Certain Man and his pickup Keys
Last week the household of Certain Man and Certain Man’s Wife had a most challenging thing happen. CM came crashing home for lunch barely stopping to eat. The alarm was going off in the chicken house and he needed to get out there as fast as possible. He decided to change clothes before going to the chickens so he wouldn’t get all stinky. (Four week old chickens are not especially known for smelling sweet!) He got into his “chicken house clothes” then headed out. He took care of the alarm problem, did a few other things, then changed back into his dress clothes and went back to work. Around 2:45 he called CMW.
“Hon. What are you doing right now?”
“Well, uh, nothing unusual. Waiting for Nettie Girl to come home. Waiting for Cecilia to do the same. Why?”
“Ah, Hon. I can’t believe I did this, but look out there on the key holder. Are my pickup keys out there?” He had been driving the state truck, of course, but he always carries his personal truck keys with him during the day. He keeps various important keys on that ring, and it is not really safe to just let them back at the office while he does plumbing inspections.
CMW trudged out there and sure enough, there hung his pickup keys. “How in the world did this happen?” She asked. She picked them off the peg and carried them around with her while talking to him (thinking that looking at them hard enough just might produce a bright idea of how to get them to him).
“When I came home and was going to change clothes, I must have just hung up the keys out of habit. I put the rest of my pocket stuff on a pile so I would get it before I left and never even thought of the keys. Could you possibly bring them up to me? I can’t get home without them.
CMW pondered her options. There was a fellow employee who lives just about five miles away.
“You couldn’t just catch a ride home with Lawson, could you? And then we’ll run up tonight and get it?”
“No, I don’t like leaving my pickup here in this area after hours. Who knows what might happen to it?” The State Service Center is rather strategically located on the edge of some rather unsavory housing developments. There are always questionable activities going on just across the ally from the office parking lot.
“I don’t know when Deborah is coming home, Sweetheart, and I don’t know when Cecilia will get here so I can leave.”
“Well, what about Oldest Daughter? Could she maybe bring them to me?”
“Tell you what. We will work something out. I’ll call Oldest Daughter. If she doesn’t want to, maybe I can load up Cecilia the minute she gets home and bring her and Nettie Girl and the keys. I’ll see what happens.” So CMW got off the phone with Certain Man and called that Oldest Daughter.
“Chris. Do you want to go to Dover?”
“Not par-tick-ah-ler. Why?”
“Well. It’s a long story, but Dad left his keys here when he was home for lunch and he needs someone to run them up there to him so he can get home again.”
“Well, I suppose I could, but I would rather not. See if Beebs or someone can do it and if they can’t, then I will”
Middle Daughter was supposed to have been out of school at 2:30 that day, but she was not answering her cell phone. CMW kept trying to get through to her, but there was no answer. “Hello, this is Deborah. I can’t come to the phone right now . . . “ (Maddening, to say the least!)
At about 3:10, Certain Man’s Wife heard the driveway monitor, and the familiar black bug pulled into the garage. Middle Daughter was home! CMW’s delight at seeing her was suddenly struck cold by the realization that in the “carrying around of the keys” they had disappeared. CMW began to frantically search the areas she had been in, and Oh, joy! Before Youngest Daughter had actually gotten too far into the house (granted, she does take her sweet time coming in) the keys were found by the sink on the cupboard. Whew! What a relief.
CMW pounced the minute Middle Daughter walked through the kitchen door. “Deborah! Am I glad to see you! Daddy left his keys here at lunch time. Do you want to take them up to him, or do you want to stay here and watch ladies and I will take them?”
Middle Daughter considered a minute and then said, “I’ll take them. What time does Rachel get home? If I wait on her, she can drive, and that will actually give her another hour on her time.” (Youngest Daughter has been trying desperately to get 50 hours of driving time into the first six months of her learner’s permit. And Middle Daughter, being over 25, and an immediate family member, is allowed to ride shotgun for her.) She reached for the keys that CMW was still holding in her hand and started to walk across the kitchen with her “dreamy” look, like she was thinking about something far away.
