It began innocently enough. I sent my dad a text on Monday, followed it up with a phone call - then I didn't hear back. Hmm. That's odd.
I tried again a few hours later - right to voicemail. I knew he wasn't blocking me - that is step 3 technology... "Oh-well, phone must be dead," I thought. No biggie.
Tuesday brought his birthday, and the idea to stop by after a kid thing I needed to attend with Tween. So it was after 3 phone call attempts, I found myself driving to my father's house and attempting to keep the mood light while worry niggled at the back of my mind. "No return call in 2 days? That's not normal.... You've been here before...." I called Sis to let her know what was going on with our dad and get some feedback. She had received no word either. Drive faster, think happy thoughts.
Now, don't get me wrong - the man is in great health. But things can happen when you live alone.
Staving off these negative thoughts, I told Tween we could show Grandpa her newly acquired trophies if he was home. I reminded her that it was his birthday and he might be out since we had celebrated it on Saturday. That's when I noted she had picked-up on my conversation and worry. Reassuring her, we pulled up to the house.
Dark, one car missing. Huh - he must be out. Okay.
I knocked anyway. I let myself in - yes daughters can do that at their parent's house. I called out numerous times - and kept my sister on the phone. Having been the one to find my mother-in-law after she departed made the situation all too plausible, so excuse my redundant precautions. No one home.
I left a note, a big note, telling him to call me or Sis when he returned. Sis called hospitals just to be safe, and we agreed not to worry until 24 more hours passed.
Jump to my lunch today... No word. 24 hours is a long time... By now my Sis had even heard from our ex-step-mother to inquire if things were okay. Attempts at phone calls continued to prove fruitless. I sent a message to an uncle to see if maybe my dad had gone on a golf trip and lost his phone - not improbable. My Sis wondered when we should call authorities.
What do you do when your parent is missing - but you aren't sure because after all he's a grown man and could have just taken a trip? Or you could be crossing paths? I told Sis we should likely to go by the house and talk to the neighbors before we did anything else.
Okay. We had a plan... Then my father called and left me a voicemail. He told me not to pay the ransom - he escaped... Ha Ha. (did I mention he likes to laugh?) Happily his phone is just broken (or, more likely, he pushed a button that he shouldn't have) and he can make but not receive calls.... Then he told me to call him.... Guess I'm dropping by Dad's again today.