Page 28: We Can’t Find Joe!

Ted arrived at the Aden farm just a little before supper time. He knocked on the door several times, but no one answered. He checked to see if the door was locked, which it wasn’t, so he walked right on in.
Ted had become just like one of the family since he and Joe had started hanging out.  It wasn’t unusual for him to come over any time he felt like getting away from the wife and kids. He had popped over plenty of times late in the evening only to have Evelyn put a full meal out on the table for him. 

Joe’s mom was about the nicest person on the planet.  Hard worker, too–seven kids in eight years–working right alongside John in the barn and in the field.  She was a pillar of strength after Tessie died, always saying how thankful she was that she didn’t lose two kids that day and how thankful she was that the good Lord took Tessie instead of her being a vegetable and Joe having to look at her every day as a reminder of what happened.  It was no wonder Joe loved her as much as he did.

“Hello? Anybody home?” Ted yelled as he cautiously walked through the kitchen. Water boiling on the stove and a roast in the oven, someone must be home, Ted thought. He walked around the corner and yelled down the hallway, “Hellloooo?”

Still no answer. Ted walked back into the kitchen and turned the burner off on the stove. The water must have boiling for while, Ted observed, because there was barely any water left in the pot. He opened up the oven door and peeked inside.  He saw that the roast was to the point of being burnt.

Ted went back outside. Both the family car and truck were in the yard. Sharon’s car was there, too.  As loud as he could, Ted yelled again, “Anybody here?” Just as he was getting ready to walk down to the barn, he saw Sharon running from the field, out of breath, panicking, “Ted, Joe took off, we don’t know where he is. We thought he was lying down.  Mom went in to get him up for supper, and he wasn’t in his room.”

“Maybe he just went for a walk. He’s a big boy. He’ll be fine,” Ted said reassuringly.

“No, he won’t be fine. Joe doesn’t remember anything so he’ll probably get lost. Plus, he was really upset earlier today.  I’ve checked all the buildings, and Mom is headed out toward the apple orchard.  Can you please help?”

“Yeah, sure,” Ted said begrudgingly.  “I’ll just take my car and drive around the section and then head towards town. I’m sure he’s OK, Sharon.  He probably just needed to clear his head.”

“Right!” Sharon said sarcastically. “Obviously you haven’t seen Joe since his shock treatments.  There isn’t anything in his head to clear!”  Sharon wasn’t trying to be funny, but Ted burst out laughing anyway. “It isn’t funny!” Sharon said  angrily.

“OK, Ok, I’m sorry,” Ted said as he tried to hold back a smile.  With that, he walked to his car, started it and drove off to help find Joe.

FACTS:  Joe would leave the house and get lost because he didn’t know where he was and couldn’t find his way.  
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