Travels with Dad
—-This is a story of a complex relationship with my father, Al, who I came to love and understand after he was diagnosed with dementia.—-
A commotion erupted in the middle of the night at a Mobil gas station near my parent’s house. It began when this older gentleman entered the “On The Run” store on foot, and began helping himself to candy isle goodies and soda.
It was 2:00 in the morning. Al managed to leave the house and slip away into the night, all alone. He and Mom had both fallen asleep in their recliners earlier in the evening. He woke up and headed out, never waking my mother.
At 2:30am, Mom was jolted from a sound sleep by the phone ringing. The deep voice on the other end was that of a Police Officer.
This is how the conversation went:
Officer: Is this the Al Fiore residence?
Officer: Is your husband Al Fiore?
Officer: I have him in my custody at the Mobil station. Can you come get him?
Mom: Oh my God, I didn’t even know he was gone. I’ll be right there!!
The sweet young girl who was working solo that night was creeped out when Al showed up and began helping himself to snacks. I imagine she asked him to pay for the things he was eating, and when he didn’t comply, she called the police.
A cop showed up. He questioned my father. He asked him his name. Dad answered correctly. The officer asked him where he lived. Al told him that he lived in Glens Falls. This was true…sort of. He did live there, but it was 40 years ago! The officer believed him, though, and began contacting the authorities in Glens Falls. Meanwhile, the officer asked the girl attendant for a phone book. He found Al’s name in the phone book and realized that he only lived about a half mile away from this gas station. He called the number and woke my mother.
Meanwhile, word got out in Glens Falls that an Al Fiore was found at a gas station in the middle of the night. Because we still have relatives in Glens Falls, with some who have police scanners, a small commotion of family members reporting to each other developed, sped through the grapevine, and finally ended in a phone call to my mother at 7:00am wondering if AL had made it home. He had been home safe and sound for several hours by this time.
This incident prompted my brother to jury rig the house to prevent Dad from eloping in the middle of the night again. Bells were added to doors and door knobs were turned around, which required using a key to get out. It worked. He never left in the middle of the night again.
Al incurred a debt of $3.95 that night. Mom settled it the next day.