Sandy Turner is the specialty publications editor for The Examiner. Reach her at or call 816-350-6314.

The phone rang Sunday morning and I knew it would be Dad, as he’s the only one I know who starts his weekends as soon as the sun comes up.

I have to decipher his daily dilemmas because not only does he talk in circles, that aren’t always round, he often blows them out of proportion or even worse, down plays emergencies. The only way to really know what’s going on, is to go see for myself.

Ordinary and routine keep Dad happy but what upsets him most is when something is disarray with his environment or his dog.

This time he gave me one sentence and hung up.

“Someone crashed into the wall and destroyed my backyard.”

The wall he was referring to lines his backyard and halfway down the block, separating residents from commercial property, as I grew up living behind the main fairway of Independence – Noland Road.

Before Noland became the “Miracle Mile” it was full of houses, with some of my best memories playing in the mounds of dirt when they came down. When the concrete wall eventually blocked us from our days of adventure, it made my parents happy because they wanted privacy from the action and noise of a business.

I expected to see a couple of concrete blocks lying on the ground. He wasn’t exaggerating, the entire wall was down and was strewn across his plants and yard. No one had crashed into the wall, although Dad was sure it was some sort of conspiracy from the business behind his home. It simply fell over after 35 years of standing.

It took two hours to get him calmed down, as I reassured him that they would clean up the mess and replace the wall so he could once again enjoy the privacy of his backyard with two mini windmills, half dozen bird feeders, two bird baths and several wind chimes.

When I need Dad to remember important stuff that may cause him to be anxious, I write it down in a special notebook that lies on his table. He knows to go there to find my phone number or the answer to questions that he may be worrying about.

The notebook tells him that “Meals on Wheels” will be bringing him lunch, reminders to water his indoor plants and that there is a sandwich in the fridge for dinner. Even though these things happen every day – when he gets upset – he forgets the routine.

I wrote with red ink that someone would be out soon to clean up the debris and replace the wall, although this time, the notebook isn’t working its magic.

He just called, worried that his dog will get hit by a car on Noland Road.

I was going to remind him that would be highly unlikely since he always takes the dog out on a leash, with the wall intact or not, but instead suggested that he give them a change of scenery and go to the front yard instead.

“That’s why you’re the general,” he said and hung up. I must have gotten a promotion because he usually calls me the colonel.