shouldn’t judge the man based on him not fitting into my preconceived notion of how a parent “should” sound. Just because a guy doesn’t reveal emotion doesn’t mean he lacks emotion or is an ogre.
“Oh, there’s a red car. Is that yours, Cade?”
“No, our car is bigger. It’s about this wide.” To illustrate, he stretches his arms as far apart as they will go and then realizes they aren’t adequate for the task.
“What grade are you in, Cade?”
Come on, people. Show up!
“First grade,” Cade replies brightly, leaning toward the door to remove his face from canine licks.
If these parents don’t show, I’ll have to call the sheriff. Hate to do that. Could open a big can of worms . . . .
“THAT’S OUR CAR!” Cade exclaims.
Cade is lifted off the seat, catapulted by joy. He opens the door and jumps out as if shot from a gun. I grab Roger who is about to jump out also.
Cade shuts the door and flies around the front of the PTV.
At the same time the red car slows and whips into the parking lot. Mom is driving and there’s no one in the passenger seat. No sign of any siblings either; no movement in the back or faces pressed to the window.
All this happens in a second.
Mom brings the car to a quick halt facing in the opposite direction from the PTV. I have to turn in my seat to see the tearful reunion.
In one swift movement the car door opens and Mom is out of the driver’s seat and drops to one knee, just as Cade shoots around the front of the PTV and into her arms.
Thank God, a happy ending!
Cade has his arms locked around her neck with his face pressed against hers. Mom has him in a full hug. Both are sobbing, stuck together in a crazy-glue embrace like they never will let go.
Mom peers over Cade’s shoulder and mouths “thank you.” I smile and start up the PTV.
Before pulling away I hear Cade scolding through choked sobs.
“I TOLD you I was going to the BATHROOM!”
At the edge of the parking lot, I stop the PTV to allow a truck to pass by. Then I drive out onto the road to return to camp.
The road takes us past the red car.
Mom and Cade are still glued together.
Well, that’s a relief. It worked out fine. I wonder where Dad and the other kids are. Maybe at a restaurant. That whole part of this episode will have to remain a mystery. What’s not a mystery is the love that mother has for her boy.
We motor back to our camp at Palisades Campground.
“There’s just enough time before dark for our end-of-the-day walk.”
Typically, the walk includes a play session. Zooming and play fighting.
Good! Tire yourselves out . . .
“Had enough, goofballs?”
“Let’s go home. It’s kibble time and then into bed you go!”
Tuesday, September 5
Reggie, Roger and I walk up to the main campground. Today is move-camp day and I always like to give them a little exercise before we hit the road.
(Camping limit at Palisades is 16 days. However, a notice on the bulletin board says the campground closes today, September 5th, and the gate will be locked at 2:30 p.m.)
We approach the vault toilet house where Cade was left behind.
Gee, I can still hear those awful screams. Poor kid.
Roger lifts a leg on the side of the building.
“Roger, you’re the peeing-est dog I’ve ever known. You and Reggie both. We can’t go five feet without one of you –”
Oh, Cade. You’re probably in your first grade classroom right now. What a great kid you are. I hope you have a good day. I hope you smile and giggle and laugh a lot today.
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