FC: IN THE MOMENT
1: IN THE MOMENT 26 February 2012 by Roland Jenkins | All my short stories are based on events I have experienced during my journey. Some I recount to highlight family history, many are events that I find relevant to how I have become the person I am. If there is one reoccurring theme it is “in the moment”. If you research the phrase you can find many different forms of advice on how to accomplish this. I have not researched them all nor do I care to. Instead I want to share with you my interpretation of the phrase. The very first short story I wrote (Running with the Herd) became the foundation for many of the stories I have related since. All of the memories I share are vivid in my memory because I was one hundred per cent engaged when they occurred. During my experience with the wild Elk Herd I felt I was one with them. I could feel their energy and shared with them for that oh so brief time how they lived their lives each and every moment of every day. For them to not do so would be fatal. We as humans have become so complacent and relaxed in our everyday lives that we now have to turn to manufactured events to experience that sense of urgency. It is within our sports and some occupations that we are afforded the opportunity to become totally involved to the extent that nothing else matters. The more extreme the sport or dangerous the job the closer we get to living life in the moment. That the people who swear an oath to defend other citizens and are willing to make the ultimate sacrifice might do so just for this reason is arguable and I am not really concerned about that. They do so knowing the risk and I admire that. For me many of my experiences have occurred primarily while I was going about living my life. The following is a compilation of short stories about my living “in the moment”.
3: I am sure it didn't last more than a minute, but for that moment I had become a part of their energy. I looked from elk to elk moving only my eyes, examining at close range young and old, doe and a few young buck. As one old doe came in to view on my left I could see on her chest a multitude of scars. Suddenly they bolted ! With out a thought I lunged forward with them. Running on instinct I moved with the herd. Each step was a reaction, no time to plan a route, just move with the terrain. I had been training myself to run in the mountains and the key is to be looking for your second and third step trusting that your mind has already logged where your foot is suppose to land right now. Across and down hill through the Aspen I moved, with no thought about the outcome. As I watched elk in front of me run I saw that they tilted their heads back and "plowed" their way between the trees wedging them apart with their massive chests. It suddenly occurred to me how they could "crash" their way through the forest, and what those scars on that doe represented. I had heard them on occasion, but never before witnessed. As quickly as we took off, we stopped at the beginning of an incline. My heart was beating between my ears as I forced myself to breathe with as little movement as possible. Once again I was in their domain. Sharing the moment, totally aware and alert, ready to react, I inspected those I could see with out moving my head. I could feel that I was surrounded by them and for the moment was engulfed in their energy. As I looked at their eyes I saw an awareness of the the wild, but there was no fear. Again they took off. Without effort they raced up the hill and over the ridge. When I finally reached the top of the ridge they had vanished. I found a spot on the edge of the ridge and began another break. Looking out over the valley below me I could here an occasional clash with the trees and knew exactly what the sound meant. I took deep controlled breaths of the cool pure Rocky Mountain air and smiled from my soul outward. That last segment had given me much to ponder | Running With the Herd By Roland Jenkins 1979 When hiking in the mountains you learn to do it in segments, walking and climbing at a relaxed pace, stopping to refresh and reflect in areas that are comfortable and quite. One early morning on the North Rim of the Upper Bear Valley, West of Evergreen, Colorado I was taking a break between segments on the edge of an Aspen grove. It was early autumn, the leaves of the Aspen trees had turned golden brown and were beginning to fall. As I sat there a herd of elk gathered in the grove around me. I froze in astonishment ! As I moved my eyes across the grove I realized they were not yet aware of my presence.
4: A LONG TIME RUNNING Summer 1979 | The Sun had fully crested above the eastern horizon and I could feel it on my back almost pushing me forward. We had been running for about five minutes on the lazy rolling pasture and I had finally broken through the wall. Most of the beginning of this run had been and uphill struggle. I had gone through the initial pain of getting the blood circulating, and was relaxing into a deep rhythmic breathing pattern. Finally all my muscles where relaxed and the clear clean foothills air was energizing my lungs. We ran along at a leisurely pace and moved down by the creek bed. No words where spoken, we had run along these cow paths before. The biggest challenge in these conditions is to trust your senses to steer your feet on the path. You have to be looking two and three steps out and trust your foot is going to land where you have mentally programmed it to. Our pace had slowed because of the uneven terrain. We were expending a lot more energy because the path was on a steady incline.
