The Wrong Way | By: LeRoy Bohrer | | Category: Short Story - Family Issues Bookmark and Share

The Wrong Way

"The Wrong Way Home"


     The old man walked slowly out of the Dillons store carrying a bag of

groceries in one hand, his trusty cane in the other. He opened the door of

blue Ford pickup, laid the groceries on the seat on the passenger side with

his cane beside it. He lowered his frame onto the pickup seat, slammed the

door and sat ther for a moment to catch his breath. Then he started the

engine and drove out onto the street.


     It was Howard Mason's intention to drive back to his house, but instead

he soon found himself on the four lane highway. The Old man suddenly

came to realize that he was lost.


     He contined to travel at fourty miles an hour as cars and trucks sped

passed him as if he was standing still. Finally he turned off the highway o

onto a dirt road and stopped. He sat there for a time. He had to get back

to his house before his son's missed him. True, he was eighty six years old,

and in ill health, but this was the first time his memory had decived him.


     As he sat there, a black late model Dodge pickup come up the road

toward him. The driver, a muscular man with a black beard wearing a soiled

brown stetson stopped beside him.


     "You having trouble old timer?"


     Howard shook his head. "Was kind of sleepy. Just resting my eyes

before I continue on."


     The man in the black pickup nodded. "Have a good day." He drove out

onto the highway and turned the pickup toward Kingman.


     The old man craned his neck to watch the pickup. "If I go the same

direction as he is," he said aloud, "I should get back to Kingman and find

my house before I'm missed." He sat there for another minute or so, then

he started the pickup and drove down the dirt road instead of turning



     Howard Mason grew up on a farm. He attended grade school, then

helped his father on the farm instead of continuing his education. When

the United States entered the Second World war, he enlisted in the army.

He spent the early part of the war stationed on the homefront. He yearned

to get into the fight, and he got his wish with the invasion of Omaha Beach.


     When the war ended, he returned to the farm and married the

neighbor girl, Grace Martin. He took over the farm when his parent's moved

to Kingman. They had five children, two boys and three girls. One of the

daughters died of cancer, the second was killed in an automobile accident.


     Howard purchased the Martin farm, and soon after suffered a heart

attack. He turned the two farms over to his son's and moved to Kingman.


     Grace was diagnosed with  cancer and passed away on the eve of

their sixty-fifth wedding anniversary. After her funeral, Howard would

visit her grave every day until his health began to fail. He suffered another

heart attack, had prostrate cancer and a hip replacement.


     Howard stopped the pickup when he came to a black topped road. He

sat there debating as to which way he should go. The sun was high in the sky.

His stomach growled. He glanced at his wristwatch to see that four hours

has passed since he left the grocery store. At least one of my son's is

probably looking for me, he thought. He swallowed hard when he glanced at

the gas gauge to see that only a quarter of a tank remained. He decided to

drive west. If he was lucky, he might find his way back home in an hour or



     It had been a warm, sunny April day when dark clouds swept out of the

northwest. A chilly wind enveloped the landscape. The old man was only

vaguely aware of the changes as he tried to find his way home. He stopped

at an intersection, hesitated for a time before he turned off onto a dirt

road. He drove until he came to a cemetery. He stopped and gazed across

the cemetery at the head stones. In his confused state of mind, he imagined

he saw the head stone of his late wife, even though, in reality, it was fifty

miles away.


     He killed the engine and pulled the keys. He forced his stiff body out of

the pickup and grabbed his cane. Leaving the pikup door open, he crossed

to the four wire barbed wire fence dropping his keys in the tall, green

grass. He struggled across the fence, cutting his hands and ripping his pants on

the sharp barbs as the cool north wind seeped into his bones. He sahuffled

across the cemetary, and just as he was about the reach the head stone, a

gust of wind caused him to stumble, and he fell forward striking his head

against the stone.


     He rolled over on his back as blood ran down his forehead and over his

right eye. He had lost his glasses and his cane. Pain enveloped his chest as a

light mist began to fall. the old man put his arm across his chest and forced

left eye open. He grimaced in pain as the faint outline of an angel stood in

front of him.

The End.-



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