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YOUR LATE, YOUR LATE FOR A VERY IMPORTANT DATE



"Honey, I thought the kids were coming over for dinner at six o'clock. It's already five minutes till seven," Bill said to his wife. "I guess they will be here when they get here, Dad. You know how Billy is," said Martha as she headed back into the kitchen to reheat the turkey, dressing and homemade biscuits for the third time.

"I hear a car in the driveway. Can you get the door, dear? Martha asked. Suddenly, the door burst open and two happy little faces came racing into grandpas arms, all three of them now screaming for joy.

“Sorry we're late, dad,” Billy said. “Julie and I were in the hot tub and we just totally lost track of time.”

"You know your mother has slaved over that hot stove most of the day and I am sure that the turkey is dry as pine straw by now," said Billy’s father.

"I said I was sorry, dad. It was just a mistake", said Billy in a harsh disgusting tone, throwing his coat over the back of his dad's recliner. "What about last week when we were supposed to take the grandkids to that little carnival over in the super market parking lot. You guys stopped at every garage sale between here and Kalamazoo, and we missed taking the kids to the carnival? You said you were sorry then too. What about last Mother’s Day when you did not bring your mother a card, until three days after Mother’s Day? It might have broken her heart, and what about your sister's birthday when you showed up after everyone else had already gone home, because you had to polish your new car?" asked his dad.

"Jesus! Things just happen, dad. That's life in today's world. Things are just different now than when you were a kid. Don't you older people understand that? Don't you understand that time is a very valuable commodity - that things are a lot more stressful today? All I can say is that I am sorry, dad," said Billy.

Everyone was very cordial during the special meal that mom had prepared. But no one joked around like usual, no one laughed and nobody said much that was really interesting or important. Martha tried to act as though her feelings were not hurt, because her famous over-sized, home-made biscuits were now all dried and hard, and the beautifully basted, 15-pound turkey she made for their special Thanksgiving meal was now completely dry to the bone.

When dinner was finally over, grandma and grandpa kissed and hugged the rowdy little grandkids and then playfully wrestled them into the back seat of the big, black fancy car that their son Bill, the lawyer now owned and off they drove into the sunset, until next year when grandma would once again fix another beautiful Thanksgiving Day dinner with all the trimmings.

Early the next morning, the telephone rang. Julie, getting the children ready for school reached over and picked up the receiver. "Hello," she said.

"Julie, this is dad. I need you guys to come to the hospital as quickly as possible. I know that you are only 20 minutes from the hospital, but please drive carefully."

"We'll be right there, dad," said Julie as she hung up the telephone.

Thirty-five minutes later, Billy and Julie arrive at the hospital and saw dad standing in the hospital hallway. Smiling, Julie walked up to her father-in-law, reached out and handed Bill a small bag.

"We stopped at McDonald’s to feed the kids and thought that you and mom might like a sausage and egg biscuit. What's up, dad?" Julie asked.

Bill clutched the bag for a moment and then dropped it to the floor. He quickly turned toward the wall and placed his hands over his red face to cover the tears that were now starting to flow. "What's the big deal here?" yelled Billy flinging his arms up into the air as if he were in a court of law.

"What is going on, dad?" Julie asked again as she wrapped her arms around him. "It's mom. She was asking why you were not here. She died about 10 minutes ago," he whispered in a low voice. "I'm so sorry Dad," Billy said looking down and kicking at the McDonalds bag that was now lying on the floor. Then he reached out and grabbed his father, trying to hug him. "I know. I remember you telling me that at dinner time son, something about important commodities," said his father.



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