Family Picnic

         Steve grabbed his cell phone off the nightstand by his bed and dialed the office.    Steve never missed work, never.  Actually, he couldn’t remember the last day he had taken off that wasn’t a scheduled company holiday, and most of those he ended up working anyway.

         Steve wasn’t sick, but for some reason, he felt the need to pretend he was to take today off.  Tired, raspy voice, Steve thought to himself as he waited for HR to answer the phone.

         “Hello, this is Pam.” came a familiar voice.

         “Hey, Pam, this is Steve.” Steve mumbled as he searched for the next words to say.

         “Oh, hi Steve.” Pam answered.  “You sound terrible.  Is everything ok?”

         “Sorry, Pam, but I’m feeling under the weather and think it’s best that I stay home today.”

         “Oh, I’m so sorry to hear that,” said Pam. 

         “Thanks, Pam.  I’m sure I’ll be fine by tomorrow.”

         “Ok, get some rest and I hope you get to feeling better,” Pam replied.

         “Thanks, I’ll talk to you later.  Bye.” Steve said as he hurriedly ended the call, not waiting for a return goodbye from Pam.

         Steve grabbed the piece of paper laying on the nightstand.  His handwriting was barely legible.  He had awoken from a dream last night and started scribbling down everything as fast as he could while he could still remember it.  None of it made any sense now.  Am I crazy?  There was only one way to find out.

         Steve skipped his normal routine that morning, he didn’t even bother to brush his teeth.  All he could think about was the dream he had last night and following the instructions he had written down.  He got dressed as fast as he could and grabbed a light jacket, knowing the weather called for drizzling rain later that day.

         He headed to the garage and started rummaging through the camping equipment, looking for his shovel.  One of these days, I’m actually going to use this stuff, he thought, searching through the unused gear, he and his, now ex-wife, had received as a wedding gift over five years ago.  There it is!  Steve took the small, campfire shovel and threw it into the trunk of his car.

         Steve pulled out of the garage, drove through the small neighborhood, and headed towards the highway.  It was going to be at least a couple of hours before he reached his destination. 

         Why this place?  Of all places, Steve couldn’t imagine why his dream had told him to go there.  When Steve thought of this place, all he could think about was pain and sorrow.  In fact, just thinking about it now, started to bring tears to his eyes.

         How am I supposed to find “the answer” here?  This doesn’t make any sense at all.  I must be crazy.

         There was a time that this place hadn’t brought Steve such grief and heartache, a time when this place was full of happiness, joy, and laughter.   But that had all changed, when at the tender age of seven, at his very spot, his parents were painfully ripped away from him in a tragic accident.

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