It was a dark and stormy night. The only catch was, it wasn't raining - at least not yet.
My brother and I had just sat down to chew the fat. Guy stuff. Bull sessions they call 'em. A chance to sit around and just be a man, no questions asked, no pardon required. The end of the week and a chance to put your feet up and blow off some steam that accumulates in our work-a-day lives.
Saturday, 10:17 P.M. The wife and kids were all abed and everything was right with the world for the next 8 hours until the sun came up.
10:30 P.M. My brother and I had just finished admiring the legs on that Irish Red, when the first call came in. My brother took the call. It was a domestic disturbance. Personal. "I'll take it out there", he mouthed moving towards the door. He stopped halfway through the motion, and thinking better of it, took the Irish Red with him.
I was in no hurry, so I prayed the appropriate Hour of the Divine Office, checked emails, and pecked out an entry on my blog using that new gadget I picked up two weeks ago. I poured a second glass and admired the color.
11:00 P.M. The phone rang again. I looked at the Caller ID and saw that it was Mom. My senses went on high alert: Mom never calls this late. I occasionally forget and call late, but I'm her son; Moms have more sense. Mom was out of town this weekend, so this was two strikes on the Spider Sense.
I played it cool. "Hi, Mom. What's up?". She sounded a little agitated. "The neighbor called to say there's an ambulance at the house, and I can't find your Dad. The emergency crew isn't giving out any information. I may need you to stand by. I'll call you right back."
"Sure, Mom." She hung up. I looked appreciatively at the Irish Red, but decided I'd better hold off. I waited.
11:09 P.M. My brother returned and helped himself to another slab of stinky cheese that smelled like used wool socks on a hot summer day. I was just about to tell him about Mom when the phone interrupted for a third time. It was she. I turned the speaker on so my brother could hear. "... took your father to the Emergency HealthPlex. I can't get anyone to say what happened or confirm it's him." It figures. HIIPA health rules forbid releasing any patient information without specific consent. "They did say they have an ambulance inbound in twenty minutes, but won't say who's onboard."
"Don't worry, we're on it, Mom. We can be there in 3o minutes and we'll call you as soon as we know something." I grab our gear and we rush off in the car. If Dad's not answering the phone and the neighbors are reporting flashing lights and ambulances outside the house, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to put 2 and 2 together.
I began to pray.