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Thursday, Dec. 25, 2014

Listen to your mother, for this is strange

Posted Friday, April 27, 2012, at 5:12 PM

Strange things seem to be haunting me.

First a little old lady in the car beside me in the bank parking lot rolls down her window and frustratedly asks me why her car won't start (little does she realize she might as well be asking me a calculus question, for the Shell Answer Man I am not).

Turns out her car won't start because she's left her keys on the counter in the bank. Happy to have been of help.

Case solved, I move on to the nearest gas station, popping inside for a drink and a losing lottery ticket, only to be stopped by a young man with a question.

"How far is it to the courthouse?" he asks, standing alongside an old pickup truck that sometime in its existence must have survived a demolition derby. "I have a friend going to court at 1 o'clock."

Now I'm not sure that Indiana didn't sneak a new time zone in on us while I wasn't paying attention, but my watch shows it's already 2:30.

The courthouse is about five minutes away, I tell him, suggesting it might take him longer to find a parking spot than it will to drive there from Round Barn Road.

Ever accommodating, I give him directions downtown, including the suggestion he veer left at the stoplight past Kroger -- just to keep him on the straight and narrow.

Yet he lingers there and seems to be fishing for a ride. But I'm not biting, so he finally heads back to his battered old truck. Always happy to help.

That gives me an opening to head home where family members have assembled in anticipation of my daughter's wedding.

As we sit around the kitchen table, chatting about events past and present, my sister Jennifer, who has ventured to Greencastle with husband Ken for the nuptials, reminds us it is my mother's birthday. She would have been 86 but passed away two years ago in February.

We all raise a glass to Mom, and just as I had for too many years to remember, I interject the fact her birthday was also Adolf Hitler's. That always bugged her. Like I said, always happy to oblige.

It wasn't five minutes later that my cell phone rang. It comes up with a number I didn't have in my contacts, so I ignore it since only a few select folks have my cell number these days.

A couple minutes later I notice I have a voicemail. Figuring it is some kind of come-on from some loan company or one of the casinos that loves to call the previous owner of my cell number, I ignore it.

Then the phone rings again. And again. Same unknown number.

I let it ring out, and access the old voicemail.

In haunting tones, an elderly female voice says: "This is your mother, call me back."

Of course, I eagerly would if I could. But that's impossible ... or is it?

Obviously I realize it is nothing more than just another wrong number ... or was it?

Strange things are indeed haunting me ... call your mother!



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A native of Chicago and a graduate of the University of Missouri, Eric Bernsee has enjoyed residing in Greencastle for more than 25 years. Years of consuming McDonald's iced teas, Dairy Castle flurries and Marvin's GCBs have helped make him the man he is today.
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