AN EXPLOSION OF STORIES PART 3: RESCUED
BY: PATTY L. FLETCHER
COPY RIGHT DECEMBER 2014
Hello campbellsworld visitors.
As you know from previous posts, I’ve been working on this book for quite some time now and after having had no luck getting it published in any way and giving much thought and prayer as to what I should do I’ve decided to share it here with you.
For me sometimes just the simple pleasure of writing and sharing my stories with others is more than enough and during this time in my life I find it is something I have a deep desire to do. In fact, after spending much time in prayer about this subject I feel very strongly that to share my stories in this way is something I’m being called to do. I feel that somewhere someone is reading and that there is a message within the pages of this book they need to hear.
That having been said, we’re now into the 3RD portion of this book and I have to say, this is one of my most favorite stories that I must tell. Why? Well, maybe I’d just best let you see for yourself.
*** Reader’s Notes: This story was originally published in an anthology which can be found by visiting:
December Awethology Light https://www.books2read.com/u/3yPZvB . And has been rewritten for the purposes of this book.
As we came in to the holiday season things became rather crazy for Campbell and me. Work was busy with planning the Volunteer Appreciation Breakfast, and then there was my personal fundraiser, Campbell’s Cause to help us get books to sell at the upcoming Top Dog convention we were to attend in 2015. On top of those things, there was the fantastic event of my nephew and niece in law moving in to our home with their two girls. I was more than thrilled. I felt no apprehension about their being here, and when people asked me how Campbell and I would deal with having others in the house again after living so long with just the two of us and the cats my answer was always the same. “I cannot wait.” I had been enjoying getting reconnected with my nephew Aaron since his return to Kingsport, and now I would get to know the rest of his family. It would be fine, and I knew it.
Now it was New Year’s Eve Day morning, and we were on our way out the door to run to Food City, and Burger King to pick up donated items for the breakfast, and then on to the office to prepare for everyone’s arrival.
As usual the plans I’d laid out were not to be.
At least not as I’d thought. Campbell and I started up the walk together and I felt incredible. I had on a new outfit of clothes given to me as a gift by one of my volunteers, and a nice scarf and ear muff set my sister had given me and something about having been able to dress up a bit had really helped me feel good about myself. That along with the way I had figured out how to use the mass transit to get this done had really helped to boost my confidence and I was ready to rock! Or? So I thought…
Crossing the second street, I urged Campbell forward passed our regular stop and just as we whizzed passed, the bus we normally rode came by. The driver stopped and asked me if I wanted him or bus 3. I told him I was going on up to the corner and asked him to radio the driver to let him know I’d be there in a minute. He did, and I started off again with Campbell trotting happily along beside me wagging his tale and scenting the crisp fresh air of winter.
At first, all was fine, then, suddenly things went wrong. Somehow as we’d started off again, I lost count of how many streets we’d crossed. So, when we got to where I thought we were supposed to be we’d gone too far. We’d crossed a street when we were to have turned and that led us astray. By the time I’d worked out where we were, we were much further than we should’ve been. I turned us round and was very sure I’d missed Dave and bus 3. Fumbling my cell out of my pocket I dialed from memory the KATS office. Once I reached the dispatcher, I told him what had happened and that I was turned around and to please have Dave and the other drivers in that area watch for us. As we continued down the street, I realized by the direction of the traffic flow, that we had made a diagonal street crossing and had ended up on the wrong side. I wanted to get back where we needed to be but just was not sure how anymore. I heard a garbage truck approaching and I decided that Campbell and I had had enough. Standing on the curb frantically yelling and waving my arms, I flagged down the driver and after a lot of back and forth communication between the two of us and some instruction as to how he could best help from me, we decided on a plan of action that worked, and Campbell and I began to follow the truck back down the street. There was no side walk there and Campbell and I were suddenly doing country work we’d not done since training and to be quite honest we sucked at it. The driver had to stop his truck several times and direct me, even to the point of having to get out and assist me twice. I was upset and embarrassed nearly to tears, but he remained calm and extremely helpful, at one point he briefly took my hand and steadied me saying, “You’re alright sweet heart, just make him follow this road right at the edge. He described a bit better the lay out and this helped us get a better idea of what we needed to do.