5: As a fork in the creek bed appeared Ray motioned to the right. We had always run the left fork on up into the foothills, but I was up for a new adventure. The path we took spread out into the pasture a short distance down and we could see the farm house and barn about a mile away over what seemed like an endless slightly down hill pasture. The pasture grass was short, only about one inch tall and the soil was a sandy lome that gave way to the weight of our shoes. As we ran we began to pick up the tempo. Our stride seemed almost effortless because of the downward slope and the cushioned landing. Without a word we picked up the pace until both of us where taking strides longer than ever imagined and at a rate that was almost scary. I had never run so fast in my life and I felt like I had broken free. Ray and I had never actually raced before and although I was matching him step for step he was six inches taller than me and each step he landed a little farther out in front. I don’t know how much longer I could have kept up that pace. We were approaching an outcropping of rocks and uneven pasture so we slowed our pace down till we were barely running. Suddenly I could feel my heart pounding. It was like my heart was still in the race. I began to sweat and I could feel my skin flush. We continued to jog until we came upon the last incline to the farm house. As we walked up and sat down on some hay bales we began to talk about the shear joy of that experience. Those moments of mental and physical freedom in ones life are rare and even better when you have shared them with a friend. As a kid, I spent my early years in the small southern Michigan town of Cassopolis. It was a quiet friendly town where doors were never locked and kids could play together in the night without fear. I loved going to the movie theater and remember one night after watching a John Wayne movie I was on my way home past the court house. There was a section of ground between the curb and sidewalk that was planted with trees. It was a block long and downhill. I climbed on my imaginary horse and trotted in and out around those trees down the hill. I crossed the street at the bottom and was having so much fun that I ran the rest of the way home. We moved to Chicago when I was ten years old and I found out that running was not only fun but a necessity. Fear can be a great motivator and help you run as you never thought you could. I was walking with a friend on the railroad tracks that ran north and south parallel to Cicero Ave. One of the past times I learned there was to hitch rides on the slow moving freight trains. As I was walking forward my friend was walking backward talking to me. He looked quickly toward his left and yelled, “lets get the hell out of here” ! I turned my head and looked back. Six kids where running up onto the tracks and headed straight toward us. I didn’t stick around to see what they wanted. We ran up to the next street, down off the rail road easement and down the block fast as we could. A friend lived two blocks away on the corner. As we ran we could hear the boys behind us. They didn’t sound like they wanted to play nice. We ran around the corner and up the three story rear porch onto the roof. As we hid up there we could hear the boys down on the street swearing, upset because they had lost our trail. After about an hour we climbed quietly and cautiously down. In order to get to my house I had to go through the neighbor hood those boys had come from. I started running and didn’t stop till I got to my front porch.
