Sunday, June 28, 2009

Stories about June 28 and a heartwarming story about my hero, my daughter

Today is June 28. I really don’t like this date. Today I will tell about the bad things that have happened on this day and finally I will tell something good that happened this last week.

First of all, this was my Uncle Edward’s birthday. That’s the only thing good about this day. He was my dad’s older brother. He was a big man that had polio when he was young. He always wore braces to walk. I understand that he was a really good athlete before the polio. He always smoked a pipe. He was a smart man that made a business out of making braces for people. His handicap became his life’s work at helping others with the same or similar conditions.

Let’s go back to June 28, 1970. It was a Sunday, just like today. I had just graduated from high school and had started summer school at the University of Texas. All was good for me. On June 14, 1970, my grandparents, Pop and Grandma Cecil, came to our house and gave me my graduation present. It was a Bible. This was my dad’s father and stepmother. My dad’s mother died when he was a child. Grandma Cecil was Pop’s second wife, but the only grandmother I had on that side of the family and she acted like a grandma. I loved her dearly. She was good to me.

I am called Pop by my grandkids because of my Pop. He came to the United States as a young man from Sweden. He had a tough life, but he was very loving to his grandkids. He never lost his Swedish accent, so I really had to listen to him sometimes to understand him, but he was special to me. The day that I got my driver’s license; I drove across town to see Pop and Grandma Cecil. I spent the afternoon with them. He and I played dominos.

Now back to June 28, 1970. After church, Pop and Grandma Cecil headed out on a Sunday afternoon drive, just like they usually did. They had a small Nash Rambler with an add on air conditioner that was mounted underneath the dash. Common in those days. They were heading east on Hwy 183 and had just passed under the overpass at I-35. At the intersection, they were broad sided by an Austin Fire Truck on the way to a fire (turned out to be a false alarm). Grandma Cecil died at the scene and Pop died later at Brackenridge Hospital.

I had spent the afternoon out dove hunting with Guy Pannell. When we got back to the house, there were lots of people in the driveway and most were crying. I remember someone telling me what had happened while I sat in the car with Guy.

I was devastated and later on that night I saw my dad and it’s the first time I had ever seen the man cry. I didn’t know what to do and the next few days were very hard. The grandsons served as the pallbearers for the double funeral. Tough day.

Now, go forward to June 28, 1986. It was another Sunday. We had just got home from playing softball. My daughter, Christi, had made the All-Stars and we were playing. That afternoon, she was to go with her Aunt Brenda and Uncle Tommy to a family function. She left the house early in the afternoon.

I remember watching television and seeing that George Strait’s daughter had been killed in a car accident just a day or two before. While I was watching television, I got the phone call that no parent wants.

Mr. Hinderer, a man that lived on Fitzhugh Road about a mile and a half from our house called and said that there had been a car accident and that Christi had been involved in the wreck. As we were leaving, I called Carla’s mom and dad who lived in the neighborhood and told them. They actually beat us to the accident.

When we got to the accident scene there were emergency vehicles everywhere. There were two ambulances. Christi was sitting beside her Aunt Brenda and cleaning her face. Brenda had been driving. A young kid hit her head on while driving down the wrong side of the road. Brenda has cuts and scratches all over her face.

Christi seemed to be ok. Out of nowhere some lady,(this lady was an angel, no one ever saw her or knew who she was: Don't try to tell me that Angels don't exist) who said that she was a nurse, but just came up on the scene said that Christi needed to go to the hospital, that she was going into shock. Well, Christi was loaded into the ambulance and taken to Brackenridge Hospital. They put her on oxygen while in the ambulance and she quit showing signs of shock by the time we got to the hospital.

We all followed the ambulance to the hospital. As a coincidence, my sister who by 1986 had married Guy Pannell was at Brackenridge with Guy. He was in a room with back troubles. She was watching emergency vehicles come into the hospital and saw us come in.

The emergency room was crazy. We went back with Christi and she seemed to be ok. Carla’s mother had left her house in a small blue nightgown made out of the materials that towels are made of. She looked pretty silly there. While we were in the emergency room, a doctor came in and touched Christi’s stomach and announced that she needed to go into surgery right away. Carla and her mom wanted a second opinion, so the doctor left. Within 15 minutes, Christi was throwing her guts up. It was really bad. I have neglected to tell you that I am actually Christi’s step dad, but I have never felt that way. I have helped raise her since she was about 4 months old. She is my girl and always will be. But never the less, her biological dad showed up at the emergency room and made me leave. The nurses said that I had to go.

Well, that was ok, since I spent the next couple of hours finding a surgeon to do the surgery. Christi went into surgery late that Sunday night. She had a torn intestine from wearing a rear seat belt. I truly believe it would have been much worse if she had not had that seat belt on. I have religiously worn a seat belt since June 28, 1986.

Well, she spent the night and most of the next day in intensive care. Christi turned 13 in the hospital. Her birthday is July 3. She was most angry because her softball season was over.

Well that’s my June 28 stories.

Christi is a very special person. People are drawn to her. She can accomplish anything that she decides that she really wants. Like most gifted people, she doesn’t understand the gift that she has. She sometimes tries to run away from it, but most of the time, it just shows up when not expected.

This happened last week. Christi is a teacher. She is also a coach. But last week, she was teaching vacation bible school at the church she attends. It is a large Methodist Church. They had over 1000 kids in vacation bible school. Christi was teaching 2nd grade boys and girls.

I think it was last Wednesday that it happened. Vacation Bible School was over for the day and she was walking to get Willie and Emma. She noticed a crowd gathering around a lady that was pounding on the back of a small boy, around 3 or 4. The boy was choking. She went in closer to look and the mother of the little boy grabbed him and turned him upside down and was shaking him to get him to spit up whatever he was choking on.

Christi kicked in. As a teacher she is well trained in first aid. She went over to the woman and told her to give him to her. She had caught the little boy’s glance and he was about to pass out. His eyes were rolling back in his head. She took the little boy and turned him back up and sat him on her lap with his back to her chest. She then performed the Heimlich procedure on the little boy. On the second attempt, a lifesaver spit across the room from his mouth and he was able to breath. The little boy started crying and threw up on Christi’s back.

The mother grabbed the boy and asked Christi how she did it. I am telling you Christi has that intangible spirit that kicks in when needed. I told her after she had told me this story, that I would go into battle with her by my side anytime. Oh, by the way, we both collapse after it’s over. But during the battle, Christi will fight to the end.

I am so proud to call her my daughter and love her with all my heart. She is something special and I needed something good to happen before June 28.