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The raspy voice on the phone spoke slowly: “Mrs. Jensvold, this is Sergeant Riley from the Phoenix Police Force.”

Oh Lord, what has my son done this time? A cold sweat beaded on my forehead as I groped for a chair. My knees were about to buckle under me. My stomach immediately felt that all too familiar sickness. It was like having ten thousand worms squirming inside. My heart throbbed as my mind flashed back to a similar call almost ten years earlier.

I remember the officer that evening telling me that my son was in the “holding tank,” but we could not see him. In my mind I envisioned a dark, rat-infested room. This was my baby, so timid and compassionate that surely he would be mugged by morning. I cried to God that night asking for an answer to what was happening.

Then there was the court hearing, and again I was allowed to view him only on a TV camera while the reporters had their way. Fortunately the judge was easy on him since he had no previous record. But, oh, the pain in my gut when I could not run over and hold this precious little boy in my arms and kiss his wounds.

Later, when he was released and got to come home, there were the media holding me and our family hostages as we could not go outside without their running to shove a microphone in our face. I wanted to scream and chase them. I wanted to tear their eyes out with my fingernails.

Tears filled my eyes when the helicopters hovered overhead. Fear gripped me like never before. At that time I begged and pleaded for God to intervene and take it all away. Just let it be a bad dream. But it seemed whenever I begged God to help he would turn his face from me.

So as I stood there with the phone in my hand I panicked at the thought of having to go through the whole ordeal again. I can’t do it. It just is not fair. Why? Why? Why me?

I wanted to scream and yell and cry. I wanted to run away. The tears were choking me as I tried to compose myself as I really wanted to slam down the receiver.

However, I managed to grab hold of my emotions, and I listened as the voice continued to speak in a tone meant to be soothing, “Would you be interested in contributing to our Phoenix Children’s Christmas fund?”

Patricia Jensvold

Born and educated in rural Iowa, Pat Jensvold attended Iowa State Teachers College and taught lower elementary grades.

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