From left Judy, Teresa, Sue, Ricky, Lester, Beverly, Melinda, Debbie and Donna. this photo was taken Christmas Day 2009 at Teresa's house in Alvaton. It was cold out, and just getting them all looking the same way was a chore! But we managed.
And the story continues:
So, in January 1991 I started working in the Surgical Intensive Care Unit at Baptist Hospital in Nashville. We lived in Brentwood TN. Rick drove about half hour to 45 minutes south to Spring Hill to Saturn and I had a short commute to Nashville. I had to be at work at 6:30 am and he was on swing shift. We had a good day care though. I eventually inherited the charge nurse duties in the SICU after 3 years there. I enjoyed my job there and took it very seriously. In the fall of 1991 Rick heard about a farm in Wingfield that would be up for sale soon. He talked to me about it. We had previously purchased the small farm I grew up on in Stockholm. I was upset. He had promised to build us a house at the Stockholm place some day. Well, the day of the sale came and he bought the "old Miller place" as it was known around here. I was upset still--where was Wingfield anyway, he'd taken me there a time or two and I had no idea how to get there. Then some of the family would say something like I hear you're gonna be building in a couple of years I hear....funny I didn't know that! I'd believe them and say, well I thought we were going to build at Stockholm; they'd say, no you're going to sell that. Hum, they knew more than I did! I would ask Rick about that and he would say you know we haven't decided anything! I am a guppy, though until you give me a reason to doubt you, I believe what I'm told! Seems I still can't learn from that mistake!
So, in the spring of 1993 I think it was, I said "why don't we just sell the Stockholm farm since we're going to build in Wingfield anyway?" He didn't say anything then a cousin of mine who sells real estate some called us and people I've known all my life were asking him if he knew how to contact me to find out if we would sell that place. We did. Sometimes I do regret that. It is the place where I was raised! Don't get me wrong, I love where I live, I love my neighbors and I have made some of the best friends I have ever had here. Sandy and Kathy and many others have been there anytime through out the years. It was somewhere around late 1993 or early 1994 when Uncle Danny (Aunt Bonita's husband) asked Rick if he had any work for his nephew. David would be moving there and needed some work until he could find a job. May of 1994 we would be starting to build our house. We could use David's help. So, Rick would come up here and stay at my Mom's when he had a stretch off and he and David would clear land, dig ditches, haul trash, you name it they did it. The spring of 1994 we moved to Rick's grandparents house while our house was under construction. I drove to Nashville from Wingfield.....84 miles one way. Our babysitter was a neighbor, and she would turn on her porch light when she was ready for me to bring the kids. She was a wonderful lady. It has not been too long ago we lost her. One day Rick and David were in line at TSC getting PVC pipe to lay our water line. there was a neighbor's daughter working there. She looked at David, grinned and said, I know you, you are the one they call pretty boy! Well, that did it! The name stuck and Rick would remind him of it on occasion. One day David came in and said he had met a wonderful girl. He brought her by. They later married. Though we are no relation by blood, we say we are "outlaws together". Just after they laid the water and electric lines and covered the ditch David found another job. Our house was finished in December of 1994. I put up our first Christmas tree in our new house while Rick and some people moved us in on December 18.
May 26, 1996
This was a day we will never forget. About 5:00 am Rick and 5 year old Nick were going fishing. They had set out trot lines the evening before and they needed running. Since it was Sunday and I was off, normally I would have gone back to sleep after they left but that morning, I got up and got dressed. Something was not right. I also got Valarie up. She wasn't happy but she got up anyway. A little before 6 the phone rang. Cold chills went over me. It was Sandy Childress at the Minit Mart in Brownsville. She said don't panic, but there has been an accident. I panicked!!! She said calm down, Rick is on his way home, Nick is hurt but he's OK he just needs to go to the ER! I called my mom and told her to come to the ER, I didn't know what but come! I was waiting for them at the end of Cline Road. It wasn't too long until I saw Rick's truck coming down the road with an empty boat trailer behind it. He was flying. My heart was in my throat! He got to me, I saw Nick sitting up. He said "Nick's hurt take him I have to lay down!" Nick told me the story on the way to the hospital. He had been holding the rope to the boat as they launched into the river, the current was pulling him in and he wouldn't let go. Rick had shoved the truck into park, and jumped out to help, but as he jumped out, the truck jumped out of gear just as the boat pulled Nick under the truck between the front and back wheels. He was completely submerged. He was able to stick up one hand out of the water so Rick knew where to find him. He was lying head downhill with the front tires of that Chevy Silverado 1500 4 x 4 resting between his little legs. HE was keeping the truck from rolling into the water. Rick tried to push the truck off him to no avail. He was forced to put the truck in drive and try to move it a little to get it off him before he drowned. Rick was screaming for help the whole time. The camp ground was full but it was misting rain and no one came to help. Funny how they could all tell the park ranger what had happened! Anyway, Rick had to use the four wheel drive to get the truck to move. The friction from the tires tore Nick's skin on his knees, caused friction burns and shredded his clothes. We got to the ER and they told me I had to go out front. I looked at the nurse and I said "I don't think so!" She said you have to register him. I said NO! I am not leaving my son! Jean Johnson was a nurse in the ER who I had worked for in the 80's for a few months before we moved to MA. She told the nurse to leave me alone. GO Jean! Nick was not seriously injured. We were afraid his pelvis was hurt from the tires, he had a CAT scan, everything was fine, he just needed stitches. That is a whole chapter in itself. Don't get me started Dr. Ponytail! OOOOOh! He sewed up a small child using running silk sutures instead of interrupted sutures. What's the difference? A lot when you have to remove 6 inches of stitches and it is running instead of several to cut! Anyway, from the way it was sutured it had such an ugly scar that he had to have reconstruction later that year. He still has a huge scar, but it is small compared to what it was then!
Nick told me on the way home that he knew he would be OK and not to breathe and that Daddy would have him out very soon. I asked him how he knew that. He told me his great-grandfather was there with him and he told him that. I asked him what he looked like. He described my papaw James to a tee including the "lump" on the upper side of his forehead. I do believe in angels!
When we got back home, Rick was pale, shaking, he couldn't walk. He thought he'd killed Nick! We had the rest of the holiday weekend to recover. We made Nick a bed on the floor in the living room. He was so sore he couldn't go up to his room. Rick told me the same story Nick had told me. He also told me as soon as he moved the truck up enough Nick was standing beside him saying "Daddy, I don't need CPR!" WOW, is he a nurses son or what! We were on the news on the radio and TV that afternoon and night. I called all the radio stations and TV station and told them we just wanted to rest, they had caused many phone calls that we didn't feel like answering. They said it's news. I said Nick is 5 years old and you do NOT have my permission to release his name. They stopped talking about it right then. I think they got my point. It wasn't long before this was a faint memory for us all!
To be continued........