6: Growing older I found that I always loved to run and would do so as part of my exercise routine. The start of a run is always a challenge. No matter how much you warm up you still have to go through the muscle and joint ache, the side pains and the effort to get your breathing under control. Once you break through the “wall” and all those things are behind you, running becomes a pleasurable event. On occasions the stars are aligned so perfect that a “run” just happens. One summer while on a weekend vacation with friends to the Michigan side of Lake Michigan, I was sitting on the beach and got this urge to run. I stood up walking to the shore line I began to slowly run along the waters edge where each step was just barely in the water. The sand was just right, not so soft that I sunk in and not so hard that it hurt my bare feet. As I ran I slowly picked up the pace. The Sun was setting off to my left and the heat was no longer so intense. I was running about three quarter speed and saw that I only had about a quarter mile until the beach would end. Soon I was running as fast as I could and loving it. Listening to the sound of my feet slapping on the water and breathing without effort, it was like I was flying. I slowed down as I approached the end and turned around heading back. The experience was so great that I tried to duplicate it on the way back. About half the way back I eased off to a fast walk. My body could not do what my heart desired. When you find someone that likes to run as much as you do it becomes a bond that is unbreakable. I was with a friend visiting a young lady he was trying to start a relationship with. It came out that she was a runner and actually on the track team at the local college. I told her that I enjoyed running and would like to challenge here to a race. It took some talking, but I finally persuaded her to do so. Winning was not my target. The thrill of the race is what I was after. There was a horse pasture behind her house and we walked around to where the race would be on the slightly down hill portion of the field. After a little stretching we agreed to start out slow and she was to take off when ever she wanted. It wasn’t long before we burst into full speed ahead. I anticipated her start and she only got about one step ahead. I matched her stride for stride just off her left shoulder. I felt that I could have kicked in the afterburners and pushed ahead of her, but was enjoying where I was, watching her out of the corner of my eye. As we approached the end of the pasture we circled left and slowed to a jog. When we got back to her house I thanked her for the race and complemented her on her style. She thanked me and to this day I know she is still telling the story of how she kicked my butt. So, I’m in my prime. I’m twenty four years old. I have a job teaching martial arts in the evening. My routine five days a week is to have a late, healthy breakfast, run or ride my bicycle to the Martial Arts Studio, work out around the corner at a physical fitness center, finish with a swim, have lunch and go to work teaching private lessons in the afternoon and group classes in the evening. On Thursday evenings it was advanced classes that we attended. Our instructor, Sifu Al Dacascos would put us through a work out that was ten times worse than any street fight or tournament I ever was involved in. On the weekends if I wasn’t fighting in a tournament I was in the mountains, running, hiking or climbing.
7: We had several guest Martial Artist give seminars and on one occasion a Black Belt Legend named Joe Lewis did a presentation at our school. When it was over we asked him where he was staying for the weekend. He had not made plans yet. We offered our house. There were four of us involved in the Martial Arts that rented this house and he accepted. On Sunday he wanted to go for a run. The light bulb went off in my head and I told him I liked to run and would be glad to run with him. He asked where I ran. I told him anywhere. He didn’t want to run on the streets. There was to much chance of injury and breathing the smog was not his idea of fun. I told him of a high school nearby and we headed out there. We did some stretching and he told me he liked to run four miles. I gulped silently and nodded my head. We took off at a fairly fast pace just short of a sprint for me. It was a quarter mile track and halfway around the first lap I lost the ability and desire to try to keep up with him. I figured he was just trying to burn me out and would slow down soon. By the time I was one quarter into my second lap he past me for the first time. I had burned so much energy trying to keep up with him on the first lap that I was barely able to finish four laps, or one mile. Joe ran the four miles at the same pace he started out and he actually beat me to the finish line. I found out from Ray, the friend I raced in the cow pasture, that Joe remembers me as the “guy who thought he could run”.
8: INCIDENT ON BLACK BEAR LAKE JANUARY 2009 | It was the spring of 1950, I was four years old and was told I was going on a trip with my Dad. We were going up to Grandma’s house to build a cabin for us to live in. It wasn’t till much later in my childhood that I would find out it was because Dad just could not find work around the town of Cassappolis, Michigan. We had moved there from Indianapolis two years earlier chasing work, but that job had ended and work was hard to find all over the country. I don’t remember much about the trip except we did have one interesting adventure. Dad smoked back then and he had thrown a cigarette out the window and it flew back in landing on the rear seat. We pulled over when dad saw the smoke in the rear view mirror. He pulled the seat out and put the fire out, but I remember he kept looking back there the rest of the trip. Some where in Wisconsin we stopped at a truck stop restaurant for a late meal. It was my first hamburger with vanilla Sunday. I can still taste it and wish all the food I ate had such a sweet, lasting memory.
