Human Rescue

I was out on the back deck reading an anthology of greatest hits from Sports Illustrated, published in 2004.

What writing! (All by men of course, and that was an unfair, sexist era but why dismiss the suburb quality of what was written back then?)

RIP Sports Illustrated, although you’re not officially dead. I read you religiously in junior high and high school and it must have inspired me in some small way to become a writer. And I did write sports for a rural Oregon newspaper for two years!

A call came in. It was from my neighbor who was standing in her driveway not far from the deck but didn’t know I was there. I answered the call, stood up, then when over and hailed her.

She said a maintenance man working on her lawn sprinkler system had found a confused elderly woman in front of my neighbor’s home. My neighbor was about to take her dog out for a walk and had him leashed up. She and the maintenance man had asked the woman, who had no ID or phone, a few basic questions and had determined the woman was lost, bewildered, tired, and a resident of some assisted living village somewhere nearby.

My neighbor figured it was the center where Dad resides.

I leapt into action and went outside to help.

Sure enough, It was a woman who lived in the same building as Dad. I introduced myself and asked her if she recognized me because I had seen her dozens and dozens of times in the lobby, hallways and dining room.

She did not recognize me and said so with a British accent. I said I would drive her back to the center and she was relieved to hear it.

Her name was Patricia.

We loaded her into my car and buckled her up.

On the one-mile drive to the center, I asked a few questions and she couldn’t answer them. She kept asking me not to report her situation to the front desk and I said I was obligated out of concern for her personal safety. She nodded an OKAY.

I pulled into the parking lot and helped her out of the car, ready to escort her inside. A Latina caregiver was walking out of the center, her shift presumably over. A Latino man was idling a car, and waiting to drive her home.

She saw me with Patricia and ran up. I gave her the lowdown and the woman helped Patricia into the center.

I drove home with one thought: I am not going out that way. But then, how do you control such matters?