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JOY'S LEGACY, chapters 1-4


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Written by our own happygirl


originally posted 07/12/05




Joy's Legacy, Chapters 1-19




Joy slammed on the brakes as the guy in front of her swerved. What was this all about? Her little four year old in the back started crying.


“Victoria, are you ok?” Joy called back, looking at her through the rearview mirror.


“Yes, a little bit ok” Victoria answered.


Her crying slowed to a whimper as Joy looked in the mirror again to make sure no one was behind her. There wasn’t. The guy in front of her had continued on his way as a family of ducks finished crossing the highway behind him.


Joy thought of laying on the horn, but with the way things were going lately, she thought she better not. She turned down the music on the radio and pulled over. Her heart was pumping so hard she was sure Victoria could hear it loud and clear.


“What are we doing Mommy?” Victoria asked with tears still in her eyes.


“Mommy just needs to relax a little bit before we keep going, ok?” Joy said, trying to sound as normal as she could.


This was the closest she had come to having an accident. And of course it would have been her fault, as she would have been the one hitting from behind. Or maybe not. She knew there were exceptions to the rule, but she wasn’t sure what those were.


Joy turned in her seat to face Victoria as best as she could, and reached out her hand to place it on Victoria's knee. She put her little hand on Joy's.


“Do you want to pray Victoria? And thank Jesus for helping us to not hit that car in front of us?” Joy asked, still a little shaken.


She nodded her head and closed her eyes tightly.


“Thank you Jesus for helping Mommy not to hit the car and the guy and the ducks. Amen.” She opened her eyes as Joy gave her hand a squeeze.


“Amen” Joy said. “You saw the ducks?” She asked her as she turned back around.


“Yeah! There was a mommy duck and four baby ducks!” Victoria said excitedly.


Joy smiled at her through the mirror, as her heart seemed to regain it’s normal pace again.


She carefully pulled back into the highway, looking for stray ducks along the way.


She pulled into the underground garage of our apartment complex a few minutes later. As she was parking, she saw a man in a green shirt and khaki pants coming towards them.


“Daddy!” Victoria squealed.


Joy's husband opened the side door to the minivan and yelled a big “Boo!”.


Victoria giggled “Hi Daddy! I like you, Daddy!”


In a muffled voice, Dave tried to say something. Joy got out of the van and hugged his waist from behind.


“What are you trying to say?”


He pried himself from Victoria’s arms and said “Hi honey, welcome home” then leaned in towards her for a kiss. He pulled back and looked straight into her eyes.


“You’ll want to go home right away. I’ll bring the food up. Your Mom called and left a message.”


“Really? What did she say?” Joy asked wondering why he would want her to get the message right away since it wasn’t unusual for her Mom to call and leave them a silly message.


He looked at Victoria. “You better go hear it for yourself. I’ll bring Victoria and the food up.”


“Ok” Joy said as she leaned in for one more kiss before heading upstairs.


“Bye Mommy!”


“Bye, Sweetie! I’ll see you upstairs, ok?”


“Ok!” Both her Sweeties answered together.


As she walked to the entrance of the door she could hear Victoria giggling. He must have been tickling her again. She wondered what her Mom wanted? It wasn’t unusual at all for her to call. What was unusual was for Dave to be so worried about it.


Joy was the youngest of three sisters. Her parents had devoted their life to their work, Missions. She had been born and raised in Mexico, six years after her middle sister, Marie, had been born in Brazil where they worked a few years, and eight years younger than her oldest sister, Ann. It was funny. Her oldest sister Ann had been born in the States, but married a Mexican guy and now lived in Mexico with her husband and two teenage kids, Leslie and Allen. Joy was born in Mexico and was married to an American and lived in the USA. All the way up north, no less. Minnesota. She sure did love it here, though, even if it did get bellow zero in the winter and they got mosquitoes that could carry people away as take-out food. Well, almost anyway.


She reached their floor and went into their apartment. They had lived there for three years now. The longest they had lived anywhere in their entire married life, almost eight years. Dave was a caretaker at the apartment complex, which was a blessing and curse at the same time. He liked the work, but was treated very unfairly. Often he would come home only until after he put in a good 10 to 12 hour day, and of course, his salary didn’t reflect that. He got along well with the residents, who always spoke highly of him, but was starting to have problems with his boss, the manager, again. It seemed as if he never did enough in her eyes. Joy sure wished he could just quit.


She hung her purse up and locked the door behind herself. With as many robberies as they had experienced in the last couple of weeks in the building, one could never be too careful. She looked around the apartment. Ah! There it was. Funny you can never find a cordless phone when you need one.


Joy pressed the remote message button.


“Beeeep. You have one new message. To hear incoming message press two.”


She pressed two.


“Beeeep. First message:”


The male voice turned into her Mom’s voice.


“Hi hon, it’s me. Can you call me as soon as you get home? REAL QUICK, ok? Pronto. Rápido. It’s urgent. Love you! Talk to you soon. Bye!”


The male voice came back.


“Thursday, June 2, 3:32 p.m. End of incoming message. To repeat incoming message, press 1. To…”


Joy hung up. She quickly dialed her Mom and Dad’s phone number. Fortunately they had one of those phones that were hooked up through the Internet. This way, she could call within her area code, even though they were in the middle Mexico. She looked at her watch as their phone started ringing. 4:45 p.m. If she put the headset on, she could start supper while she talked.