9: As you drive up to Grandma and Grandpa’s Black Bear lake property on the three mile dirt road out of Trommald, Minnesota you can see the lake shore to the right and the swamp or “bog” to the left. The log cabin house sits up on the hill to the right. Across the road the chickens gather in front of their coop. Passed the cabin to the right is an old railroad box car used to store hay and tools and a favorite place for the kids to hang out. Just as you round the bend and see the cabin there is a thickly wooded hill on the left. A grown over area indicates it use to be the access road up to the top of the hill At the top a small area still remained open and this is where Dad, with my help and maybe some of the other family men built a one room cabin that was to be home for Mom, Dad, Tom, Me and Gary that summer. I remember it was hot. I spent most of my time climbing a tree at the edge of the clearing until one day I fell out of it and woke up in Grandma’s bed. When Mom and my brothers joined us we had a great time exploring the woods around us and down at the lake shore. Every weekend there would be family coming out to visit and I was getting to know all my cousins. Life for me was lazy, full of new adventures and fun. One day Tom and I were playing on the back side of the hill where we dumped our trash. I am going to say that Tom had the matches, just because he isn’t here to say otherwise. We got a fire going that got away from us and we ran up to the cabin to tell Mom. Dad was at work at the Mine. Mom ran out the door and took one look at the fire, she told us to get inside and went to close the door. Tom and I were terrified she was trying to lock us in the cabin. Neither one of us was old enough to realize there was no lock on the door, but we both grabbed hold of it and braced ourselves pulling as hard as we could. They heard all the yelling from the house and ran up to see what was going on. The fire got put out and I think everyone was real glad that we didn’t get hurt, because I don’t remember getting spanked. One afternoon we were coming back from town and as we approached home Tom and I asked Mom if we could go swimming. Mom stopped at our driveway and let us out to go get our trucks on then she went up to the main cabin to put the groceries in the refrigerator. Tom and I got suited up and headed down toward the lake. On the way to the beach we ran across a huge snapping turtle. We grabbed sticks and teased it till it grabbed hold of Tom’s and snapped it in two. We decided not to tease it further. Tom and I walked passed the one room cabin at the edge of beach area. It was the cabin that Grandma would later move into Trommald and live in after she sold the lake property. Dad was working nights at the mine and so he was asleep in the cabin at that time. We walked over to one of the boats pulled up on shore. Tom told me to help him push it out. When we got it all the way in the water Tom jumped in and told me to keep pushing it out. I pushed until I could not keep my head above water and went to pull myself in. Tom told me to keep pushing, but I told him it was to deep and I had to get in. After I climbed in he decided that I was not telling the truth and jumped in.
10: Neither one of us knew how to swim. Tom surfaced, but was to far away from the boat to grab hold of it. He started screaming for me to grab his hand, but I couldn’t reach him. I started screaming for help. I don’t know what I was saying nor what Tom was saying, but every time he was able to get his head back above water I could see the terror in his eyes and hear his screams. Suddenly I saw the cabin door open and my Dad was running toward the water. He ran till he could not and dove in. I could see Grandpa and Great Grandpa running down the beach toward the other boat at the shore. Dad got to Tom and would put Tom’s head above water while he sank, then he would surface to gasp and do the same thing again. It seemed like hours, but the other boat finally got to Dad and they started pulling Tom and Dad in. I turned around, laid down in the boat and cried. There was a lot of yelling up at the house that afternoon and the next day we packed and moved back to Michigan. Mom had told us to get our suits on and meet her up at the house. Grandpa was so mad at Mom that he would not listen. He blamed her for Dad almost drowning with Tom and did not want her around.
