Her casket was natural wood and
twin sister was carefully loaded into the back of a U-Haul truck, nestled
behind what meager belongings she still owned.
Anything of any real value had already been lifted by faux-friends,
grifters. Her vehicle trailed behind on a dolly. They told me, the grifters
that is, that I
couldn’t take Dawn’s car out of the state of Ohio…said it was in probate and
that it would be illegal. Acted shocked when they heard I was going to transport
her to South Dakota myself and were astonished to find that all it took was a
$5 permit to legally take a body across state lines. What I didn’t tell them is
that in the small print of the U-Haul contract was a disclaimer forbidding the
transport of a corpse. They didn’t believe me when I said I’d be gone by
morning. I left the quaint little town of Lebanon, Ohio during the dead of the
night shortly after 2:00, but not before first reporting a missing handgun from
my sister’s belongings. Daddy Grifter, an oily Pentecostal and his bipolar
daughter questioned how I could know my sister owned a handgun. Dawn told me
she did. I found the holster and the ammo in her belongings, but no firearm.
The police said, she could have loaned it to someone. But I know better and so
does Jesus and no doubt, you do too.
The magnitude of this ordeal
was unexpected. My
son-in-law procured a round trip flight for me with points. I expected a quick
trip, albeit a sad one… knowing the inevitable…but still I held hope and I knew
Dawn would not expire before I arrived. And I knew this, because Dawn was Dawn,
and because she loved me. And well, I loved her too.
Saturday, January 22, 2022 along
I-74 near exit
102 exactly 283 miles from Council Bluffs, where my daughter lived, an inside
dual had a blowout and there, Dawn and I were stranded on the shoulder of the
interstate at 4:32 in the late afternoon waiting for a tire exchange which had
to be contracted through U-Haul.
For nearly three hours I waited,
noticing the traffic passing by, as I contemplated what would happen if we had
to unload the U-Haul before changing the tire. What would happen when Dawn was
discovered, openly sequestered beneath cover of the U-Haul, and then I realized
that Dawn and I had somehow unwittingly become interred into the grotesquery of
a William Falkner Southern Gothic novel. Dawn was my Addie and she was paying
me back for all the pranks I’d pulled over her the past 56 years.
When I first arrived at the airport
in Ohio, I
was picked up by a preacher-man, the husband of Dawn’s self-proclaimed best
friend. The bipolar one had been beside Dawn the entire time. Had rehydrated
Dawn and was carefully monitoring everything. I questioned why they had not
taken her to the hospital immediately upon first discovering her failing
condition. But they assured me, they knew what they were doing and as a family
unit had gone through the same process several times already of successfully
battling Covid. Still, I did not understand, and when Dawn’s oxygen level fell
dangerously low and they finally called the ambulance, I just trusted they were
doing their best…but now I know the truth…they were creatures of the lowest kind—grifters
My first inkling of their diabolical
when I found out that Dawn’s best friend was filing for medical
power-of-attorney over Dawn while I was still in midflight. The entire ordeal
was surreal, entirely unfathomable and yet I know it was true. Dawn was there
and I was too and I believe I may have noticed Rod lurking in the shadows.
It took less than seven minutes
to completely change
two tires and be heading on down the road. No unloading of the U-Haul, no
opening of the door, just nearly three hours of antagonizing anxiety, followed
by a quick exchange of tires and nothing more.
As I approached Council Bluffs,
Iowa, in great
need of rest, I wondered why my two older sisters had never informed me of Dawn’s
earlier bankruptcy. Of how her best friend used her. Ran up over $10,000 of
credit card debt with the promise of paying her back. Of how there had been an
earlier falling out because they grifted her after using her as a free
babysitter, enticing Dawn to sell her home and move from Sioux Falls to
Lebanon, promising to pay her for taking care of Grandma and then accusing Dawn
of abuse and dismissing her with no job or place to stay.
Why didn’t my older sisters
tell me this? If
they had, perhaps I would have been prepared upon arrival to Ohio. Instead, I
walked into a buzzsaw.
I arrived in Council Bluffs,
Iowa at 6:30 Sunday
morning, slept for six hours and headed for Winner, SD at 12:55 in the
afternoon. I was tired, but I was focused. The funeral home and my brother were
waiting for me in Winner. They needed the body that evening in order to have a
burial on Monday. My mind was focused on many things, one of which was why? Why
did Dawn reconcile with the Ohio grifters…but the answer was obvious…Dawn was lonely
and Dawn loved unconditionally. There was nothing fake about her Christianity
and she exemplified the commandment of loving thy neighbor. She truly believed
in forgiving seventy times seven times the sins of man…hadn’t her Lord and
Savior done the same for her?
The needle approached empty as
Tyndall, SD. A large buck materialized as a phantom from the blackness of a
South Dakota night, running head-on into the side of the U-Haul. I did not
stop, kept driving toward Tyndall, wondering how much damage was caused,
thanking God that the deer had not run into Dawn’s car. Oddly, I noticed no
discernible damage while filling the tank of the U-Haul truck.
We arrived safely to Winner,
South Dakota at
8:15 Sunday evening. Dawn made us sweat beneath her casket as I and my
Parkinson’s afflicted brother, my wife and my daughter and some poor laborer
from the Funeral Home struggled to extract her casket from the U-Haul truck. Dawn
must have been enjoying the carnival ride she endured during our final journey
together. I’m sure she was laughing at the hell I was enduring but I know too
she was happy that I was saving her from the demons who tried to keep her
ensnared in a grifted Ohio hell.