Their phone was still ringing. She quickly put one the headset, just before someone picked up the phone.


“¿Bueno? Hello?” It was her Dad.


“Hi, Pa!” Joy said, “How are ya?”


“Good, Joy! How are you doing? Hang on a second, let me get Mom."


Joy could see him in her mind's eye getting up and going into the hallway of their home.


“Liz? Joy’s on the phone! Just a second, Joy”


Her Mom came on the phone. “Hi honey! How are ya doing?”


Joy pulled out stuff from the fridge for supper. “Umm, good. How are you? What’s so urgent?”


“Are you sitting down?” Liz asked.


“No, I’m cutting tomatoes. Should I be?”


“YES!” Both her parents said together. “And leave the knife behind” Ed chuckled.


“Ok…” Joy sat down at the dinning room table, “What’s up?”


“Well,” Mom said, “Uncle James died today, honey.”


“What???” Joy said as the door to our apartment opened and Victoria came running in.


“Hi, Mommy!” she said.


Dave took one look at Joy and motioned for her to go to their room to finish the call.


“We’ll put away the food,” he whispered.


Joy went and sat on their bed after closing the door.


“What?” she said again.


“Uncle James died last night,” Ed said “you know how sick he was…”


“Yeah, but I thought he had at least a year left!”


Uncle James was Liz’s only adopted brother. Her Mother had died when she was six weeks old, and the neighbors had taken her in when her Father couldn’t care for her plus three other children. They had adopted her four years later, but she still stayed in contact with her birth family even to this day.


“Yeah, I know honey,” Liz said. Joy could tell she was about to cry.


“How are you doing Mom?” she asked.


“Oh, as well as can be expected, I guess. It’s just a shock to us, too, you know. I was hoping to see him this summer”.


“When is the funeral going to be?” Joy asked, wondering if it was too soon for her to ask.


“Well, it’ll be next Friday. A week from tomorrow. That way it will give us a chance to get up there to be there for it.” Ed replied.


“You’re coming up? Really?”


“Well, sure honey! He was my only brother!” Liz said. “Plus, I get to see my pretty little red head!” Joy could tell she was trying to smile through her tears.


“Are you coming up too, Dad?” she asked.


“Yeah,” Joy could hear him getting up again, “Aunt Linda is going to pay our way up there. But she wants us to drive up. She said that she can pay for the gas and hotels, and then we can have a vehicle while we are there. Apparently her kids are in on this, too.”


“Wow. That’s great! I wonder if Dave can get some time off of work? Maybe he could go up to the funeral, too,” Joy wondered out loud.


“Well, you better see if he can,” Ed said “‘cause Ann and Marie are going, too”.


“What?!?” Joy said. She wasn’t terribly surprised about Ann. Her Uncle and Aunt had flown her up to visit before. But Marie? She was in Africa! She was going to pay for her to come for the funeral, too?


“Yeah, apparently they want the whole family to be there. There’s not many of us, so they want to make sure everyone is there.” Liz said.


“And get this. They are going to fly Roger and the kids and Juan over, too,” Ed said, with wonder in his voice.


Joy couldn’t believe it. Juan and the ‘kids’ that her Dad was referring to were her sister Ann’s family. Roger was her sister Marie’s fiancé. That was a real shocker, as he was from Africa. Good thing he had his papers in order. They'd all get to meet him now! Marie had lived in Africa for almost 10 years. She was a missionary and had remained single despite many offers to be married. Most were not serious, since the men were Muslim, and had at least one or two wives already. Roger had stolen her heart. He was a Christian missionary to his own people, and no wife! Joy had spoken to him on the phone several times, and from what she knew, he was a really nice guy.


“This is going to be one expensive trip!” Joy said.


“Yeah, no kidding, mister!” Liz said. “They are even going to pay for all of us, and their kids too, I suppose, to stay at the Buena Vista in Duluth. For the whole week!”


“In Duluth? Is that where he wanted to be buried? I would have thought in Grand Rapids.” Joy said.


“No,” Ed said, “He’ll be buried next to your grandparents. Apparently he had everything figured out. I had no idea he was that organized. It’ll be as close to a family reunion as you can get.”


“What do you mean, Ed? Just because there are so many people in your family it doesn’t make mine any less of one!” Liz said jokingly. The joke of the family. Only one sibling on Liz's side, seven on Ed's. Joy could hear her Dad laughing. Well, at least they aren’t so broken hearted that she'd have to worry about them, Joy thought.


“Have you talked to Marie?” Joy asked.


“Yep. They are going to be coming. So are Ann and her family. So I sure hope you can get Dave to take the week off,” Ed said.


They talked a bit more about the logistics of the trip. They would be arriving in the Twin Cities on Wednesday, and then everyone would go up to Duluth on Thursday to be there for the funeral on Friday. Ann and Juan would drive up with them, but in their own minivan. Roger and Marie would fly in at their earliest convenience. Joy made a mental note to write things down that she wanted them to bring from Mexico. With two minivans they’d have a ton of space!


They hung up the phone and she went into the dinning room. Dave was just hanging up on the cell phone.