11: Fix a Flat It was early spring 1970 when four of us agreed it was time to leave Illinois and head out to Southern California for some sun and surf. Ray and Simon would be traveling in Simons van while Tony and I headed out in my Ford Econoline. Tony and I left a week ahead of them and headed up to Northern Minnesota to visit with some of my relatives before we were going to meet up with Ray and Simon on I 80. It was our last day in Crosby when Tony and I headed out toward Brainard for our last stop to meet with my Aunt Phylis. We were late as we headed out of town when I rounded a corner in the highway and saw this car pulled off the highway. There were two elderly women that were standing by the rear driver’s side tire looking at it. We knew immediately that they had a flat tire and we were going to have to help. Tony and I worked out a plan as I slowed down and pulled off the road behind them. Tony would jump out, get their keys, open up the trunk, pull out the spare and the jack while I got out my four way tire wrench and began to remove the flat tire. I don’t know what Tony said to them before I got up to the car, but all I said was hi. We pulled it off with out a missed beat. By the time I had all the lug nuts broke free Tony was lifting the rear end. As I pulled the flat tire off, Tony placed the spare tire on. We both threaded the lug nuts back on and as I tightened them up Tony began jacking the rear end down. While I was replacing the hub cap Tony threw the jack and the tire in the trunk and slammed it shut. The woman driving the car tried to hand me something, but I just raised my hand waving good bye and told her we were late to meet my Aunt and had to run. As we pulled away I looked in the rear view mirror and both ladies were standing by their doors waving good bye to us.
13: The Hawks 11 May 2011 Whippletree Inn was the local watering hole in Bergen Park, Colorado during the 70’s, great food, cold beer and a great place to gather. Just down the highway was Mountain Rental and the owner Ray would drop in for lunch on occasion. One Saturday afternoon there were a few of us guys hanging out shooting pool and Ray asked if any of us were interested in playing on a slow pitch softball team if he was to sponsor one. All of us were the athletic type and a few had played together the previous year for the El Rancho “Lugnuts” a team sponsored by the local gas station. Ray put together a team and by the next week we began practice. After a few practice games I gravitated to the position of fourth outfielder or “short center”. We hadn’t come up with a name for the team and some of the names the guys were coming up with were either puke or x-rated. We held most of our practices on an elementary school field late in the afternoon after school let out. Nearly every practice there would appear one and sometimes two Red Tailed Hawks circling above us. We all would take notice as they are such beautiful birds. This particular afternoon as I looked up it came to me and I shouted out, “Hey, let’s call ourselves the Hawks”, as I pointed my gloved hand at the Red Tail circling above. There was no debate we became the, “Mt. Rental Hawks“. During one particular regular season game we were playing a team up from the city. They were a strong team and we were struggling. We were down several runs and just could not catch a break. They had a couple runners on with only one out when I noticed that both Red Tails had arrived and were watching us from about 500 foot up. When I pointed to the sky and yelled “Hawks” all the guys started hooting and chanting Hawks. The next pitch was hit hard out to right field but Shep got under it for the out and he had one hell of an arm so threw it in to home to keep the guy from advancing past third. The next batter hit a line drive over shortstop. I took off sprinting and leaped as high as I could on the run and snagged it. Our next at bat we came alive and not only caught up but pulled two runs ahead. The game ended with us in the win column and those guys vowing to bring a shotgun with them the next time they had to play us AND those Red Tails. As for the MT Rental Hawks we ended the season Recreational Division Champions.