Finally, we caught up to Dave and bus 3, and climbed aboard. To say we were glad to be on the bus would be a gross understatement. Campbell and I made our way quickly to our seat and as I sat down, Campbell flopped on to the floor with a thump, and a sigh.
The bus began to move, and I leaned back and raised my hands to my face. Leaning against them I sighed. My head was roaring with confusion. “You alright?” Dave asked. “Ask me again in ten minutes, ok?” He laughed a bit, but there was no humor in it. “I’m ok, Yankee Dave. Dave was and is one of the drivers I considered one of my friends. He’d read ‘Campbell’s Rambles: How a Seeing Eye Dog Retrieved My Life’ and was originally from somewhere up north, so that seemed to help him help me. I was very appreciative of it.
No worries.” I said shakily, and he asked, “What the heck happened back there? The driver from bus five radioed me and said you were on your way up to the corner of Severe and Lamont, but I never saw you. “I said, I don’t know yet what happened.” I was starting to feel a bit unglued, and he must’ve noticed it. He said, “Maybe you shouldn’t worry about it right now.” “I have to worry about it. I have to know how it happened, so I can try and keep it from happening again!”
As those words echoed and swirled for a moment in my head, Dave said,
“Well, I found you, and you’re ok. By the way where are you going?” I laughed nervously, and then took a breath, pushed those echoing swirling words firmly out of my mind, and asked with some alarm, “What time is it?” He told me it was a bit after eight and I began to try to figure out how to make what I needed to happen, happen. I told him of the Volunteer Appreciation Breakfast being held this morning at the center, and that I was in charge of it. I relayed to him about my plans and how proud I’d been of figuring it all out and of how very much I wanted it to succeed. “We will make it happen.” Dave reassured me, and soon we were pulling up to Food City. He wished me well as we left the bus, and I said with a bit more cheer, “We’ll be back shortly, I hope?” Dave laughed, “I’ll look for you on the next run. We’ll transfer you over and get you on your way.” After waving a final good-bye Campbell and I walked from the bus in the parking lot in to the store with no problem.
When we reached the service desk, I was pleased to see that Campbell had made not one mistake. I praised him well, and then said, “Down.” He lay down with no complaint and I patted his head saying, “You’re a very obedient dog. I have not one idea what I’d do without you.” Turning my attention to the girl at the counter I was pleased to see that my breakfast sandwiches I’d ordered from the deli were there, and the gift card they’d donated to pay for it as well. I sent my shopping assistant for a couple of bottles of soda and soon had it all paid for, a new value card, and Campbell and I were on our way. Because we’d worked so hard and been through a bit of upset earlier, I let Campbell rest and allowed the assistant to lead me from the store. Once outside, I assured him I was ok, and that the driver would signal me when he returned. When he pulled up there were several of us standing there and we walked out together. Campbell worked flawlessly, and I was pleased to see that although I would be a few minutes late, rather than early as I’d originally hoped, I would make it. Then just as I was settling us in for the ride I remembered the donation at Burger King. I was furious with myself. I’d picked that very darn location so I could get them both at the same time. The Burger King was literally just across the way from the grocery. “How darn stupid am I?” I asked no one in particular. “What’s wrong?” Dave asked, “I forgot to pick up my donations at Burger King!” I exclaimed. He said nothing, and I knew there was nothing to do for it. I could not go back. I called my supervisor Lynn and explained that I had the sandwiches and drinks, and could he please get ice and the donation from Burger King. I told him nothing of the trouble I’d had. I decided that story could be told and probably retold at the breakfast if that was, I ever made it there.
Finally, we were at the station and transferring back to our regular bus five route and headed toward work. As I sat thinking I began to piece the morning’s events back together. I was starting to get a vague idea of what may have gone wrong and had resolved to try and figure it all out soon. I did not want this happening again.
When we reached our stop I said, “Thanks for all your help today. You drivers are fantastic.” “We try. You have a fantastic day now, ok?” I smiled as I left the bus with King Campbell wagging happily by my side. Through it all he’d kept his calm happy self focused on working and helping me. When we’d begun to get the hang of what the driver of that garbage truck had needed us to do to get us to where we’d needed to be, he’d wagged till I’d thought his body would break in half. He’d all but been wagging from his waste back. I was glad to see that to Campbell work was work, and that he loved it whether we knew where the hell we were going or no. He was just awesome, and as we made our way inside and to the elevator, I was prouder to have him than ever.