“I just ordered pizza” he said, “It doesn’t look like the kind of time for you to cook”.


“Thanks, hon,” Joy said as she sat next to him at the table.


“What’s up?” he asked.


She told him everything. He was doubtful he could get the time off, but said that he’d try. They talked for a while about Uncle James, until the pizza arrived. After supper they played with Victoria for a while and then put her to bed. After reading the Bible, singing and praying, she was finally ready to go to sleep.


Finally, Dave and Joy could talk openly. He expressed his growing fear of losing his job. He had been working at the apartments for almost two years, and recently it seemed as though they were just “out to get him”. They decided to watch the news. They weren’t sure what was more depressing, the news, or his job situation, or Uncle James dying.


The news was getting worse every night. Oh, the newscasters were great. They had fun doing their job, and you could tell. But tonight, for a split second as the main anchor-man told of the dollar dropping yet again, the price of crude oil going up, and the tensions with China rising, you could tell. Things were probably worse than they were letting on. Dave and Joy had always thought that if they would tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth, people really would need all of God’s help. So after the news they held hands and asked for it. This country was needing as much help as it could get!






They got up early in the morning. Finally, Friday was here. The clock said 7:00 a.m. Well, early for them anyway! Dave was a night owl, and Joy, well, she didn’t mind being able to sleep in once in a while.


After praying and getting ready for work, Victoria finally woke up. They had breakfast together and Dave got ready to leave.


“I’ll talk to my boss today about getting some time off” he promised, “but I wouldn’t hold my breath.” He shook his head. “I’m telling ya, I feel like they have it in for me!”


Joy put her arms around his neck and lifted her head up for a goodbye kiss. She knew that this whole job thing was getting to him.


“Remember that no matter what, I love you!” She said. “I’ll be calling my Aunt Linda today and see if she wants me to go up there sooner. Would that be ok? I also need to call Marie and see when she and Roger will be arriving, so we can pick them up at the airport. Do you need anything from Mexico? I’ll be making up a list of things to ask Mom to bring. With the two minivans, that’s a lot of space!”


Dave laughed. “Sure,” he grinned, “tell them to get me some Rompope!” He opened to the door to the apartment. They kissed again, and he took off for work.


Joy smiled to herself. Rompope. Go figure he’d ask for that. Rompope was an alcoholic drink not too much unlike spiked Eggnog. They used it with vanilla ice cream for a special treat. She wrote it down on the list of things she had going. Let’s see… she now had tuna, jabon zote (a Mexican soap for washing clothes by hand), and some other things.


The phone rang. It was Marie.


“Aloha!” She said, her customary greeting.


“Hey, Marie, how are ya?” Joy said, as she plopped down on the chair.


“Hi, Aunt Marie!” Victoria called.


Joy laughed. Marie was one of Victoria’s favorite aunts. Well, she only had three of them, so that didn’t leave many! They talked for a while about Uncle James and Marie’s trip back to the States. She would be bringing more stuff, since she would be making this her furlough. They talked about her wedding plans, but she still wanted to get married in Africa.


They would be arriving in Minnesota on Tuesday, the 7th. Then everyone would go up to Duluth when the clan from Mexico arrived. They’d be tired, and maybe a little grumpy, but everyone was very excited for this opportunity to finally all be together.


After hanging up the phone, Joy called her Aunt Linda. She wasn’t able to talk to her long, but could hear relief in her voice. They talked often on the phone, and had grown close over the last two years. Aunt Linda was a great inspiration to Joy. She was a great gardener, canner, and excellent at preserving foods in one form or another. Joy had learned a lot from her, to the point that you could say she could do it blindfolded.


“No, honey, you don’t need to come up now,” she said. “All my kids are here with their families, so we are a little crowded, anyway. It’ll be good to see you in Duluth. Is Dave able to get the week off of work?” she asked.


“I don’t know yet,” Joy answered. “I sure hope so, it would be really sad if he had to miss all of this.”


“Any more thoughts about moving up here?” Aunt Lin asked. They had talked about it several times. Dave and Joy would love to move away from the cities, but for now, that’s where there was work. Now with Uncle James dying, it would maybe not happen. Who knows if Aunt Linda was going to stay in the area, or move to California to be closer to her siblings. It was they who first talked to Dave and Joy about preparing. At first, Joy blew it off, but after talking to Dave about it some, he agreed, and said that Uncle James was right. He really wanted him not to be, but he’d hate to get caught unprepared and unable to care for his family. So they prepared. To the best of their ability, anyway. Dave had taken some classes that would help them no matter what happened. The good thing was that he had been able to apply them at work, and practice. He was now a very skilled carpenter, a good plumber, and a so-so electrician. Joy had also taken courses. She learned how to sew, knit and crochet, make rugs, pottery, and other essential things that could prove helpful if things kept going the way they were going.


Joy ended the conversation with her aunt and started to clean the apartment, getting it ready for next week. Victoria was going to have to be on vacation from school. This would give Joy a chance to go through all the homeschooling materials that they had just gotten on the day before. Dave and Joy had decided to buy the entire curriculum for Victoria’s schooling. All together it had cost them over $2000, but considering that it went from preschool through high school, they thought it was a pretty good deal. They realized some things were going to be outdated by the time she got to high school, but Joy figured they’d be able to update it then. Also, this curriculum was one that you could teach kids of different ages all at once. They only had Victoria, but were really hoping to have more kids. Soon. Victoria would be five this year, and that was more time between the kids than they had wanted.


