HIS BODY LIES IN A SMALL CEMETERY IN MISSOURI BUT--HIS SPIRIT RESTS WITH ME.
One morning…. he stood in the family driveway, and, without the slightest agitation, announced to the man in the yard beside our driveway, “Mr. Payne, stop sleeping with my wife or I’ll use my shotgun to blow your head off!” Continuing, in a soft, respectful voice, Daddy warned Mr. Payne to heed his words or “My gun will put a hole where your face use to be!”
It was noontime when I received an emotional phone call from Mr. Payne’s wife. Immediately, I assumed something dreadful had happened to my parents. As the hysterical woman attempted to relate my father’s impossible accusation and threat, I knew I had to act quickly. I urged the distraught neighbor to remain calm; I assured her I would be there in ten minutes. Driving to the Payne house, I prayed. I begged God to intervene and keep the situation from getting worse. Apparently, my father was delusional. Knowing advanced dementia now controlled my father’s every action, I wondered if daddy was actually capable of shooting anyone. I also wondered why Ms. Payne had telephoned me rather than my mother.
Later, I learned Mrs. Payne HAD called my mother but my mother insisted she call me. Bits and pieces of the incident--- contributed by both Mr. and Mrs. Payne-- and later-- my mother--- grew into a bunch of odd-sized puzzle pieces. I struggled to fit them together, to get a clear picture of what happened. Apparently-- after my daddy’s threat-- Mr. Payne had run to his house, bolted the doors and windows-- then yelled to his wife, “Call Ms. Miller-- Hurry! Mr. Miller has gone crazy; he’s threatening to kill me! He’s got a gun!”
I remember every detail of Mrs. Payne’s phone call. I remember the shock I felt when I heard about my father’s actions. I cringed just hearing how Mr. Payne had run to the safety of his home...in fear of his life. That afternoon--- stepping on the porch of the Payne family’s home— I prayed God would grant me the strength and courage I would need for the crisis ahead.
When Mr. and Mrs. Payne opened their front door, I saw absolute terror in the faces of a simple-living, loving, and God-Fearing couple. This older, married-twosome had lived in the same house, in the same neighborhood, for more than sixty years. For the first-time-ever, they were scared for their lives.
Trying to explaining how a loving person…like my father... can look and act normal while being totally- possessed by a medical monster like Dementia… can be overwhelming. After assuring the Payne Family that ALL guns had been removed from my daddy’s house, their tension eased-- but only slightly.
Nothing I said could erase my father’s shocking accusation that Mr. Payne was having sex with my mother. After a somewhat “touchy and awkward’ visit, I finally left the Payne home. Two years later, my father died.
The day after my father’s funeral, I drove to my parents' house and spotted Mr. Payne in his back yard, raking leaves. Catching his gaze, I smiled and waved. I watched Mr. Payne drop the rake and start running--full speed-- toward his back door. Years later, I learned that both of the Paynes lived in constant fear... completely-traumatized by my father’s threat… until they died.
PS…I have every reason to believe my mother relentlessly taunted, teased, and physically-abused my father as he aged---especially after his Dementia diagnosis. Knowing her as I did, I have no doubt my mother planted the “seed” that she and our neighbor, Mr. Payne, were having an affair.
My Mother was 100% EVIL. She delighted... in hurting/damaging/destroying those around her.