As an orange morning sun cast its glow on the trees in Miranda’s front yard, she couldn’t help but think about the camping trip she and Pete took in the summer of ’84. It was their first trip together as a married couple and Miranda wanted it to be perfect. She had gone to the library weeks before to research camping because she had never been. Pete often went as a child plus he was a Boy Scout and she didn’t want him to think she was dumb.
Miranda laughed to herself as she buckled herself in the car. She remembered how Pete laughed at her for packing so many bug repellants for a simple two day trip. He wasn’t laughing by the end of the trip though when that swarm of mosquitoes had gotten after him during breakfast. Miranda heard him from the tent and when she peaked out, he was jumping around swatting them all away uselessly. She grabbed two cans of bug spray and ran towards him spraying. Poor Pete couldn’t breathe by the time she got through spraying.
Her drive to work was full of memories from that trip so long ago. Pete was a handsome man and now their son, Jacob is looking so much like him. In the middle of that thought, her cell phone rang. It was Jacob. She pulled over into a parking lot to answer.
“Hey Jake, I was just thinking about you.” she answered happily.
“Hey Mom. Have you got a minute?” Jacob inquired. He sounded nervous.
“Sure son. Is everything alright?” Miranda’s mind began to worry about all sorts of things.
“Not really, mom. I’m in jail.” Jacob paused and waited for her reply.
Miranda felt deflated. This wasn’t the first time Jacob had called her from jail.
“Mom? Are you there? Can you come get me out?” His pleading sounded childish to Miranda.
“What happened now, Jake? Why are you in jail?” Her anger was beginning to make its way known.
“Mom, can’t we talk about this when you come get me? I’ve really got to go. They’re taking my phone now. I love you.” Click.
Miranda just sat there in the parking lot and looked around. She hadn’t realized it until that moment but she had pulled into the drugstore where she had so often filled Jacob’s asthma prescription. Her heart felt like it would explode but she called her boss and managed to tell him that she would be late this morning.
On the way to the bail bondsman’s office she reflected on all the times she had made this same trip to get Jacob out of jail. She wondered where she had gone wrong in raising him. Pete had died when Jacob when only three so she was alone in his upbringing. His faults can only be her mistake somewhere. Her tears landed fiercely in her lap as she sat there in the parking lot of the bondsman’s office. There were several cars there so it appeared the police department had a busy weekend.
She flipped down the visor mirror to compose herself and make sure she didn’t have mascara running down her cheeks. The mirrors reflection revealed behind her a billboard. She turned around to read it more clearly. It was an ad for a trucking company. They were hiring drivers.
“Safe at home by day’s end,” she read out loud. She smiled.
Even if her son was always in trouble, at least he was alive and would be safe at home by day’s end.
Miranda bowed her head and silently spoke to God, “Dear Father, please help me be a strong and wise mother to my son. Please help Jacob and give him direction so that he is always safe at home by days end. Thank you, Lord for that comfort in knowing that my son is alive and healthy and that he will be home today. Amen.”
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