from the Fred Vickery mysteries
by Sherry Lewis
The poet Robert Frost said that "home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in." I'm here to tell you that's true. I've seen it from both sides of the fence. Going home again is hard when you're the one going, but it's just as hard when you're the one who has to take someone back in.
A prime example is what happened when my son, Douglas, came home recently. Don't get me wrong, I love the boy. I do. Even though he's a bit flighty and can't seem to settle down. He can get a job, no problem. It's keeping the job that gives him trouble. Always chasing some new pie in the sky. But I was happy to see him and even felt pretty good about giving him a place to stay--until I figured out the real reason he came back to Colorado. In all my seventy-something years, I've never experienced anything like this.
Douglas showed up unannounced, which is typical for Douglas, so it didn't really surprise me. He handed me some folderol about wanting to start over after his divorce, but then, after he'd barely had time to unpack his suitcase, he started bothering Suzanne, his ex-wife, and making noises about being a better father to Alison. Not eight hours later, he got into a fist fight with the new man in Suzanne's life. Now, granted, Douglas and Garrett Locke never did like each other, even as boys in school, but that didn't give Douglas the right to punch the man in the nose.
Things went from bad to worse when Garrett turned up dead that same night and Douglas clamped his lips shut and refused to defend himself. And as if that wasn't bad enough, I had to deal with Suzanne's aunt Celeste, who kept trying to push those two kids back together, even though the divorce was final and Suzanne wanted nothing to do with Douglas.
While I was dealing with all of that, my own daughter, Margaret, was acting like the food police, snooping around in my cupboards and making sure I wasn't eating anything with actual food in it. No caffeine. No cholesterol. No taste. I swear, that girl would be happy if I did nothing but gnaw on twigs and bark all day. Just because of one tiny incident involving my heart, which wasn't a heart attack. I don't care what that old goat, Doc Huggins says.
But family is family, and home is home, and no matter what my kids may do, I just keep loving them. What else is a man to do?
photo credit: P1040206 via photopin (license)