After lunch, Joy asked Victoria to go play in her room. She sat down at the computer to check email and to read some of her favorite online books. There was an email from her Aunt Sue in Oregon. It read:


Hi Joy! Just a quick note as my granddaughter is begging to go out to play. Fred’s business is growing a lot, and he wondered if Dave was still interested in proofreading books. He could work on his own time, and we’d make sure that he would be fairly compensated. What we have been doing recently is just paying a yearly salary and then expecting our employees to read a certain number of books a year. We would not be able to provide an office, but would help pay for some of the expenses for one if he needed one. Obviously, he could just do it from home. The pay isn’t much, $45,000 a year, and you’d be responsible for taxes. You had mentioned that Dave was interested, so I thought I’d ask. Also, because this is you and we trust you, we would pay you a year in advance. The number of books we expect him to proofread is 24. That’s about two per month. If he finishes more and he wants more work, we’ll send him more, and we’ll pay him extra for it. It sure helps us a lot, and hopefully it’s a good deal for you, too.

Unfortunately, I do need a response pretty soon.

Let me know as soon as you can, ok? You can email me back, or call me at (555) 555-5555. Love you, honey.

Say hi to Dave and little redhead Victoria for me.


Love, Aunt Sue and Uncle Fred



Joy grabbed her cell phone and called Dave.


“Honey, can you come home real quick? I really need to talk to you.” Joy knew that the excitement in her voice could be heard.


“Why, what’s up?” Dave asked, as Joy heard the front door open. She jumped up out of her chair and ran to the door.


“Dave, come see this email! Where you right here, or what?” she asked, holding his hand and heading back towards the computer.


“Yeah, I was coming home to get something to eat. I’m starving!” He sat at the computer. “This one? From your Aunt Sue?”


Joy nodded. She went to the kitchen while Dave read the email and prepared him a sandwich and some fresh veggies. She poured him a glass of cold water and set it all at the table. Dave came to the table after printing out the email.


“Fresh bread?” he asked, after bowing his head and saying thanks.


“Yup, made it yesterday before I went shopping. What do you think about the job?”


Dave nodded his head slowly. He was not one that made decisions irrationally, and Joy was afraid he’d say no, just because he didn’t have enough time to process the offer.


“If I take this offer, can I quit my job today? I’m so sick and tired of working here.” Dave looked serious. Joy wasn’t sure what to say.


“By the way, I didn’t get the time off to go to the funeral. If I quit today and ask for my two weeks of vacation, then maybe I can actually go. What do you think?”


Joy couldn’t believe he was serious. She knew that he was getting desperate, but not quite this much!


“Are you sure?” Joy asked, searching his eyes for any clue of his joking.


“Yup,” he responded, “I sure am. Why don’t we pray? If by this evening we don’t feel sure one way or another, we’ll have to think longer about it and maybe it isn’t for us. Man, it pays more than I make now! And we’d be able to live wherever we want! You’d be able to have that garden you keep talking about…” his voice trailed off.


He leaned over and took Joy’s hands in his. They bowed their heads together and prayed that the Lord would make it clear to them if this is what He wanted them to do. When they were done, Dave took his plate to the kitchen and rinsed it off. He went to Victoria’s room and gave her a big hug and kiss.


“Daddy has to go back to work now, ok?” he said softly into her ear.


“Again?” she asked.


“Yeah…” Joy could tell by Dave’s voice that Dave was thinking how nice it’d be to not have to.


Dave left for work again, asking Joy to make a few phone calls. He wanted to make sure that he didn’t make such a big job change without others’ input. People who were important in their lives, like their parents, their Pastor, and their best friends with whom they prayed, and played, with regularly.


So Joy did. And the answers were unanimous. Go for it. So Joy called Dave back on the cell phone and told him what everyone thought. She told him she agreed. Dave sounded relieved. He said he would talk to his boss right away.


Joy hung up the phone and let out a little yelp. She sat down to the computer and responded to the email her Aunt sent. Then she called her and said that Dave would accept the job. Her Aunt was very pleased, and said that tonight when Dave got home they could work out the details.


Joy got supper ready and in the oven, and then sat down for a little bit on the couch to catch her breath. She turned on the news to see what was going on. Wow. Things were really going bad. Just since yesterday, things with China had gone bad to worse. At the border the Minutemen Project that had been going on since April had caught two vans full of illegals crossing into the States. But they weren’t Mexican. They were Chinese. Their vans were full of weapons, ones that Joy had never even heard of. She checked her watch. 4:59 p.m. Her Mom and Dad, sister and family should be across the border by now. She hoped, anyway. She called the family that her parents usually stayed with at the border.


“Hello, Smith’s” Joy’s mom answered the phone.


“Mom! You made it across the border!” Joy said, relief flooding her voice.


“Hi, hon. Yes, we all decided to leave last night, since we were able to hurry and get everything ready. We were even able to get the stuff you asked for.”


“How did you know what to bring me? I didn’t get to tell you.” Joy wondered.


