Let's Just Go, Honey.

Author: Brad  |  Category: Boardman Views, Care Giving, Family, Health & Wellness, Humor, Pay Less for Gas, Politics

Well, now that the country’s been “bailed out”, I thought it’d be a good time for something a bit lighter.  After all, the sky never fell so we should all be able to laugh a little still…right?

The other day I was feeding dinner to my new friend, Roger.  As usual, we were listening to the evening news and, as usual, this got us both in a laughable mood.  We always laugh at the majority of the news since we realize full well that the “bad” stuff that the networks continuously vomit into the airwaves is somewhere in the neighborhood of 75% sensationalized just to keep folks watching.  In other words, it’s almost never as bad as they try to make it sound!  Someday soon I think I’ll write a post about the use of some of their favorite words:  Skyrocket, Plummet, Meltdown, Shock, Threat, Bush Administration, etc.

Since Roger has cerebral palsy and I have to be careful about the timing of telling him anything funny so as not to cause him to spit food across the table or suck something into his windpipe, I decided to wait until after dinner to tell him this story, but as soon as he finished up I launched into the following anecdote:

My late mother-in-law, June, and her daughter, Beth came to live with Carrie and me in January, 2000.  June suffered from more than just the leading edges of Alzheimer’s disease and we all had to pretty much stand by and watch as it slowly removed each of our names from her memory bank.

There was one thing though at which she always seemed to leap and that was, “Hey, June, you wanna go for a ride?”  She and Beth loved to ride shotgun whenever I had to run errands.

Neither one of them ever wanted to go inside any stores with me.  They were perfectly content to sit in the back seat of my Dodge Caravan, listen to the music on the radio and watch whatever was going on in the parking lot.  On the day this story occurred they had probably logged hundreds of trips with me since we were out and about almost daily.

On this particular August day I figured I’d kill a couple birds with one stone, so I pulled into the Lynnwood Costco store and parked in my usual spot at the south end of the building about 5:30 p.m., realizing that after I shopped I’d need to go fill the tank at the pumps on the other end.  This, of course, was back when I might still have afforded to actually fill the tank.  I’d at least squirt enough in to get that gas gauge to  quit dinging.

Costco closes at 6:00 p.m. and as I exited the car to go in, I spouted to my two seatbelted relatives, “Don’t go away.  I’ll be back in a bit.”  The southern gospel music disappeared from hearing as I shut the door.

One of the main things for which Costco is noted is the pace of their checkout lines.  No, not how quickly you get through them.  This day I happened to be behind a Korean convenience store owner buying cigarettes – lots of cigarettes.

At about 6:15 p.m. I wheeled my brimming shopping cart around the southwest corner of the store heading for my usual parking spot which I suddenly realized was…empty!

Have you ever hurt your neck turning your head too fast? I twisted mine almost beyond repair as my brain went into panic-control mode trying to process the barrage of thoughts that were instantly overloading it.  You see, it wasn’t as though the van was gone and June and Beth were standing there waiting for me.  Yes, the van was gone…but so were June and Beth!

It would take many pages to convey to you a transcription of the horrific flood of thoughts and emotions that were mine that sunny evening as I raced with my shopping cart from one end of that Costco parking lot to the other and back and forth, hoping and praying that somehow, someway that van containing my disabled in-laws was still on Costco property and I simply wasn’t seeing it.

It would take additional pages to communicate the utter terror that seized me as the reality of the fact of their absence crushed me.

Suffice it to say that this had just become the worst day of my life.

As the police were called and the APB was issued and I prepared to call June’s other daughter, the one to whom, thankfully, I am still married, the line kept issuing through the recesses of my mind which is the revised version of  “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids!”  How in the world was I going to tell her that the “kids” were gone?

Well, I did manage to tell her and, as would certainly be expected, the woman-hunt ensued.  Friends, neighbors, anyone we could think of were enlisted.  We drove, we looked, we searched, we called and then we did it again.  Brains were racked for places they might be.

I was pretty sure that they had left under their own power as opposed to some sort of foul play.  Although June hadn’t driven a vehicle since she had moved in with us, I was fairly confident that her ailing mind had merely gotten tired of waiting in the back seat of the van for someone to finish buying cigarettes and decided it was time to leave.  What I had no idea about was where to look next.  None of us did.  We were out of ideas and we were scared.

About 10:30 p.m. I had just pulled into the driveway of our Lynnwood home to regroup and try to think of somewhere to look next when…my cellphone rang.

“Is this Mr. Boardman?”


“This is Sergeant So-and-So with the Washington State Patrol.  Are you looking for a gold van and a couple women?  Yes, they’re okay and I have them here on the side of thefreeway.”

