Part VIII: Can You Hear Me Now?

Susan McCorkindale


Photo by Nijwam Swargiary on Unsplash

As it turns out, Brian Kelmar, the man I emailed after Mr. Google and I found him, is as much a mensch as Bob Sweeney is.

I’m in the car with my dear friend Sandra, the one who couldn’t get in the house to take care of the cats (what cats?!) until Bob climbed onto the deck with a ladder, got in, fed them and then wisely left the door open so a) Sandra could get in and care for the little buggers on a daily basis because of course she has nothing else to do, and b) so I could get in once I arrived. We’re on our way from Dulles Airport to Warrenton, our conversation laced with “These fucking kids” and “What were we thinking?” and “Why didn’t anyone warn us?” and finally, “But would we have listened?”


These kids. They take and take until you’re The Giving Tree stump, letting them sit on the last of you and break what’s left of your back.

But I digress.

If you know anything about Northern Virginia, you know that the route from Dulles to Warrenton is pretty good in terms of a cell signal. But, should you be forced off 29 to detour into the Vint Hill section of Fauquier County (of which Warrenton is a part and which is pronounced, say it with me now, FAW-KEER) all bets are off. Really. If your car dies while you’re wandering, lost, through Brookside? All they’re gonna find is your body and a collection of stink bugs rotting in your glove compartment.

So yeah, the cell signal is spotty.

And that’s when Brian Kelmar calls me.

Poor Sandra. I’m trying to hear him and not sound like a crazy person who’s losing her mind over her kid, and she’s apologizing for the detour and the crappy connection while driving at the speed of light to get us through the “Can you hear me now?” portion of the program. On top of that, she’s narrating it all in her gorgeous German accented English. “I vill get us to the highvay!” and I don’t know what to do first. Cry because I can’t hear Brian Kelmar or hug Sandra because she loves me and my stupid kid so much.

But I’m doubly blessed on this connection-free ride. Sandra gets us to the highway and Brian Kelmar, despite us being cut off twice, hangs on, calls me back and says, praise God…