Wednesday, November 03, 2004

A Cry From the Dark

“ Miss Liza….Help me!!!” “I’m trapped.” Liza barely recognized the voice crying for help. “I’m trapped under a telephone pole”, he grunted. The computer screen was lit up with private message windows as she did her usual Saturday night thing on WooHoo cruising chat rooms. Even with the slight buzz, it registered. It was Lumpy, Lacey’s boyfriend. And he was in trouble. “I’m at the end of the road”, he said. “Hurry!”

Liza scurried out from behind the PC and into her car and barreled down the lane. It was dark already and she had to slow down and focus her headlights on the ditch to find him. “Where is he? Where is HE?” All was dark. No movement.

Lacey had gone to visit friends while her boyfriend Lumpy went to cut wood for a bonfire. Bless his heart, he was devoted to that gal of his. Devoted enough to go on a wood cutting expedition for that downed telephone pole he’d had his eyes on. Whatever Lacey wanted, he’d try his damndest to deliver.

Liza spotted him under the pole at the bottom of the ditch. She backed the car up carefully to spotlight the scene, jumped out and ran to him. Lumpy was dressed in coveralls and totally trapped under a ton size wooden telephone pole that had been replaced with a metal one. His chainsaw lay chainless in the ditch beside him. As Liza struggled to gain her composure, it struck her that she was in charge of this crisis. “Are you okay?” she asked with great concern. “ I can’t move” was his reply. His upper thighs were totally immobilized by the weight of the pole and he struggled with his hands to keep it off of his pelvis and chest. “Look in the back of my truck” he instructed. Lumpy was an overgrown scout who took the motto “Be Prepared” to heart. Liza fetched the metal spike that was in his truck bed and dug it into earth under the giant pole. She was too weak to have any effect on it, but he grabbed hold of the wedge and hung on for dear life. Precious breathing space was now available.

Liza grabbed her cell phone and dialed in the headlights…..first her Dad and then 911. Willy, her Dad, lived only a mile down the main road. He arrived first with chainsaw in hand and his usual smartass attitude. Willy promptly stuck his chainsaw in the pole exactly as Lumpy had. He began to berate Lumpy for his “stupidity” and Liza jumped in her Dad’s face. “Now is not the time, Daddy”. She cradled Lumpy’s head in her hands and urged him to hang on. “ You’re okay dude….I’ve got you. It’s all good”. “HOLD ON!” In spite of the cold temperatures, his face and hair were drenched with sweat from the effort of holding the weight of that pole at bay.

The crowd trickled slowly onto the country lane. First there was a highway traveler with a police band scanner who pulled himself away from his trek home with his son. In shirt and tie, he came to the rescue. Next came the Sheriff’s department vehicle, complete with search dog. First responders. Ambulance with two paramedics.

Lumpy directed his own rescue from his imprisonment in the ditch. All of the equipment necessary was in his truck. “Straps…to put around the pole.” Fetched immediately from the truck. The group of men began to slip the straps over the ends of the pole as the paramedics tried to slip a stretcher under his body. No good…..the stretcher was too thick. While rummaging through the truck bed, Jack, one of the paramedics found the lid to a barrel. “Just the thing” he gasped. He and his partner slipped the barrel lid under Lumpy’s neck and waited for the lift. “ONE….TWO….THREE!” With all of their combined strength, the cadre of men present lifted that pole by the canvas straps and allowed Jack and Phil to move the barrel lid under Lumpy’s body and grab it out from under the pole. “Whoomph”. The pole hit the dirt again as Lumpy was slid to safety.

Orders had been given for morphine IV en route to the hospital emergency room in anticipation of the severe fractures. Lumpy was able to get up with assistance. He headed toward the ambulance bay.

Liza spotted Lacey in the glare of the strobes and headlights wandering up to the scene. Returning home, she had spotted the activity and abandoned her car, sure that someone in her family was in trouble. Her mom? Oh please no. Maybe her Grandaddy or MeMaw had gotten in trouble. All she knew was that the activity she saw screamed of an emergency and it was right in her path.

Lacey ran to the back of the ambulance. “Baby, are you okay?” Lumpy sat there in shock while the rest of the crowd prepared to move out. “I’m okay, sugar”. She began to cry as the story unfolded and she realized how close she had come to losing him.

Lumpy declined the ambulance ride and the morphine. Miraculously he could walk. Later, around the fire and after a hit on the whiskey, they pieced together the things that had saved him. Recent rains had made the ground soft enough to give some leeway to the weight of the pole. While he normally left his cell in his truck, this time he tucked it away in the pocket of his coveralls. All of the angels were at the right place at the right time to respond to the rescue call. And….By gosh. Being prepared had paid off!

When Liza returned to her online admirers, Rvrguy was freaking out. “Are you OKAY?” “Where did YOU GO?” Liza quickly told the story on the keyboard. “No wonder I can’t get any prayers answered down here in Memphis….you guys are keeping God too busy up there in the northwest!”

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