“Well, honey, you always ask for the same thing.” She laughed. “Tell Dave we have some Rompope for him, too”.


Joy smiled. He’d be very happy. They talked for a while about the new job and even though Liz was excited, Joy could tell there was something wrong.


“Are you ok, Mom?” Joy asked.


“Oh, yeah. It’s just that…” Liz paused.


“What?” Joy pressed.


“Well, the closer we got to the border, the more army vehicles we saw. They were Mexican army vehicles. That’s normal, but usually they have just teenagers manning the drug stops. This time it was older men, with a bunch of Asian-looking guys. They hardly even looked at our stuff. And believe me, we are bringing lots of stuff! It’s like they didn’t care, like they were putting up a front. And they weren’t speaking Spanish, either. Well, maybe some broken Spanish. Your Dad thought it sounded like they were speaking Chinese”.






Joy told her Mom about what she had just heard in the news. Her Mom related about other odd things, inconsistent with the way things where done in Mexico. There was a particular hate look towards them, but not at Joy’s brother-in-law, who was a Mexican.


“Juan thought that they were speaking Korean. So who knows, Dad could be wrong. I’m just glad that we were able to get through ok. There was a lot of commotion at the border. Some Mexicans weren’t being allowed in, even though they had their papers in order. They let Juan in because of Ann. They said that if he had come alone they wouldn’t have let him in. And it wasn’t the Americans not letting him in. The problems were occurring on the Mexican side! They didn’t want to let him out!”


They talked for a while more and then hung up the phone. They were going to try and get up to Minnesota as fast as they possibly could, even having the kids drive. Leslie had her license, and Allen a permit. It was two more drivers, anyway! They would even try driving late into the night. They would try to be here by Sunday, or early Monday. That would give them a few days here with us, before going to Duluth.


Joy got busy. She called Victoria to come and help set the table just in time for Dave to come home for supper. They ate quietly and quickly not wanting to talk too many serious things in front of their little one. Dave’s spirits seemed high. He had a twinkle in his eyes. Joy’s, on the other hand were a little down. She was worried about what all the Chinese or Koreans, or from wherever they were, meant.


Dave played with Victoria as Joy cleaned up after supper. She loved hearing them play together. Finally, at 7:30 p.m. Joy gave Victoria a bath and after their family devotions and hugs and kisses all around, they put the little one to bed. Dave and Joy settled into their favorite spots in the living room. Joy was eager to hear about Dave’s talk with his boss, but also eager to watch more of the news.


Then the phone rang. It made them almost jump out of their skins. It was Marie again. She had to talk loud, as there was a lot of noise in the background.


“Joy? Hi, this is Marie. Listen, I don’t have much time; our plane is about to leave. We were told that there are only a few planes leaving for the States this week, so if we were to get there in time for the funeral we had to leave soon. We might have to get married in the States after all. They almost didn’t let Roger leave. They said that the only reason that he could leave is if we were going to get married there. We told them we would and thought that we can figure out what we are going to do later.” Her voice continued to get louder as the sounds behind grew.


“Marie? Are you guys ok? You sound flustered.” Joy stated, concerned.


“Yeah, we are ok, for now. I just want to get on the plane and leave. I wasn’t able to get as much done as I wanted, I’m tired, and now it seems like there is a lot of people complaining. They aren’t letting some of the Senegalese people leave the country and people are starting get angry. And loud. Oh! I gotta go, Roger says that they are boarding. I’ll call you when I get to the States, ok?”


“Ok. When do you arrive?” Joy asked. She hated not having any information.


“Early Sunday morning. About 7 a.m. or so. But I’ll call you and let you know for sure. Love you! Bye!” She really sounded scared. The yelling sounded like it was intensifying behind her.


“Bye, Marie! Love you! We’ll be praying for you.” Joy said, as quickly as she could.


“Thanks, we’ll need it. Bye!” Marie hung up.


Joy looked at Dave as she hung up and shook her head. “I’m not sure what to think!” She said, with worry in her voice. “Mom said that at the border they weren’t letting Mexicans across, and now Marie is saying that they aren’t letting Senegalese leave the country! Now I don’t know if she meant at all, or just to go to the States. She didn’t say.”


Dave let out a deep breath. “Well, we’ll just have to pray for them. It’s the best we can do. Do you want some good news for a change?” he said, his face lighting up.


“I’m sorry, of course I do. How did your day go?” Joy said, glad for the change of subject.


“I don’t work here anymore!” Dave said, holding his hand up for a high five. He recounted the events of the evening. Apparently his boss had been really mad and just read him the riot act. She had even sworn at him and told him where he could go. Joy wasn’t surprised. She seemed to be the kind of person that if things didn’t go her way, she’d blow a head gasket. What did surprise her is what Dave told her next.


“But guess what? All this happened in the back office. You know how it’s connected to the front office and you can hear everything?” he said, his voice rising with excitement.


“Yeah?” Joy responded cautiously, knowing that he sometimes liked to lead her into a story and then say “Well, that’s it,” just to make her react.


“Well, it turns out the owner, Senior, was in the front office. He must have arrived after I did, because I didn’t know he was there. I would have warned her to keep it down. He heard almost everything. He was not happy. Let me tell ya, I may have quit my job, well, she lost hers.”


