Issue 18 – The Camping Trip

John sat pensively watching the embers of the campfire die out. The kids had gone for a late night bike ride, and he was alone with his brother and sister and their spouses.

The camping trip had been Jared’s idea, an attempt to reconnect Catherine with her family, the way it had been when they were all younger. And it had been good to see his family again, see how big Catherine’s boys were getting, finally meet James’ new wife and kids, and see his kids connect with their cousins. Charlie and Hazel had even come out today, which was great. It had been too long since the whole family had been together.

But after seeing mom and dad, he was worried. He knew dad had been having some health issues, but he had been shocked to see mom driving instead of dad. And mom hadn’t seemed like herself either. She had been relying a lot more on dad than he remembered from last time he saw them. And she had brought her famous potato salad, but it was a mess! The potatoes were cut up but raw, she had added lettuce, and she had added tartar sauce instead of mayonnaise. It had smelled and looked atrocious. Mom had laughed it off, but he was worried. It wasn’t like her at all to mess up something she had done so many times.

“Mom and Dad didn’t look so good today, hey? Have you noticed anything off about them lately Catherine?”

Catherine looked over at him. “I’m not sure I know what you mean.”

“Well, Dad didn’t look too happy about having Mom drive him around. I don’t think I’ve seen him that unhappy since Grandpa passed! And Mom’s potato salad….”

She narrowed her eyes. “I don’t think I like what you’re implying. They looked fine to me. They’re just getting older. I’ve been over to their place a few times and they seem the same as always. Don’t worry so much.”

John appealed to his brother. “What do you think James? Did you notice how she even forgot that she went to Adrien’s grad last year?” Charlie and Hazel had flown out to visit him and the kids last year when his son Adrian had graduated high school. His mom had been so proud to see her first grandson graduate, but today it was like she didn’t even remember going. She had had to appeal to Dad for help recalling anything about the trip, which wasn’t like her at all.

James raised his hands defensively. “You know I’ve been out of the country for a long time. Today is the first time I’ve seen them in like a decade. That tater salad was a bit strange, but they seemed fine to me….”

John ran his hand through his thinning hair in frustration. How could they not see it? Especially Catherine. She saw them all the time. Perhaps he would need to talk directly to Mom and Dad. Or would that just make things worse? If both James and Catherine thought they were fine, maybe he was just making mountains out of molehills!

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What should John do? Do you think Catherine is right and John should sit back and wait? Or do you think he should try and talk with his parents and share his concerns? Or maybe he should call a family meeting.

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