“Oh, no, you don’t, Deborah girl!” Said CMW quite emphatically. “Do not walk off with those keys! I’ve already lost them once and had to look for them.” CMW retrieved them from her surprised hand and said, “We are going to hang them right out here on the peg. That way we will know where they are when you are ready to go.” (Middle Daughter really is the master at losing things, right next to her scatterbrained mother!) Middle Daughter saw the wisdom in that decision, and went about getting ready to leave “as soon as Rachel got off the bus.” Youngest Daughter was called and informed of the proposed plan, and of course she was all for it.
So Middle Daughter dilly-dallied around, changing clothes, getting something to eat, and getting stuff into the van, ready to take off for Dover. It seemed like Youngest Daughter’s bus was later than usual that day, so CMW suggested that Middle Daughter get into the van and be ready to pull out of the lane at the very minute Youngest Daughter got off the bus. It takes a half an hour to get up to the office, it was now nearly 3:30, and Certain Man gets off at four o’clock. When the big yellow bus drove up, Middle Daughter went out the door, and the two of them got into the van, and away they went.
Half an hour later, almost exactly at four o’clock, the phone rang.
“Uh, Mom.” It was Middle Daughter. “Uh, Mom. Would you look out there on the key rack and —”
“No, no, no, no!!!!. You didn’t! You COULDN’T!!!”
“I’m afraid we did — ”
“Oh, no, Deborah!” Certain Man’s Wife sighed, scurried out to the utility room and regarded the pickup keys sorrowfully. “Yep, they are here. Oh, dear. Whatever will your father say?”
“Well, I guess we are about to find out because we are pulling into the parking lot right now, and I see him standing over there waiting for us.”
CMW babbled on, trying to find the best solution, when suddenly, she realized that she was talking to a dead phone. Middle Daughter had ended the call. The phone went back to its cradle and CMW looked at it with great anxiety. “What in the world was Certain Man saying to his two female offspringin’s?” He is usually a pretty kind and understanding father, but there are limits to every man’s endurance. However, it was fairly clear that her hands were pretty much tied in this situation.
“You know, there really is nothing I can do about this,” she thought. “I do not have a vehicle. They are just going to need to figure this out.” (This logic was when she was trying to be rational.) To be honest, at least some of the time, she was saying, “WHY didn’t I just let her take those keys and put them wherever she wanted to? WHY did I think I had to boss this 27 year old daughter? If she had laid them down and left them behind, it would have been her business, not mine! Why didn’t he/she/they/I THINK???” CMW kept wondering what they were going to decide, what Certain Man would ever say etc., etc., etc. when the thought suddenly struck her. “Certain Man can’t really say anything! He’s the one who started this mess!
About then, the utility room door open and in breezed Oldest Daughter, She snatched the keys off the key rack and started back out the door.
“I thought that you said you weren’t going to go to Dover today!”
“I wasn’t! But you gotta’ do what you gotta do!”
“So, what are you going to do???”
“I’m gonna’ start out towards Dover. Dad called, and they’re gonna’ head towards Milford, and we are gonna’ meet somewhere.”
And she turned and hurried back to her car and the next thing Certain Man’s Wife knew, the driveway monitor went, and she was gone. CMW busied herself with what needed doing around the kitchen for the next hour, and then (finally) Certain Man, Middle Daughter and Youngest Daughter all came breezing in. They had met Oldest Daughter at Medding and Sons Seafood, (a business some distance north of town) and the keys had changed hands. Oldest Daughter came back to her house, the three participants in disaster had returned to the state parking lot, and retrieved the pickup. Certain Man drove it home, and Middle Daughter and Youngest Daughter came home in the mini-van. Everyone seemed to be in good spirits. Youngest Daughter was pleased because she got almost two hours of driving in that day! Middle Daughter was happy because no one was cross with her, and it was a good diversion in the middle of a difficult week of clinicals. Even Certain Man was in surprising good humor. CMW heard him chuckle over the episode when relating it to someone. He must have figured that he couldn’t fuss too much if he had forgotten the keys in the first place.
And Certain Man’s Wife? Well, once again, she maintains that all is well that ends well. And she isn’t going to take this episode apart too much to try to determine just how this applies to all the extra miles driven on this particular April day.