“What do you mean, she lost hers?” Joy asked, almost not being able to believe it.


“Yeah, he fired her on the spot. He wondered if I was interested in suing the company over it. I told him ‘Of course not!’ and he shook my hand. ‘Good man,’ he said, ‘good man’. My boss left immediately, it looked as if she was humiliated, but Senior told everyone to let her go. He offered me to stay, under new management, and I told him ‘thanks, but no thanks’. He agreed to give me my two weeks vacation now instead of me giving a two-week notice. So I’ll still get paid for the next two weeks, but I don’t have to work. And, the best part….” he paused, wanting Joy to get the full impact of his words.


“Yes…” she asked, a little impatiently.


“He said we could use #210, that three bedroom apartment on second floor, and the corporate apartment to house your family while they are here. I think he was just glad that I wasn’t going to sue him that this was cheap compared to what he could have ended up paying.”


Joy was shocked. “Really? Wow!”


“Yeah,” Dave replied, “but I told him it was only for a couple of weeks, right? I mean, I can’t imagine that they’d be able to stay here any longer than that, with their work and stuff.”


Joy nodded. They talked a while more about what to do, and then turned on the news. Surprisingly enough, both Juan and Joy’s dad were right. The Border Patrol had also caught a truck full of illegals. These were from North Korea. So the Minutemen had caught some Chinese, and apparently there were also people from North Korea trying to get across. The government alphabet agencies were proud at what they had accomplished, and thought that they had things under control. They would be questioning the men and women that were trying to come across, and get to the bottom of this; they were sure of it.


In other news, small disturbances were breaking out around the world, as it seemed that flights from many different countries were being cancelled. The screen filled in with something taped earlier in the day.


“This was going to be my first time in America,” the young woman said in a thick accent. “Now they are telling us we cannot go! I worked hard for this! My family is waiting there for me. There is no future here for me! Why will they not let us on the airplane?”


Dave and Joy looked at each other. This woman was not from Senegal, or Mexico. She seemed Asian. There were other interviews of other places in the world, all of them with ‘minor’ disruptions to the flight schedule to the States. The news went on to say that the White House was looking into what could possibly be the reason for such a thing, but was naming it “a coincidence”.


“And now for our next story, do you know why men bald more than women do? Stay tuned to find out…” Dave tuned them out.


“This doesn’t sound good at all,” Dave said with the most interest Joy had seen in the story. She had been trying to keep up with it all day, and it seemed as though something was definitely up, and it was not ‘coincidence’.


“Do you think we should do something about it?” Joy asked, wondering what they could possibly do at this time of the night.


Dave nodded his head slowly. This usually meant yes, but let me think about it for a second and let me figure something out. They had enough water and food stored for two, three months tops. But that was for two adults, possibly three and a child. They had some camping equipment that they could use for cooking if the lights did go out, since they had an electric stove. But no protection of firearms, no knowledge of how to use them, and no permit to even get one.


“What time is it? Hand me the phone would ya?” Dave said as he looked up a phone number. “I’m going to call Senior and ask him if it’s ok if we put stuff in the apartments now. With your family coming we are going to need a ton of food anyway, and…” He wasn’t able to finish as the phone rang again.


“Hello?” Dave answered, almost dropping the phone.


Dave looked at Joy. “Hey, Fred, how is it going?”


Joy smiled. Dave has a new job, Dave has a new job… she thought to herself.


Dave and Joy’s uncle talked for quite a bit. Dave got their checking account and read it off to Fred over the phone.


“Are you sure about this?” Dave asked over the phone. “I’d be willing to be paid monthly as I do the work…” His voice trailed off as Joy could hear her uncle talking.


A few minutes later, Dave hung up the phone. “Well, this is exciting!” He took Joy into his arms. “By tomorrow morning, at the latest by tomorrow afternoon, we should be $45,000 richer!”


“What? They will pay it now, before you do the work?” Joy asked, not being able to believe it.


Dave explained their motives behind it, and it was mainly to help Dave and Joy out. They saw how things were starting to go south. Fred had told Dave that he could use the money as he saw fit to prepare, and that if nothing happened, then he’d still be able to work. The salary was considered part-time since they also had to pay people in California the same amount, and the dollar didn’t stretch as far there. Good thing it would in Minnesota!


They decided that the two of them would go shopping tomorrow. Take both vehicles, an old Chevy and the minivan, and possibly split and conquer. Dave would take some time tonight to print some information off the internet, and Joy would make sure that their BOB’s were ready to go. They sure hoped they wouldn’t need them. Not with Joy’s family coming.


The phone rang again. Joy looked at her watch. 11:00p.m. Who could be calling this late at night?


“Hello?” Dave answered.


Dave looked at Joy and mouthed, “It’s your Mom”. “No, no, we were just now going to get to bed. Where are you?” There was a long pause as Liz answered. “Wow. You gotta be kidding. Things are getting that bad?” Dave looked at Joy, a confused look in his eyes. “Ok, sounds good. We’ll keep a lookout for you then. Drive safely and stay awake! Love you, too,” he blushed. “Bye.”


Joy smiled. “You actually told my Mom you loved her? I mean, I know you do, but you told her?” She grinned as she saw his face turn a deeper pink.