14: It was another cloudless, intensely hot summer afternoon and the jobsite was almost deserted except for a few men able to work in the framed structures of a new release on the project I was building for Lewis Homes on the East side of Las Vegas. The site was just over a mile from my home and as I had done several times a week this summer I was cutting out a little early to pick up the kids and drive out to Echo Bay where we had our 17 foot Larson parked in a slip. The Larson had an 88 horse Evenrude motor and a double hull which made it virtually impossible to sink. It was just large enough to carry the whole family and one guest safely, pull one skier or 4 boogie boarders and get from one end of Lake Meade to the other on just one tank of gas. For three summers we went out every chance we got. Today the wind was blowing fairly strong, but I knew we could get out to one of our favorite spots on an island not far from Echo Bay with no problem so off we went for the one hour drive in our new Buick Regal. With the boat already at dock all I needed to do was pick the kids up and head out. As usual they were in their suits, towels over shoulders and waiting for me. Polly would be going to work in just one hour so she would not be going along. We did however invite Samantha’s best buddy Jennifer David. | WAVE RUNNERS 31 January 2011
15: When we pulled out of Echo Bay we could see that the wind was much stronger out on the open water and as we pulled down between “Hamster Island” and the shoreline there was a constant barrage of 3 to 4 foot waves. It was impossible to get any speed up going directly at the waves so I had all the kids get in the back of the boat and went 45 degrees to the waves for a while. As we got into the rhythm of the up and down I started experimenting and turned the adventure into somewhat of a roller coaster event. After I got comfortable with how the boat reacted to the waves I allowed one kid at a time to go up to the front of the boat, grab a strap on either side and hold on as we rode the waves. Sometimes the whole boat came out of the water, but I tried to keep from doing that because we would slap down hard. I could get in a rhythm and gave each of the kids the rides of their lives. By the time I turned the boat to go with the waves and allow the next kid to get ready whoever was up front was ready to switch. Running with the waves was also an adventure kind of like being on a giant surf board. Mat and Josh were about 10 years old and Samantha and Jenney were 8. All were excellent swimmers and they all had their life jackets on. Never once did we come close to over extending ourselves. Once all the kids had their turn up front riding the waves we pulled into a cove on Hamster Island that was one of our favorite beaches for swimming. The inlet was protected from the wind and had a sandy beach head. We had named it Hamster Island because we had released a family of hamsters there. Some of our other location names were: Spider Cove (we didn‘t go there too often), Cliffs Cove (were the kids and Max the Dog would cliff dive), Sandy Beach, Rock Island and Gypsum Point. After a refreshing swim we went back out for another round of “wave running”. By now we had figured out the best angle to attack the waves for maximum height without getting completely airborne. Somewhere between 45 and 60 degrees to the waves we could shoot up the front side and ride down the back side with maximum airtime and minimal impact! I never rode up front being the Captain and all, but I could tell by their screams and expressions that all were enjoying the ride. All too soon the sun was setting so it was back to the beach for a final swim and then we headed back to Echo Bay. We got back to the dock at dusk but our slip was in one of the three covered docks that had light poles. Grandpa had a slip about ten boats down toward the end of the dock and we would store all our boogie boards, life jackets and other equipment there in the cabin. As Sami and I off loaded the gear Mat, Josh and Jenifer were busy hauling it down to Grandpa’s boat. All of a sudden there was this loud thump and splash! As Sami and I made eye contact we heard Jennifer scream and Josh curse. We both took off running down toward the boat and I flew by Sami thinking “feet don’t fail me”! As I got to the boat Josh was leaning over between the boat and the slip. I looked down and Mat had his right arm stretched straight up his hand grasping at air, his head barely above water. With one quick move I grabbed ahold of his wrist with my right hand and pulled him up standing up and wrapping my left arm around his chest pulling him back onto the dock!
16: I told the kids to hurry up finish putting the gear away and I would meet them at the end of the dock with the car. As I helped Mat walk up to the car I could tell he was daze and he kept asking me what had happened. Each time I would tell him the story he would acknowledge that he heard it, but then in a few minutes he would ask me the same question. When I would ask him if he knew where we were or what had happened he could not tell me. The kids had finished storing the equipment and caught up to us before we even got to the car so we hurried off on the one hour ride home that I did in 45 minutes. Cell service was intermittent at best out there and finally about half way home we got a signal. I called Grandma as she was a nurse and told her I was afraid Mat had a concussion and told her I would like to stop by to have her look at him. We stopped by and she confirmed he appeared to have suffered one, but because he had not lost consciousness and was starting to remember what had occurred she felt that if I monitored him that night he should be ok. If we took him to the hospital that was about all they would do. It was a long night for me sitting in my easy chair, cat napping and checking on him about every hour, waking him up just to see if I could. The next morning Mat seemed to be ok, but we kept him home from school just in case. Later when we talked about that night Sami told me she had never seen me run so fast. “You flew by me daddy!”
