Miss Sugar’s Lemonade
The car accident was two years ago this week.
It seems like yesterday that I drove up to the scene on the highway and saw the flashing lights of two ambulances and the State Patrol car amongst the three smashed vehicles.
I had gotten there as quickly as I could after my wife called me at the law office.
She said, “Mom and I were in a bad accident by the lumberyard. Please come.”
So, of course, I left immediately. I did not know what to expect. I prayed as I drove.
When I arrived at the scene, traffic was backed up. I went around the line of cars, driving past the State Patrolman directing traffic and parked on the side of the road right by the ambulance, as if my pickup was an emergency vehicle too.
Karen (aka Miss Sugar) was on the gurney and was being lifted into the ambulance. She saw me and reached out her left hand. I naturally gave it a reassuring squeeze. She grimaced in pain and pulled it away. (We learned in ER that she had fractured a bone in that hand). Blood was running from her broken nose.
She said, “We are still having the party on Saturday. Don’t cancel it.”
The accident was on Monday, May 23rd. The party was to be Saturday, May 28th. We had invited dozens of people for our annual John Wayne Birthday Party since the 100th anniversary of his birth in 1907. This would be our fifth John Wayne Party. Sugar works for weeks getting ready, baking pies and making side dishes that can be frozen. On the day of the party we serve Texas-style Bar B Que with all the fixins. She did not want to cancel.
I don’t recall what I said. Something non-responsive to her order about the party. Something like, “I love you.”
After they put Sugar in one ambulance, I went over to our car. My mother-in-law, Ginger, was still in there because the passenger door was jammed shut. The emergency personnel used a crowbar to open that door. The crowbar damaged the paint job. That’s a joke. The car was clearly unrepairable. The hood was so smashed that if I did not know better, I would have expected the accident was fatal.
Ginger said that she couldn’t breathe. The airbags had deployed, leaving a gunpowder smell. I suspect that it was the driver seat airbag that broke Sugar’s nose.
The accident occurred because a northbound car crossed the center line on a curve and struck the southbound car that was immediately ahead of our car. That first collision caused the northbound vehicle to spin into the front of our car, resulting in the head-on collision.
I followed the ambulance to the hospital. In the ER, I alternated between Sugar and her mother.
The fifth metacarpal in Sugar’s left hand had suffered a spiral fracture, known as a “boxer’s fracture.” Her hand was swollen and painful. She also sprained her neck and tore the posterior cruciate ligament in her right knee.
Sugar was treated and released from the ER. Her mother was admitted to the hospital, but she got out on Friday, in time for Saturday’s party.
Yes, we still had the party, as Sugar insisted. She wore a neck brace, soft cast on her hand, and limped. She had to sit down a lot. She was a brave and stubborn hostess.
But now let’s think about me. Just because I wasn’t injured, I had to serve the barbeque sandwiches and even help clean-up. I think that there were 60 or so attendees. That’s a lot of work for someone as inept as me. In truth, we had good help from many kind souls, including Karen’s father. Her mother was no help at all. She did not attend. Eventually she had back surgery. Party-pooper!
Back to the title about lemonade. We did serve lemonade, as well as sweet tea and adult beverages, but that is not what the title is about. It is about the old phrase, “When life serves you lemons, make lemonade.”
After about six weeks, the broken bone healed and Sugar started physical therapy. Despite all that, her left little finger stuck out at an angle like a Star Trek greeting from Mr. Spock. Sugar is a very high energy, positive, and creative person. She is an artist and musician. She had won a piano scholarship in her younger years, but she did not play the guitar.
As a way of making lemonade, Sugar decided to take guitar lessons so as to force herself to strengthen that broken left hand and to use that disfigured finger by forcing it to hold down strings.
Now she is a pretty good guitarist. Surprise! Surprise!
Another plus is that she can use that left hand dexterity for plumbing tasks, a reference to my prior post called Do-It-Herself Plumbing.