“Yeah, well, after what I just heard, you would have, too. She said that they left the border tonight wanting to get up here as soon as possible. Things aren’t going the greatest there. She said that they heard shots and a lot of yelling. She said that they thought that riots were starting to break out from people not being able to get into the States.”






Dave and Joy went to bed and fell asleep in each other’s arms. Joy had a tough time sleeping. Things were changing way too fast. At about four thirty the phone started to ring.


Dave shot up straight out of bed and started pounding on the alarm clock.


Joy reached out to her lamp and turned it on. “It’s the phone, Dave,” she said, half awake. She reached around him and got the cordless.


“Hello?” she said, trying to sound as awake as she could.


“Joy? I’m sorry to wake you, I know it’s really early there, but I had to call you.” Marie said. It sounded like she was talking through a wind tunnel.


“Marie? Where are you? Were you able to leave Senegal? Are you ok?” Joy asked, sitting up in bed.


“We’re fine. A little shook up, but fine. We’re in Portugal”.


“Oh, are you in a hotel?” Joy asked. She knew that Portugal was the country that her sister usually had a twelve-hour layover in. The airline usually provided some money towards a hotel where she could rest and take a shower before her last leg of the trip either to, or from the States. She wondered how they had managed that. Joy knew her sister was a virgin even at 34 years of age, and intended on being so until she got married. She trusted them to sleep in the same room together, and for Roger to keep his hands to himself, but Joy’s dad had always taught them to remember the appearance of evil. She doubted very much that Marie and Roger had slept in the same room.


“No, we are at the airport. We are just getting ready to leave again.”


Well, that answered that, Joy thought. She sat up further in bed. “What do you mean? Don’t you usually have a layover there?” she asked, still a little confused.


“Yeah, well, things are really different this time. I have no idea what is going on, but rules have changed since the last time I was through here, and that was only a year ago! As soon as we got off the plane, they started asking me where I was going. When I told them that I was heading back to the States, they sent me directly to the ticket counter. I tried to get a hotel room, but they insisted that we had to leave right away. We even told them that one room would be fine, that we would pay for the second one, but they wouldn’t budge. So now we will be leaving at about 5:00 am, and arriving in Newark at noon or so. Then we should be getting into Minneapolis at about 6:55 pm. Can you pick us up?” Marie sounded exhausted. Joy knew she counted on having that twelve-hour layover there to recoup and get rested up. But now it seemed as though we were going to get a grumpy and tired Marie. Well, at least Roger would get to see her at her worst, and know what he was in for.


They finalized the details and hung up the phone. Joy wondered if people were being allowed to leave Portugal, and Marie said she wasn’t sure. There weren’t too many people there at this time in the morning, and those that were there seemed to be fine. The ones that were there seemed happy enough. One thing that was odd, though, was that they offered to send Roger back to Africa. He insisted that no, he wanted to be with Marie, so they let him go.


Joy looked at Dave, who was still awake. “Man, I’m not sure what to think about this,” she whispered, trying to keep things down in order not to wake Victoria.


Joy recounted her conversation with Marie, and Dave was quiet for a while. Joy knew he was thinking, and then he sat up in bed.


“Well, I’m not sure there is any time to lose,” he said rubbing his eyes.


“What do you mean?” Joy asked, afraid she already knew the answer.


Dave got up and started getting dressed. Joy looked at the time. It was barely 5:00 am. “What are you doing?” she asked, a little confused.


“I think we need to get up. I’m going to go to the store, maybe Wal-Mart and Target and buy some stuff. I’m not entirely sure what, but I’m sure once I’m there I can figure out some stuff. You stay here with Victoria and let her sleep. Then later we can all go to Costco and buy some stuff there. While I’m gone, maybe you can make a list of important things to take if we had to just leave here. Maybe even get them together and put them in a pile. Also, since I don’t work here anymore, Senior said we could turn in our master keys when your family leaves, that way we can just use those for the apartments. He also said that we were still free to get things from the ‘Freebie’ room. When Victoria wakes up, go check it and see if there are any winter jackets left. I’d better get going. This is going to be a long day.”


Dave looked like he had grown older over night. His face had worry lines that Joy had not seen in a long time. She wasn’t sure what to think. She pulled out a notebook and started to write a list of what she thought they’d need if they had to leave, while Dave got ready to go. Things they had, and things they’d need. Where to potentially be able to buy them. Worst-case scenario. What was the worst-case scenario? She went to the bathroom were Dave was brushing his teeth.


“What kind of things should we put on the list?” Joy wondered.


“Ar or krowr” he replied.


Joy smiled. She should have known better. She laughed softly. When Dave was done, they went back into their bedroom to talk and finalize some things.


“Well, I’m guessing lots of camping equipment and stuff like that. Of course, food. Write down the names of all the people that are going to be here, and see if you can find out how much of what we would need to survive for three to four months. Six, if possible. Things should settle down by then, and we can figure out what to do. If your parents and sisters go back home, then I guess we will be set for a long time! Make sure you write down stuff like sleeping bags and camping stuff like that. Remember that stove we saw at Costco? We can see if they have any left and get one or two of those. If we never use them, we can always take them back. I plan on leaving things in packages and keeping receipts in case we never use them. Then we can at least take the stuff back and get our money back. But I don’t know. I have a bad feeling about this.” Dave shook his head and his eyes darkened. “I’m not sure what’s going on, but I don’t like it.”