Now, you can’t very well spank a seventy-five-year-old woman with Alzheimer’s even if she does scare the crap out of you.  But as Carrie and I raced the one-hour trip into the Cascade Mountains east of Seattle to that pitch black spot on the side of Interstate 90 where there was not so much as a firefly’s worth of light and where Sergeant So-and-So sat babysitting the two wanderers, I wished relentlessly that June still had her mind so that I could have given her a piece of mine!

Fortunately, once we pulled up behind the squad car and ran to my gas-starved van, all I could do was hug them both and be ecstatic that they were alive.

All June could do was say, “I’m tired.”

Beth, on the other hand had plenty to say, but it all related somehow to the fact that she was hungry or to how much trouble her mom was in.

The next day, having learned my lesson about not leaving the key in the ignition so the girls could listen to their music, we were on the road again, this time in my old Ford pickup.  We were leaving Lowe’s Hardware and were the first rig in line waiting for the traffic light to change.  June sat between me and Beth on the bench seat of the truck.

As we awaited the changing of the red light for what apparently seemed to be too long for June, she reached over with her left hand and patted me on my right knee, and as if to let me know how she had behaved in traffic the previous evening, said quietly, “Let’s just go, Honey.”

June, Beth and Annie

June, Beth and Annie

Were it not for his seatbelt,  the snorting, hysterical Roger might just have come out of his wheelchair laughing, but at least his mouth was empty.  As he ate his dessert, I recounted a number of the things I’d learned through the experience, not the least of which was just how far a Dodge Caravan will go on an eighth of a tank of gas.

You’re in Boardman Country!

Make yourself at home,


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40 Responses to “Let's Just Go, Honey.”

  1. Judy Says:

    TOOOOO FUNNY! And Kudos to the man who has a heart as big as all out doors! Bless you, Brad!

  2. Linda Says:

    My God! That was hysterical! Absolutely, the epitamy of the phrase “Sad but true!” If God did not give us humor, how in the world would we survive?

    Lindas last blog post..Make your search Lijit!

  3. admin Says:

    Judy and Linda,

    Great to have both of you stop by for a little levity!

    Also, I’ll be writing more about this soon, but I have an elderly couple moving into my new caregiving room on the 15th of this month!

    This has been a long time coming so we’re pretty excited about it.

    Thanks again!

  4. The Patriarch Says:

    Nice photo, Brad! I remember June’s journey well, Audrey driving around looking for your van, the surpressed panic, trying to re-construct where June had driven, the account of Beth’s conversation with the Trooper. Once in a lifetime is more than enough!

  5. Barbara Says:

    Hey Brad,

    I dugg this story! Pretty funny…but I’m sure it didn’t seem like it at the time. That’s the great thing about memories…when retold they are almost always good for a laugh!

    Barbaras last blog post..Update On Autism In The News

  6. Karen Says:

    Oh my gosh this was so funny! You must have a sense of humor to deal with life’s happenings! LOL

  7. Diane Scott Says:

    You are a saint! While I appreciate the humor you always find in life – and that’s such a wonder! – I read through the whole story with my heart in my throat. This must have been several of the longest hours of your life! I’m just really glad it did have a happy ending! You’re a doll!

    Diane Scotts last blog post..How To Handle A Disasterous Situation

  8. admin Says:

    @The Patriarch – Thanks Dad for coming by and walking down memory lane! 🙂

    @Barbara – Thanks for the Digg. Serious situations almost always seem better when they’re finished.

    @Karen – Great to have you come by for a laugh!

    @Diane – LOL! Yep, I know all about that heart in the throat thing. Hey, I have folks moving into my new caregiving room a week from today (Wednesday). Ken and Jan. Busy chasing down hospital beds for them.

    Thanks for stopping by. You’re the best!

  9. Judy Says:

    Hi Brad, just checking in to say “hi”. Hugs to you and your family and don’t forget Roger!

    Judys last blog post..What I Call My “Angel Happenings”

  10. Bola Oluyemi Says:

    This is a good story,hope they are ok now.

  11. Bola Oluyemi Says:

    I mean they look so well in the picture, don’t know much ’bout Alzheimer’s disease, just hope it’s something they can recover from.


    Bola Oluyemis last blog post..Teach your children to love.

  12. daria369 Says:

    This is very funny but for me personally – it also made me a little bit sad because it brought back memories of how I was once waiting in the car for and elderly person who forgot where I was parked…

    Great post, thank you!

