by Alicia Beckwith
I had a terrible close call when our son, then two, ran behind my car as I was backing up. It was a small Ford Pinto and luckily wasn’t heavy enough to crush Kevin. I felt the bump when the car bounced off of him. I got out and ran to the rear of the car to find him looking up at me, tears forming in his little eyes.
My husband who was mowing the lawn came when I screamed his name. We took him to Myers Community Hospital, the closest facility, where they kept him overnight to be sure he was all right. Thankfully, we took him back home the next morning.
After that terrible incident, we both took a first aid class, then later I took an EMT, Emergency Medical Technician class; I only took two levels. From there, I joined the Ontario Volunteer Ambulance Services (OVES) serving on call some nights and some weekends, days and nights. When fellow EMTs pushed me to go further, I told them I wouldn’t go for Level III which was IVs. I had a strong fear of needles! Fred never joined OVES because he couldn’t get up in the middle of the night and function sanely!
I enjoyed working with some very special people through OVES, and quickly became a crew chief. Some calls were heartbreaking while others were enriching to the soul. After ten years, we started a Cardiac Arrest Team. Each of us traveled in our own cars to the house or site of the call with an oxygen tank at the ready.
When I went back to college after the boys were a bit older, I offered my services to the local schools, Monroe Community College, MCC, and Nazareth College, in Rochester, New York. It was a bit ‘scarier’ for me as I was alone on the calls until the MERT (Medical Emergency Response Team) arrived on the scene. I think my grades were part of why I was given the Medallion Award from MCC.
I often saw accidents or someone in distress, even in the supermarkets. I always stopped to lend a helping hand. To this day people approach me and say how they remember what took place and my part in it.
After my college education, I found a job as a social worker at Strong Memorial Hospital. Part of my relaxation, other than my marriage to Albert, was to go riding my sorrel quarter horse, Patsy. One day, I went to the stables where I boarded horse, Patsy Sweet Bar. I saddled her up, secured my lunch sack in the saddlebags, mounted and rode off to Webster Park trails. I often rode for several hours before returning. Sometimes my sweet husband, Albert, would meet me at the barn as a welcome back.
When I got to Midnight Trail, I turned Patsy and headed into the woods. The summer sun cast shadows on the tree trunks and the trail as I rode along. Little critters would run when they heard Patsy’s hooves on the forest floor. I knew to keep a close rein on her because she would shy, jump and spin if she sent up a flock of pheasants or scattered a herd of deer. I’d been dumped before, luckily without any serious injuries other than a broken nose one time.
We came to a creek, which she hated to cross. Maybe being a lady, she didn’t want to get her feet wet! We finally jumped it with ease, “I told you so!”, and continued on.
When we came to the turn off to go to the lily pond, I saw a cloth bag on the ground near a large rock. I dismounted, holding the reins, and bent down to pick it up.
All of a sudden I heard footsteps approaching from behind me. I looked up as Patsy turned her head, whinnied and reared up. The reins were ripped from my hands and I fell back onto the rock hitting my head.
I don’t know how long I was unconscious, but I woke up with a SLIGHT headache. I was still on the ground next to the rock, but as I looked about things didn’t seem the same. It suddenly registered, they weren’t! The park path to the lily pond was gone, replaced by a rolling hillside. My horse, Patsy, was still there, thank the good Lord. I’d worried she might run back to the barn and get hit by a car.
I stood up and patted her. “Good girl!” Then I continued to look about. To my right was a beautiful stone wall about 3 and a half feet high with some vegetation was growing on it. A beaten path alongside was stretching down the hillside into a lush green valley.
Where the heck am I? I continued to gaze about trying to understand what had happened. To my left and down the hill, a farm glorified the area. A white clapboard house about a quarter of a mile away stood out. I could make out some livestock in a fenced field.
I made a decision; I’d ride down the hill to see if I could find someone. I talked to my horse patting her neck as I mounted. We went down and approached the house. I could hear activity out back, so I tied Patsy to a rail out in front of the house and walked around the corner, calling out, “Hello! Anybody here?”
A tall man wearing cloth overalls, a tan shirt and black hat looked up from hoeing his garden. “Hello, there! Are ya lost?” he asked with a broad smile that met his eyes.
“Yes sir, I guess I am. Where is this place?” I asked.
“Ya gotta be kiddin’. Don’t ya know ya’re in Kentucky?”
“Kentucky?” I asked. How the heck did I get here? “Guess I made a wrong turn someplace back there,” I said rubbing the bump on my head.
“Well where were ya lookin’ to go?” asked the farmer.
“Right now I could use a place to find something to eat and something for my horse,” I replied.
The farmer shook his head and then looked at me. “Well, let’s go inside. My wife’s about to make some lunch. You’d be welcome to partake a meal with us. Since the livestock’s already out to pasture, there’s an empty stall for your horse. She’s sure a beauty. There’s hay to the left of the door there. I’ll go in and tell Maggie we got comp’ny.” His muddy boots sloshed as he strode away. I untied Patsy who’d been patiently waiting, not like her usual self, pawing the dirt. I led her into the barn, secured her in a stall and untacked her. I put a forkful of hay into her stall and took a small can of grain from a bin close to the door, closed the stall door and walked out of the barn toward the house.
Alicia Beckwith is a local poet and has been writing poetry for four decades. Her poems have been published in book collections and magazines.