“Wait Daddy!”

A car was speeding by…

and my poppy was about to step into the street.  But now as he watched and waited for me, his head didn’t turn to look.  He always  protected me.  Others seemed to dislike my dad; I never understood why.  Unless of course it was his yelling and swearing that he seemed unable to control.  Poppy never swore or yelled at me nor at my friends, but I think because of rumors that he was an angry man, his fate was sealed.

He was never angry with me (he said) and I understood that, but still when he began ranting he couldn’t stop, for some wild reason, that even he was unsure of.  The times that happened of course, made me sad but no sadder than my daddy.  He grabbed onto me when he was done.  Only minutes had gone by, “Why did those times seem like hours?”  Poppy couldn’t stand to see me cry; and then I would hug him back and start joking with him until his smile returned, I love my Poppy.

The screeching of brakes and a sound that made my blood chill echoed through my ears .   Daddy was no longer in my view.  I pushed along fast as I could on my scooter but when I got there a crowd hovered over a still man.  The people were pointing and talking about the poor little girl who lived with him,  “What would she do now?” Of course I was that girl.  I was his daughter.  Steps away, I threw the scooter down and wondered why nobody was helping him instead of standing around ogling him?

“Don’t any of you know CPR,” I yelled!  I didn’t get a response.  I felt for a heartbeat and then for a pulse…ahh there was a strong pulse.  I lay my light jacket under Poppy’s head and tilted his head back. Then, I began the chest pumps and did those about thirty times inwardly praying.

I’ll bet that when Daddy got me these life-saving lessons he never thought it would be his life I would be attempting to save…”Hang in there Poppy!”  I couldn’t even see those surrounding us anymore, there was nobody there except, me and my poppy.  I heard murmuring but I thought that far away sound was bugs, not people.

With Daddy’s head tilted back I inhaled a big gasp of air and then touching his lips for the first time with mine, I pushed the air out of me and into him…I gasped for another double-load of air and blew into him…he started to vomit – so quickly I turned his head to the side and cleared all away while I readied myself for another life-giving breath to my dad…

I heard sirens, an ambulance had been called.  They rushed over with the stretcher and oxygen mask and other equipment and saluted me for my bravery, but I didn’t deserve any kudos.  This man is my poppy.  I am also ashamed of myself for my thoughts about the people who were there, for one of them called the ambulance.  Let that be a lesson to me…never accuse with my thoughts…

Steve Richie

Hi folks, Two lives in one lifetime. The first me, lived to age thirty-four. That Steve was overly confident and oozing with pride. Then, on a record heat-setting day (107º) here in the Twin Cities area of Minnesota and western Wisconsin, a one car near-fatal wreck left me in a two-month long coma. I emerged much as I was before minus certain physical capabilities, but my mind seemed mostly in tact. The crash and its effects did not change me (I emerged a happy individual) but the deeds perpetrated against me in the ensuing months from my wife of sixteen years scared and humbled me as I was dragged down with nothing left by my wife who now had guardianship over all of our accounts. And neither would she allow me to see our kids. She took everything out of, "Our" names and changed them to her name only; then would not allow me to our home and divorced me. I was angry, but no more. I spent half of 1988 and more than half of 1989 in hospitals, nursing homes and a three month stint at a head-injury rehab center where I was being taught how to re-enter society as this different person, that I didn't know. I was not able to return to my previous line of work, a self-employed decorator, you know, painting and paperhanging. It was a physical job which required much dexterity, finesse, and a good grasp of numbers. I returned to the beginning, school, but on a community college level. One of the instructor's liked my writing and I began focusing my attention on that. I attended classes at, "The Loft," A Place for Writers in Minneapolis. While there, a classmate of mine was having her friend from New York, a CBS executive, to her home for the holidays and asked me if she could do a critique on a couple chapters of a book I was writing, "A Day I'll Never Remember" and I obliged. When she returned to class the following Monday she told me that the exec wanted a ten-page synopsis of the book for a possible movie; I was excited. After obliging for that also, I never saw or heard from her or the guy from CBS. Next thing I knew I was watching a movie called, "Regarding Henry" starring Harrison Ford and the scenes of therapy were exactly like what I went through and had written about. Regarding Henry - could've been my story except that, "Henry" got his head injury from a gunshot and his wife stayed with him throughout the ordeal. Coincidence I'm sure, though, the therapy scenes entailed what I described in the book so I always wondered..... My hope, my dream is to bolster our income for my daughter and for myself. I am and have been raising this beautiful, talented little girl who was diagnosed with autism at age two, since 2006 singlehandedly. I divorced her mother the same year following complaints that I spent too much time with our daughter. However, Stephanie began school with no need for special education. She has been reading since age four and understanding what she'd read. Stephanie maintains straight "A's" on her report card, has published two books (through school) and has been selected as an, "Honors" student for seventh grade English. My ex moved to New York to be closer to her sister and has been remarried now for a number of years. Well, that's only a snippet of my sixty-one years and I would like to thank you for reading, thank you.

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