  13. Christina thecoffeelady Says:

    OMY Gosh…. It would scared the life out of me. I think it soooooo sweet that you tote the girls with you when you go…. I do think it best to give them an ipod for their music and to take the keys with you! I am so glad they are safe and sound!

    Christina thecoffeeladys last blog post..Join me for a Walk About….

  14. gina Says:

    I have turned my neck and twisted it too many times to count. Great story!

    ginas last blog post..Review: Ugly Betty Episode 3-3

  15. Heather in Beautiful BC Says:

    Great story! Funny how some things just always remain the same… even when Alzheimer’s sets in. The mind is absolutely amazing!

    Heather in Beautiful BCs last blog post..Jing

  16. Mark(Capy) Says:

    I really enjoyed reading this story and am glad that it had a happy ending. My father recently died after suffering with Alzheimers but despite his illness we still found time to laugh with him.

    Mark(Capy)s last blog post..Back from Crete

  17. Jules Says:

    You’re a great story teller, and so damn funny! I’m glad to hear this story ended up happy, I was scared there for awhile.

    Juless last blog post..Lake Mead Arizona

  18. Lisa Says:

    Like Julie, my heart stopped a minute there too. My hubby’s grandmother had Alzheimers so I know the frustration you are talking about. I am so glad you found them and nobody got hurt.

    Lisas last blog post..The Energy Commercial ABC Won’t Play

  19. Karen Says:

    When you think of how the story might have ended, your family was very lucky. My mil’s best friend is getting bad. Her family really needs to take her keys away.

  20. Owen Says:

    Wow .. what a great story! Glad it all ended well!

    Owens last blog post..Which camera should I get?

  21. vein Says:

    I am *so* glad it worked out alright.

    veins last blog post..Mens’ Interests

  22. cady Says:

    that’s a great story. i would have been scared out of my mind, but looking back on it after everyone was ok, it’s a good one to tell people for a laugh. 🙂

    cadys last blog post..The Bad, the Worse and the Terrible

  23. Diane Scott Says:

    Congratulations Brad! Be sure to post some pictures of all your hard work and huge efforts!

    Diane Scotts last blog post..Getting More Miles To the Gallon?

  24. mistipurple Says:

    You have a heart of gold, Brad! Thank goodness June and Beth were found! My heart would have lept out of my throat that day.

    mistipurples last blog post..Bible Verse to live by

  25. Ferox Says:

    It’s like losing a child that can drive. I guess these days instead of leaving your keys in the ignition so there can be music, you’d get an ipod or mp3 player.

    Feroxs last blog post..Entrecard Traffic for the Small Time Blogger

  26. Scott Says:

    What a great story and happy to see all was fine in the end.

    Scotts last blog post..Sphere of Influence – Zones and Word of Mouth Marketing

  27. Bree Says:

    oh my gosh, just to funny. A really great post and thx for sharing.

    Brees last blog post..Re: Saturday Stumble/Digg Exchange (10-11)

  28. Stomphoof Says:

    I personally love to drive around so I understand why they would like to ride with ya.

    Interesting story!

  29. windyridge Says:

    I like the way you threw in Bush Administration as a sensational arousing phrase. I know it gets my goat every time. Hahaha!

  30. Janet Giacoma Says:

    Hi Brad! You tell such a great story and like everyone else, I’m thrilled it has a happy ending!

  31. Linda Says:

    Brad, I know you must be super busy so when you come up for air…. drop on by and let us know how you are doing! Miss ya……..:)

    Lindas last blog post..SeaPower Promises Emission-Free Power and Water

  32. Linda Says:

    Can Brad come out to play? We have all kinds of things to talk about!

    Lindas last blog post..America’s Power

  33. Judy Says:

    Hi Brad…think about you often and hope you all are doing well. Know you are busy, but we miss you!
    God Bless!

    Judys last blog post..Mishmash

  34. sears parts Says:

    Hello, I can’t understand how to add your blog in my rss reader.

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  35. Microsoft Certifications Says:

    Something with an end at a positive note is what always amuses me, thanks for that.

  36. Cheltenham Hotel Says:

    Been a while since you last posted. Hope you come back soon! I miss the funny stories!

  37. Reseller Hosting Says:

    I hurt my neck turning it to fast last week. I feel the pain! Great post.

  38. 642-446 Says:

    It’s really a great story.you are explaining story in a very awesome way.Thanks

  39. Lori Schmieder Says:

    It’s a good thing everyone can laugh about it now! I remember joining in the search for the missing road trippers! Give Beth a hug from us!

  40. Bel McCoy Says:

    Really enjoyed a replay of the story!! Didn’t
    remember what Beth told the police.

    Enjoyed having you all over for lunch today…
    good to keep in contact with relatives!!