Caller ID. was established shortly after.
I dream of coming home to the blinking light of my answering machine and a message of “you won a truck load of cash and a trip to Scotland.” Instead, “Honey, this is Mom. Gee, I was really hoping you were home. Me and your Dad were arrested. This is my one phone call. Love you. Bye.”
When my parents retired, travel topped their wish list. Mom and Dad visited the Grand Canyon, the swamps of Louisiana, and the lakes of Michigan. From the streets of San Francisco to Hawaii, and the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee, my parents traveled without so much as a flat tire and minimal departure delays. Visits to Mexico, Canada, and Venezuela never hinted at even a slight international incident. Vegas, sin city itself, didn’t mar my parents’ upstanding reputation. What could the two senior citizens have done in Wheeling, West Virginia?
Visions of my parents rotting in a vermin infested hell hole prompted a desperate return phone call. The West Virginia authorities co-operated in connecting me to my parents.
Mom and Dad’s descent into crime began with gambling. Let me explain before an image of seedy dives and backdoor bookies comes to mind. Occasionally, my parents each take a hundred dollars, a coupon for a free motel stay, and a desire to financially help their children and grandchildren to a casino. Playing quarter slot machines allows my parents to stop at a farmer’s market to stock up on wine, cheese, bacon, and peaches which become Sunday brunch.
This foray into hitting the jackpot led Mom and Dad to Pete’s Vegetables and More. It was the “More” that landed my parents in the big house.
Pete’s organic vegetable stand is a hang out for protestors against the pillage and plunder of the earth’s resources. This weekend hosted a group rallying against unsafe gas drilling, namely questionable waste water disposal.
“Stop the F***ing Fracking” drew my parents to their cause. Who doesn’t like a cool drink of water, a juicy peach, sweet melon, or an untainted non-radio active tomato slice on a sandwich?
Mom wasn’t thrilled with the use of the “F” word, but a good cause shouldn’t be ignored due to bad language. These aren’t the same people who raised me.
“Mom what landed you and Dad in the big house?” I ask.
“The jail is actually small. The authorities put some of us in the hotel until they sorted everyone out. The crowd was huge. It was exciting to see so many people who care about the health of our planet.”
What about the health of your kid? Prevent a f***ing heart attack by not having parents who need bail money.
“Why weren’t you and Dad sorted out?”
When protestors are told to disperse, only the unruly are arrested.
“Talk to your Father.”
If Mom’s not speaking for him, it isn’t good.
“Some young punk cop touched your Mother.”
“He accidentally bumped my breast.” Mom adds in the background.
“What’d you do Dad?”
“I hit him with my hat.”
“Like you swat the dog when he puts his paws on the table?”
“Exactly, and the cop handled your Mom roughly so I swatted him again.”
A hat can’t be classified as a deadly weapon nor my dad a killer for a chivalrous act toward the love of his life. After some discussion, a compromise was reached. My parents paid a fine for disorderly conduct and were released. Mom also had to promise to drop off a peach cobbler at the police station. The stipulation being that fracking doesn’t despoil the water first and the earth goes to hell before Mom and Dad’s next visit to West Virginia.
Did my parents learn a lesson? Hell, no. Mom and Dad are starting a chapter of “Stop the (non-swear word here) Fracking” in our state which also has natural gas deposits.
I plan to put on five pounds at Sunday brunch, stone myself on wine, fill some jugs with clean water just in case, and wait for the next phone call.
Published in Funny Times-August 2013