Sunday’s Disappearing Dad Trick

This morning, my husband, son and I went over to pick up my dad for church. There we discovered that Dad had slipped out of the Board & Care during a shift change, opting to head out to church on his own. Fortunately, one of the caregivers spotted him and followed him, though she couldn’t redirect him back to the Board & Care.

On a busy street, Dad flagged down a car, hopped in, and told the driver (a stranger!) that he needed to get to church. Helpless, the caregiver hopped in with him.

In the meantime, not knowing that Dad had gotten into someone’s car, we drove up and down streets, looking for him, knowing he couldn’t walk very far. Finally, we received a call that he was at church. So…off we zoomed to church.

Unfortunately, he wasn’t at OUR church.

An hour later, we tracked Dad down and waited outside of the church where he happened to be. Sadly, a long winded preacher kept the congregation an extra half-hour (and, of course, Dad sat in the front row). Two nice ushers came up to us as we waited in the narthex and tried to convince us that we should be attending their church. When we finally explained the situation, they gave up and walked away.

Finally, the service ended, we scooped up Dad and the caregiver, thanked the stranger who brought them to church (heaven only knows what he was thinking!), and took Dad back to the Board & Care.

We had missed church, spent nearly two hours looking for Dad, and were just exhausted. Dad had the gall to be irritated with us for taking him back to the Board & Care for lunch.

An excursion with my dad has the feeling of slamming oneself repeatedly into a brick wall.

About Suzanne

Suzanne Woods Fisher writes bestselling, award winning fiction and non-fiction books about the Old Order Amish for Revell Books. Her interest in the Plain People began with her Old Order German Baptist grandfather, raised in Franklin County, Pennsylvania. Suzanne's app, Amish Wisdom, delivers a daily Amish proverb to your phone or iPad. She writes a bi-monthly column for Christian Post and Cooking & Such magazine. She lives with her family in California and raises puppies for Guide Dogs for the Blind. To Suzanne's way of thinking, you can't take life too seriously when a puppy is running through your house with someone's underwear in its mouth.


  1. Ann says:

    You didn’t miss too much at church today–oh yes, My husband set off the fire alarm right smack in the middle of the sermon–but other than that, it was uneventful!!!

  2. Carol D. O'Dell says:

    What an exhausting morning–and thank goodness he was taken to a church where you could find him.

    My mom was a wanderer too–mostly in stores–but her life centered around church so she was always saying she was going to church (she was a minister)–middle of the night and she would be dressing and wanting me to call her a taxi so she could “go to church.”

    She could slip away from me in two secs. My mom had Alzheimer’s (we didn’t realize it early on) and after a while, she simply couldn’t be reasoned with.
    In some ways she was cute in her innocence, in others, just plain aggravating and stubborn!

    Now that technology has improved I would do some kind of tracking device/GPS thing sewn into my mom’s pocket because she got to where she didn’t understand the danger of traffic/the road.

    I wish you well–I also wish you patience, humor and tenacity–you’ll need them all.

    ~Carol D. O’Dell
    Author of Mothering Mother: A Daughter’s Humorous and Heartbreaking Memoir

    available on Amazon

  3. Ann says:

    Suzanne, Carol O’dell coined it well. I wish we had some type of tracking device on my dad. He would know enough to wander to see friends. They would kindly entertain him and then return him home. We were frantically looking for him on many occasions. Praying for you today and always!