The phone rang at 5:30 p.m. The male caller didn't identify himself. Eventually I recognized the voice.
"Hey, Bonnie, I just want to be sure that someone is at home before I come by." Yes, we are at home.
"He can go out, can't he?" Uuuhhhh??? Oh, my father. "Yes, he can go out sometimes. Where were you planning to take him?" Isn't it a little late in the day for an outing?
Some dancing through misunderstandings. Finally, "Where are you right now?"
In a voice full of frustration he responds, "I'm here at the hospital. He wants to come out to the house."
"No," I nearly shout. "Do NOT bring him here. He cannot get into the house. He cannot do stairs." It was the first non-negotiable excuse I could think of. Once he got here, we'd never get him into the house or back to the hospital.
My dad on the telephone. "I'm making arrangements." Oh-oh.
Me. "I think the best thing for you to do is to stay put right now. They have all the things you need right there. So you just relax and stay put. OK?"
"OK," he says. "I'll stay here. I'll see you tomorrow, Bonnie."
Will he remember tomorrow?
When I visited earlier in the day he had been full of words, strong of voice. If you didn't know what he was talking about, it could have been a rational conversation. I think his friend got caught in that trap.
"Who are the people in that photograph?" he asks. He asks the same question almost daily. In the photograph he's standing on his boat, the NaDuK2, with fishing buddies Lindsey and Pat. They've just come in from a day of fishing and are showing off the catch: 6 large mahimahi.
"Pat came into the store the other day. He wanted me to know he's doing OK." Pat came to visit him in the hospital. The other day.
"I was where I spend most of my time, at the Mercury Club, the site of the Mercury Club...." Where did that come from? He hasn't been involved with the Mercury Club, which bills itself as an elite businessmen's association, in at least 50 years.
"I need a bag. A canvas bag."
I held up the large Lands End canvas tote I use for laundry. "Like this one?"
"No, I have lots of clothes in town. Some are here, some are at the office, some are ...." He rattles off places where he might have a stash of clothes. "I need larger bag. Some are black, some red, some gray, some green. The color is not important. Just don't make it too valuable to you."
He wants a large suitcase. I should have guessed he is planning an escape.
Give thanks that my dad is safe in Oahu Care Facility. Give thanks that he didn't talk his way out the door with a trusting friend.
Don't forget to pray.