When my oldest daughter, Jennie, was 8, she was hit by a car. I think maybe it was the most traumatic day of my life. I was home, heard a commotion in front of our house on Rt 313 in Quakertown , PA, ran out the front doors, and was the first one at the scene.
My daughter was lying unconscious in the street.
She used to stand on our porch, unbeknownst to us, look both ways because she could see better up there, we think, when crossing the road. That day, she saw the large truck coming from the left, but not the car just behind it. She must have just stepped out to cross and was struck by a car, driven by a teacher in the school district in which I worked.
The woman was traumatized, too, although I don’t even remember seeing her there.
The next think I remember was that my Jennie coughed and began breathing. I’m not sure how long I was there before that, shouting instructions. I just remember that I, trained in CPR, was unaware that she wasn’t breathing.
I kept her still until the ambulance got there. The next thing I remember, I was driving up to the Lehigh Valley Medical Center. They had the best facilities for that kind of thing. Head trauma.
Jennie was unconscious for six days, kept in an induced coma to try and lower the pressure in her brain.
They were maybe the worst 6 days of my life. I only say maybe, because I drank bourbon until I was unconscious every night. I wasn’t sober then. It’s hard to realistically assess anything in that condition.
Water over the dam.
I’m always trying to get to the point of these writings.
I walked up the hall one evening in the hospital to the vending machine. My eyes, while scanning over the machine, caught the words “Life Savers.”
I dropped the money in, pulled the lever, put them in my pocket. I’m not sure if I ate any or offered them to any to anyone else. All I know is that I carried them for 6 days, and she survived.
Ever since then, Life Savors in my pocket means I’m safe from harm. I know it’s not true, but I feel better when they’re there, so why not carry them?
They can also be good luck. My friend, the Women’s Tennis Coach at The University of Delaware, gets Life Savers handed to her, by me, at every match I attend. It’s a good luck ritual now. Besides, they taste good, the wintergreen ones, and freshen your breath. I carry them in my pocket to all the matches. I’ve become famous that way. I pass them out in critical match moments. It’s fun.
I can be counted on, even if it’s only that you can count on me for a Life Saver.
I know it’s only a little thing, but the little things matter in life.
They matter big.
Next time you see me. Ask. I’ll probably have one for you. Maybe you will need it that day. For some luck or better breath.