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Chapter Twenty-five
Coming ATTRACTions

"Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ."
~ Galatians 6:2 ~

"Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; and them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body."
~ Hebrews 13:3 ~

The fact that just a few days before, Charlie's father had wandered from home in the dead of night, made Charlie an oddity in the eyes of her classmates. None of their fathers had ever been the cause of a manhunt! The pupils at Galilee who didn't completely avoid her, and remembered God's admonition to bear one another's burdens, didn't know what to say to Charlie, or how to act around her. They gave the teenager kind smiles and sympathetic glances, but none of them really understood what Chuck or his daughter were going through.

Some of the students still thought Alzheimer's was contagious, and deemed it best to pray for the Overholt's from a safe distance. The general lack of understanding concerning this disease prompted Principal Strickland to post a flyer on the bulletin board in the Main Hall, explaining the facts. To the general relief of the students, Alzheimer's Disease was not contagious. She was still different, but Charlie was more or less accepted as one of them.

Life seemed to gradually improve for Chuck. He no longer had violent reactions to his medication, (his night wanderings had nothing to do with this), and now only needed occasional help getting dressed. On some days, he almost forgot he was sick, and on other days, it was all to obvious. But, on the whole, Chuck was slowly learning to adapt to his situation.

Chuck wasn't the only one. Some days after Chuck's night adventure, Charlie nailed a stop sign on the inside of their front door. As if it wasn't bad enough, she hung drapes over the door, just as the doctor had suggested. It was the finishing touch. The door was completely disguised.

"Do you really think this is necessary?" asked Chuck, embarrassed that such drastic measures had to be taken because of him. "Don't you think it looks a little bizarre?"

"I don't care how odd it looks," replied Charlie, "I'm going to do everything within my power not to repeat that night!"

From that day on, she and her father began to take a long walk before bedtime, so that he would be tired and less likely to wander. Chuck enjoyed these walks, and soon looked forward to them. In the evenings, Twin Yucca was peaceful. This time of day suited Chuck very well. When dusk fell, the serenity of the Mojave Desert swallowed the small city, reclaiming it to the still of the night.

Chuck and Charlie's evening strolls inevitably ended at Adam's house, where they spent the rest of the evening sitting in outdoor chairs in the backyard next to the garden, talking about their day. Chuck would talk extensively about his symptoms, while Adam listened attentively. Then they exchanged short passages of Scripture they had learned, and prayed for the success of the next day.

Most often, Charlie studied from a schoolbook next to the back door light, while night bugs flitted over her head. Occasionally, she dropped her homework and listened, thankful that her father had someplace to go that he looked forward to each day.

But nights were not the only time Charlie could be found in Adam's garden. The evenings may have been Chuck's, but the late afternoons were Charlie's. It was not odd to find Charlie and Maggie pulling weeds or other such chores in the garden, while Adam helped Chad with his homework under the shade of the tree. Adam insisted that it wasn't necessary for the girls to work in his garden, but Charlie was glad for the excuse to be near Adam. When Chad was done using Adam's time, Charlie would quit her work, and sit under the tree and enjoy his fellowship.

continued on next page...
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