See you in 20 minutes…

My Hippy would always tell me that he would see me in 20 minutes even if he was an hour across town.  I have absolutely no idea why but my Aunt Rhonda also would say the same thing to my step-sister/cousin Rachel so maybe it was a Shepherd thing!  When I was 7 or 8, Debbie and Niki shared a very small apartment in Northwest Houston.  I lived with my dad and step-monster in Southwest Houston which was about an hour from Debbie and Niki.  One weekend my Hippy had dropped me off at Debbie’s so I could spend time with her and Niki.  Niki had a small room off of the living room with a Jack and Jill style bathroom with Debbie.  If Debbie had a boyfriend I would sleep either on the couch or on Niki’s floor but on this occasion I was able to share a bed with Debbie.  Sometime in the late evening I woke up (no idea what woke me either) and I couldn’t find Debbie anywhere.  I walked the entire apartment and like I said it was small so I should have found her.  I was scared so I called my dad (luckily I knew my home phone number).  My dad answered the phone and I told him I couldn’t find Debbie (this just seemed crazy to him so he told me to put the phone down and go look around and report back).  I did as I was told and unknown to me he was quickly getting dressed.  I came back to the phone (1985 or so we did not have a cordless phone) and told him Niki was asleep in her crib but Debbie was not home.  He told me to hang up and wait for him on the couch and to ONLY answer when he knocked and gave me the password.  He hung up after saying “I will be there in 20 minutes” (now we all know that was a lie as he was an hour away) but regardless I did what I was told. Some time later I heard the knock on the door and he said the password.  I remember opening the door and either I was loud or he was loud but at this moment Niki woke up crying.  Thank goodness she waited for him to arrive too as I could not have helped her since she was in her crib and I could’t get her out at that age.  My dad locks the door and goes to pick-up Niki.  He asks me to show him where Debbie kept the bottles and he tended to Niki.  He settled Niki back in her crib and he sent me to Debbie’s room to go back to sleep.  Years later he told me that after he made sure both Niki and I were asleep he turned off all the lights and waited for Debbie to arrive.  Debbie was working at a strip-club and didn’t want my dad to know so she simply didn’t tell him when he called that morning to say he was going to bring me by.  Once daylight came my dad woke me up and told me to say goodbye to Debbie and Niki and we left.  I did not spend the night with Debbie again for about 4 years.  In fact, it was Debbie’s next husband (aka my last step-dad) Danny that insisted on reaching out to my dad to mend fences so I could see Debbie and Niki.  I remember the three of them coming to our house and Danny talking to my dad (he and Debbie had only been dating a short while).  My dad allowed me to leave with Danny and he made it VERY clear that I was left in Danny’s care and not Debbie’s.  My Hippy and Papa Dale even went to Danny’s bachelor party and I was a bridesmaid in their wedding.  Danny and Debbie divorced about 9 years later and to this day Danny and I are close!  My dad has always had fond things to say about Danny as well!

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