One Saturday evening Karen and I had finished our chores and were just starting to crack open our Sunday School lesson on the miracles Jesus used to enjoy working when the phone rang.
Mom answered it.
“Oh dear,” we heard her say.“How bad is he? . . . Is he, uh, in the back room? . . .Waldo’s not well, and I just don’t know what to do . . . Okay, I’ll send somebody right over . . .Thanks.”
Karen and I gave each other looks.We knew what was going on.We knew Grandpa Unruh was down at Boswell’s and that he’d been drinking. We also knew Dad couldn’t go get him because he was sick in bed from having a whole mouthful of teeth yanked out by a Pocatello dentist who’d lost count because he was loaded with whiskey and was one of those kinds of dentists who gets a kick out of hearing himself talk when he has his fingers in your mouth, so Dad couldn’t tell him to stop after the first half a dozen teeth. The only thing we didn’t know was who’d have to go pick up Grandpa.
We didn’t have to wait long to find out.
“John,” said Mom, “I have a job for you.”
“I nominate Karen,” I said.
“You don’t even know what I’m going to ask you to do.”
“How do you know I don’t know? You think I’m stupid or something?” I was eleven going on twelve and waaay past the stupid stage.