Quincy turned to his partner and pointed West on Market Street. They had just arrived in response to a call about an elderly gentleman with Alzheimer’s who’d wandered off from the bench where he’d been sitting in the park.
“You cover where he was last seen and West of there,” he told his partner, Jim. “It’s possible he’s wandered back home again. He could have detoured down one of the side streets and looped around behind us.”
Jim nodded and set off. Quincy turned to the son-in-law.
“Why don’t you come with me, sir?” he asked. “He might respond better to someone he knows.”
“Should I come, too?” the daughter asked, as she wiped at her tears with a tissue.
“I think you should wait here for now, ma’am,” he said, calmly and politely, “We’ll find him for you.”
Quincy set off with the son-in-law.
“What is your name, sir?” he asked.
“David. David Crowley,” the man said.
“Tell me about your father-in-law, Mr. Crowley,” Quincy said, as he checked the door on the front of a closed bookstore. It was locked up for the night.
“He’s a great old guy,” David said, “He’s lived here his entire life. He used to run the hardware store.”
“The hardware store?” Quincy asked, checking the alley between two shops. “I’m relatively new to the area. I don’t remember a hardware store.”
“It used to be on Elm,” David said, “They tore it down a few years back to put in the supermarket. Wait! You don’t think … ?”
“It’s a very real possibility,” Quincy said, “Dementia patients sometimes live in the past. He may have gone looking for his store. Come on, let’s go check it out.”
They walked the remaining three blocks to Elm and turned North. They were a short ways down Elm when David began to run.
“Barney! Dad!” he cried, as he ran up to the older man.
Barney was pacing up and down at the edge of the supermarket parking lot. Thankfully, he was not near the driveway area where the cars were turning in and out.
“Dad,” David said, gently taking his arm to stop the pacing, “Dad, it’s okay. It’s David.”
“My store,” Barney said, in a bewildered tone. He looked like he was going to cry.
“It’s okay, Dad,” David said, “You closed your store several years ago. Do you remember?”
Barney looked at the supermarket and stood watching the customers coming and going.
“Are you okay, sir?” Quincy asked, “You’ve had a little adventure, but it’s time to go home now.”
He turned to radio the good news to his partner and the stationhouse as David continued to talk soothingly to Barney.
Barney gradually began to accept the fact that the hardware store was gone, and he turned to begin the walk back with Quincy and David to where they’d left the patrol car. They were about a block and a half away when Chloe spotted them and came running to wrap her father up in a big hug.
“Oh, Dad,” she cried.
Barney patted her on the back and looked at David in confusion.
“It’s okay, Dad,” he said, “We can go home now.” He turned to Quincy. “Do you need anything else from us?”
“No, sir, we’re all set,” Quincy assured them. “Please try to keep a closer watch on him for his own safety, that’s all.”
He nodded to Jim, and they both climbed back in their patrol car together to drive off.
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