Monday, May 21, 2007

One of My Worst Nights

After a busy summer, my wife and I decided to get away for a weekend in Rockport, Maine, a charming fishing village - now a mecca for tourists. During the summer my teenage stepson, Fred, had worked with a crew of mine helping to build a restaurant building in New Bedford, Mass. (I had a construction company as well as my main business). The building was essentially finished, and the crew was tending to a few loose ends.

After we found and checked into a motel near Rockport, I called home and learned that my teenage daughter, Sharon, had been in an automobile accident and was in a hospital in Taunton, Mass. We checked out and rushed to the hospital where we found Sharon in pretty good shape, although she had cuts on her face that would require plastic surgery. She had gone through the windshield. We then returned home, a distance of about 15 miles.

Fred didn’t show up for dinner that night, an occurrence that didn’t bother us much, but when, later on, there was no sign of him, I began calling around - to no avail. In fact, I couldn’t reach any of my crew. Around midnight we were really starting to worry when the phone rang, and an obviously drunk female voice told me “not to worry, I had a wonderful son”. When I tried to find out where she was, she cursed me and hung up. A few minutes later she called back and put Fred on the line. I could tell from his voice that he was a little scared but having fun. He told me he didn’t know where he was, but that the crew had started drinking and gone to a party in New Bedford somewhere – a party that had gotten so raucous that the police came and arrested them all. At that point the phone was taken away and hung up again.

I decided to leave and drive to New Bedford immediately, about an hour’s drive. I got there about 2:00 AM and went to the nearest police station looking for my crew. A friendly sergeant told me the location of the station that had a jail, and I went there and found them. All four of them, including the foreman, were in a cell in the basement, looking like a puppy looks when it knows it has done something wrong. The foreman, Bob, told me that the party had been somewhere on Rockdale Avenue near a landmark I recognized, but he didn’t know the address. Also, he asked if I would bail them out, but I refused and left to look for Fred. It was now about 3:00AM.

While driving slowly down Rockdale Avenue I noticed a commotion over to my right, and a police car. On the curb was a young woman, obviously drunk, cursing a cop and calling him a pig. Fred was saying, “yeah, yeah”. I pulled over and grabbed Fred and made him get in the car, and we left to go home. Going home involved driving a ways on Route 140, then a new superhighway with no lights, no traffic and no services of any kind. It was then I noticed that my gas gauge read empty. We had driven from Rockport, Maine to Taunton, Mass., home and then to New Bedford, and I hadn’t really noticed the gas. I slowed down to 35 and limped to Taunton, where I thought there was an all-night station; and we made it that far.

The station was closed, but there was a pay phone there, and I called home. I asked my wife to take the other car (a Volkswagen bus) and head for Taunton, while I continued to limp home. Unfortunately, she drove right by us, and I didn’t dare turn around to chase her. I continued driving at 35 mph and made it home on fumes. When I got home I realized I didn’t have any house keys and threw stones at the house to wake someone up. My son, Steve, woke up and let us in. About 45 minutes later (about 5:30 AM), my wife pulled in, and we finally went to bed.

The night was not over, though. About 7:00 AM the phone rang. It was the mother of the drunken woman I had left on the curb in New Bedford cursing the cop. It seems her daughter was the girlfriend of one of my carpenters, and she demanded to know where she was. I just hung up the phone, unplugged the phones and went back to bed.

My daughter, Sharon, did need plastic surgery, which she had. It was very successful and returned her to the beautiful girl she was and the beautiful woman she is today.


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At 7:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

NO matter what we experience, they are the kinds of tests that the Lord gives to each of us.

He also never gives us more than He knows we can handle.

He also gives us the Graces needed to carry us through the difficulties. They also play a roll in helping us to be purified as gold in fire.

Keep the Faith,


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