17: THE CALL APRIL 2009 | One evening several years ago I was walking back to the living room from the kitchen with a drink when Samantha met me at the end of the hall leading from her bedroom. She kissed me on the cheek and said, "good bye I love you Daddy". Then she walked out the front door. Her best friend Olga came by right after that and gave me a kiss on the cheek. With a sly grin on her face and a sparkle in her eyes she said, "bye Dad, we'll see you later", then turned and ran out the door to catch Sammie. Before I sat down I watched them drive away in Olga's car. She had just gotten her license a few weeks earlier , but I trusted her judgment. I smiled thinking about how all of Samies friends called me Dad and that it was good we had the "Kool Aid" house. The one where all the kids came to socialize. It was a little before midnight when I got "The Call" that turned my world upside down. "Mr. Jenkins this is University Medical Center. Your daughter Samantha has been hurt in a car accident. Do you know where we are located"? More was said, but it is not important
18: Mathew and Joshua heard the commotion as I was getting ready to go so they asked if they could go with me. I am so glad that I let them, they were only seventeen then, but were two adults that night. When we got to the hospital I parked where the emergency used to be, but we ended up having to walk all the way around the complex to the new entry. It seemed like hours. After I checked in I had the boys go back and move the car closer. Someone led me back to an large area that had six or more beds with curtains to separate them. On the right in the first bed was Samantha, her face cut and bruised, her hair a mess and a horrible sad look in her eyes. On the left side of the isle in the second bed down was a girl I didn't recognize, her mother standing by her side, both watching me and I was curious as to who they where. By Samantha's bed, standing about six feet back, apparently to give me room, where three or four hospital staff. As I grabbed Samantha's hand and asked her if she was alright she began to sob, barely able to speak. "I'm ok Dad, but Olga didn't make it. She's Dead"!! I grabbed Sammie and pulled her to me as I began to cry with her. We held onto each other and mutter things I don't remember. I do know I didn't want to discuss it there. I turned and asked the group if she could leave. They said yes, so we just gathered ourselves together and slowly walked out of there. Sammie was wearing clothes that had been donated to the hospital. Her's had been destroyed in the accident. When we opened the door to the lobby the boys where standing right in front of us. I told them what I knew, much to my amazement they remained fairly calm. They hugged their sister and uttered some profanity, but mainly just stood beside us as we walked outside. They had moved the van real close so we were quickly inside and at that point we all broke down. When she was able Samantha started to tell us what had happened. As the days passed I found out all the facts, but that night just the basics. First I called Polly to let her know that Samantha was ok and we were on our way home, but that our almost daughter Olga didn't make it. I let her talk to Samantha while I began the long journey home. Samantha and Olga had met up with two other girls that evening that where going to a party in Henderson. They decided to go in Sue's car so Sam and Olga jumped in the back. At the party there was beer and hard stuff. When they left the party Sammie was already seated in the back on the passenger side, but she slid over so that Olga wouldn't have to walk around the car. Kenna was the passenger up front. They all fastened their seat belts and took off. Once on the highway headed down the hill into the valley, Sue decided to see how fast she could go. Going as fast as her car could, she had a blow out. She lost control and spun off the road. The car flipped at least twice and landed on it's top on a concrete retaining wall. The passenger side was crushed and had killed Kenna and Olga.
19: Some Notes: Sue is not the drivers real name, she never took responsibility for her action, never said she was sorry and I have blocked her name from my memory. There are many other details that are private between Sammie and Me that I won't share. I send this to all in hope of reducing if not eliminating drinking and driving. There has been a retaining barrier installed along that stretch of highway since the accident that could have provide a much better outcome. Olga, I heard your song last night on the way home from Josh's house. We love and miss you more each day.
20: Shared Moment The lines so soft in sweet tones of gray One precious moment captured on this day No matter outside what swirls around Here and now there is no sound Eyes gently closed for us to see As if to say come dream with me So many visions come to mind Each time I look something new I find Forever I’ll wonder what do they see An answer for this question will never be Of just what a Mother and Daughter knows In a shared moment of sweet repose