Dave took off, with a partial list that Joy had been able to put together. Joy busied her self gathering things that they would want to take with them, and not knowing what space they would be able to have or what vehicle to move it to or where, she put things into groups of emergency, nice to have, and luxury items. She made sure that the homeschooling stuff they had just received was in the emergency pile. No getting out of school for the little one! She got on the Internet and ordered some things from Lehman’s and had them shipped priority mail. She wasn’t sure if they’d arrive in time or not, but figured that she could at least try.


At about 7:30 am the phone rang. This time it was Liz.


“Hi honey! Did I wake you?” She sounded tired.


“Hi Mom! No, we’ve been up since 4:30 this morning. Marie called.” Joy related the conversation with Marie to Liz.


“Well, I guess we may be arriving at the same time! We traveled all night. We are in Kansas City now, and should be in Minneapolis some time late this afternoon. We are going to rest here a bit and then take off. Have you seen the news lately?” Liz asked.


“No, not since last night. Any changes?” Joy wondered if she should watch some news.


“Well, they are just saying that a lot of flights are being cancelled, and that people are not being allowed into the States for some reason. Some form of boycott, or something like that. That’s why Juan was having so many problems getting across, and Roger, too. Good thing they are coming. At least they can be together until things calm down enough. I sure hope Juan can still have his job when he gets back!”


They talked a bit more, and then agreed that if Joy and Dave were gone when they arrived, they would just wait at the door. If they arrived at the same time Marie and Roger did, then Dave and Joy would probably be at the airport.


Joy looked at the time just as Victoria started to call. She got breakfast for each of them and then called Dave.


“How’s it going?” she asked.


“Actually, not bad. I thought that there was going to be a ton of people out here, but there really isn’t. Makes me a little nervous, but things really seem to be fine. I had breakfast at McDonald’s, and then went to Wal-Mart. They were stocked up with a ton of camping gear, so I bought a bunch of stuff. The check out guy wondered if I was a Scouts leader or something, and I just told him that I was going to go camping with the family. He really didn’t seem to care, so I didn’t offer any more information. But get this. There were a couple of guys sitting at the table behind me at McDonald’s, and they were talking about all that was going on. The one didn’t seem to think that it was that big a deal, but the other one was talking about heading to warmer climate in case the stuff hits the fan.”


Joy shook her head. She related the stuff that she had talked to her mom about, and then they set a time for him to pick them up. Joy got as many things put away to make the place at least look decent for when her family came, and continued on her list of things to take. When Dave came, the three of them piled into the minivan. They headed to Costco, where they found a lot of people. Not unusual for a Saturday, though. They bought two big camping stoves, some tents, more iron cookware, and a bunch of food, water, and toilet paper.


Anything they could think of, they got. They each had their own cart, and they were both piled high.


“Dave, how are we going to pay for all this?” Joy asked him quietly.


“With the credit card,” he responded. “After we get the money from your uncle, we’ll pay it off”.


Joy nodded her head. They picked up extra underwear, socks, tin foil, anything they could think of that they could possibly need. Dave looked at his watch.


“It’s noon already. Can you keep shopping here? I’m going to go to the U-haul place a couple blocks down and rent a truck, ok? That way we can get as much as we want and then go to other places.” He leaned over to kiss her, nd then gave Victoria a hug.


They took their carts to the front and asked if they could stay there until Dave came back with the truck. The clerks agreed. Joy took another cart and kept shopping while Dave went to get the U-haul. This time she concentrated a little more on women needs. Not just for herself, but for her sisters and niece as well. Liz was past that stage, and Victoria was too young. Joy certainly hoped that by the time Victoria was at that stage things would be back to normal.


Dave called Joy and they met over in the canned goods section. They finished filling up the cart and then went and paid for everything. The clerk raised his eyebrows and whistled under his breath. One by one, they went through the items in the three carts. Joy looked at her watch. It was getting late.


She leaned close to Dave to talk. “Hon, it’s almost 2:00 pm and there are still places I want to go to. Should I go and take Victoria with me, and you can finish this up?”


Dave nodded his head slowly. She could tell he was thinking again. “Yeah. Go ahead. Call me and let me know where you are going to be. I’m thinking about getting some extra glasses, so maybe we can meet at the mall. I’ll give you a call when I’m done here.”


“Ok, come on Victoria, let’s go.” Victoria hugged her Daddy tight, and then Dave kissed Joy. “Bye, hon. I’ll see you later.”


“Bye,” he answered.


Joy got to the minivan and turned on the radio as she headed to the mall.


“It’s 2:00 o’clock. In today’s news the White House is continuing to deny that there is an alleged boycott to the United States. They are looking into the possibilities of why thousands of Americans are being sent back to the States. Countries as near as Mexico and Canada, and as far as Iraq and Philippines are sending back Americans by the thousands. International Airports are a mess in a lot of these countries, and the logistics of so many Americans having to come back to the States at once is daunting. Several countries are reporting riots in and near their airports, but say that the reasons for these riots have nothing to do with the fact that they are not letting their people come to the United States.”






(to be continued...)

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