February 22

Posted on: February 25, 2013

“What is this about Sawyer, Don?” I finally got him on the phone.  I’d started calling at 9am, dialing non-stop until he picked up at 9:20am.

“Good morning to you, too.” He hesitated.  “Someone has landed with a military clearance, looking for you.”  This someone obviously being my ‘package’.


“Yes, you, by name.   He also gave what he calls a password,” and he told me what this ‘someone’ said.  My heart almost stopped.

“Where is this person now?” I managed to squeak out.

“They’re being held at Sawyer.  Does this mean anything to you?” Don questioned.

“They?” my heart did a double trip.  Could it possibly be???  So very few knew I even had a special code word.  “Yes, it means something.”

“Then I think you should make a trip down to Sawyer, Deborah.  Conditions there aren’t what they use to be, though it is very secure.”  I could hear Don shuffling papers again.

“Who should I ask for when I get there?”  I could be there in less than two hours.


I know Darlene was startled when I rushed out of the office, but I couldn’t take the time to explain what was going thru my head; the possibility I was faced with.


I backed into the barn part way, and started to pump gas into the car from the nearly depleted drum.  John had seen me pull in, and came out to see what I was doing.  When I told him what was going on, and what I thought was waiting, he took over pumping the gas, and told me to do whatever I felt needed doing.  I scurried across the road to tell Jason we’d be leaving shortly, and to keep an eye on the house.  We’d be gone for several hours and he needed to tend the fire for me.  I didn’t want to say anything more; I didn’t want to get his hopes up.  It was enough that mine might crash, his didn’t need that if I was wrong.


My hands were shaking so badly during the trip, I had John drive; I just didn’t trust my reflexes.  He was well acquainted with the route, having flown in and out of Sawyer Airport every six weeks for the past two years. When we arrived, though, the place had a whole new look: military presence.  Barbed wire was back, topping the chain link fence the county put up; gray green jeeps were everywhere; soldiers hustling between buildings; and a new guard shack where there had been none before.

I gave the guard my name and who I was to see, while he looked over my Emergency Management ID.  He glanced at John, who maintained a stony face, when I told the guard John was my driver and my body guard.  People seem to accept that for some reason.  The not-so-young soldier told me where I could park and which building would have my contact.


“Why are you so nervous, Deb?” John placed his hand on my arm to slow down my pacing.

“I don’t think this is so much nerves as anticipation,” I smiled weakly at him, my heart felt like it was going to pound right out of my chest.  The Captain I had spoke with had been gone for 15 minutes now.  I laid my forehead to John’s chest, I so needed the comfort.

I turned as I heard “Nahna!” and little Emilee launched herself at me from a full run.  I swept her up and hugged her, just as Eric reached us.  I set her down, slowly and turned to Jason’s older brother.

“Hey, Mom,” he said with a very tired smile, and folded me in his arms.  The tears just poured.  They were safe and they were here!  Eric looked over at John, eyebrows raised in question.  I reluctantly let go of him.

“Eric, this is John, my…” John interrupted me.

“Please don’t call me your driver and body guard, not to this man.” John held out his hand and Eric grasped it firmly, both of them grinning.

“John is my… everything.” I smiled at him, sniffled, and dug in my pocket for a hanky, cloth of course, paper tissues were long a thing of the past.  I slipped my arm possessively into his.

Just then the Captain rejoined us. “I think I can safely ascertain that you recognize Sgt. First Class Rush, and his daughter.”  I just grinned, unable to say much.  He handed me a clipboard and a pen.  When I just looked at it, he said, “Since Sgt. Rush was unexpected, coming in on military standby, and unauthorized by the way, he’s been held in custody until someone signs for the two of them.  New statutes prohibits crossing state lines unless there is someone on the receiving end willing to vouch for, house and feed a person.  Will you take full responsibility for these two people, Ma’am?”

“Yes, absolutely.”  I understood he had his formal protocol to follow.  I took his pen, and signed where he indicated.

Eric turned to the Captain and saluted, which the Captain returned.  “You’re very lucky, young man, not everyone gets this far.  If you will follow me, I will release your two bags and escort you out.”  He looked down at Emilee and added, “and you, young lady, behave for your grandmother,” and tapped her nose with his rough finger.

“Her name is Nahna!” Emilee replied, little fists on her skinny ten year old hips, and her chin stuck out in defiance, earning laughter from all of us.


Standing beside the car, while John put the two small carry-on bags in the back, I gave Eric another fierce hug.  “I can’t believe you’re here.  Oh my God, I’ve been so worried about you two!”  The tears threatened again, but I did manage to keep them in check.  “What about Bernita?” I whispered, not wanting Emi to hear.  Even though Eric and his wife had split up, I would have taken her in without a second thought.

“Her job is very important, not just to her, but to the entire county.  She’ll be fine. She sends her love and asks just that we keep Emi safe.”  Bernita had made Captain in the Fire Department last Spring, after years as a paramedic, and worked hard now in public relations.  She’d been a very dedicated person for as long as I’ve known her.  She might not have come, but at least I have these two.

6 thoughts on “February 22

  1. Absolutely! It is a wonderful feeling to know that Deborah’s son and grand daughter are safely with her now.

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