When the elevator stopped on our floor and the doors opened, Campbell shot forward excitedly with me jogging to keep up. “Yea Campbell!” I cheered softly, and we went quick as lightning to the door. As we entered the warmth of the office and everyone’s happy greetings surrounded us it made the edges of the horror that morning begin to fade. Soon we were telling our tail and setting up the remaining things. After a quick check in the phone room and chat with those volunteers working and hanging out in there Campbell and I settled in to our places for a few minutes. Campbell seemed more than happy to be in his big fluffy bed, and I was glad enough to simply stand and set up my computer. It helped get some normal routine back to what had for a while been a very confusing morning. After spending a few more minutes in the phone room chatting with the volunteer on the phone desk we made our way in to the conference room where most everyone was gathered. It was nice to sit down and some of the volunteers who weren’t in the phone room when I had told of our calamity asked me what had happened. Laughing, I retold the tale, and, as I finished up, I said “Well, I won’t have any trouble having my column Campbell’s Calamities for this week. A few asked me about that, and soon we were deep in conversation about books, movies, writing acting and having a fantastic visit.
All too soon, the breakfast was over, and it was time to get to the work of the day.
Once we’d helped to set the conference room back to right and made certain all was back in place in the break room, it was time to schedule shifts, and tie up loose ends on the Pancake Breakfast, and Book sale fundraiser happening at the end of the month.
Before we knew it, the day was ending, and Campbell and I were off to go and cash my paycheck and head to the house. I was looking forward to a little R&R with my friends and family and a New Year’s Eve celebration. Little did I know that our calamities were far from over.
When we got to the station the driver of bus five asked Dave to assist me on to his bus. Chuckling Dave asked, “Haven’t I done enough today?” The driver of bus five and I both said “NO!” We all laughed, and Campbell and I ran quick like down the ramp and dropping the harness handle I reached and took his arm. I was tired, the bus station parking lot was noisy, and I was happy to heal my dog and walk for a while with someone else.
“Now, listen you’re gonna have to behave yourself for a while, ok? I’m getten too old for all this work.” Dave teased as he settled us on the bus. He started down the ramp and turning back he asked, “How was your breakfast?” “It went well. Thanks for helping me make that happen. At least no one can say I don’t get my job done cause I don’t have a car.”
“I have no idea who would be that dumb but if someone wants to try and say that, you just send’em to Yankee Dave.” He had a smile in his voice as he walked away.
I sighed, and then had to laugh as I thought of what it might be like to stand hidden in a corner somewhere and listen to that Yankee give those on Contact Concern’s board of directors a piece of his mind concerning whether or not I could do my job effectively considering my “circumstances.”
I’d recently had a conversation with my supervisor concerning my finding a full-time assistant for myself, and when I’d given him a couple of names I was considering, he’d said no to both. When I’d asked why he’d said, “It is the opinion of some on the board that the assistant of the volunteer coordinator must have a car, and there has also been some question of your lack of transportation during night and weekend events.” Still to the day of this writing that makes me seethe with anger. I had never failed to do my job due to my “Lack of transportation”
Coming into the knowledge of the feelings of the board had been the beginning of the end of my reign as Volunteer Coordinator at Contact Concern. As I sit reworking this story and think back to what I earlier wrote about being glad for my computer’s mega meltdown, Once again I give thanks. The upset I felt at the time of the writing of that long ago manuscript where my leaving that job is concerned has eased and while it still angers me to think about someone’s daring to state that I didn’t adequately do my job due to my “lack of night and weekend transportation” There were many mistakes made on both sides during that now long ago time and I can honestly say that though it was a hurtful time for me due to how it all took place, looking back I realize that in the end my leaving that position really was the best for all concerned. It’s another of those times where the more you stir, the more it stinks.
But, back to my tale.
After the drivers had taken their break, and everyone had transferred to their needed busses, we were off again. When we finally reached Food City, I was a bit more relaxed. We entered the store with no trouble but about half way to the service desk someone spoke directly to Campbell. That has been the only drawback to our becoming well known about town. People forget. They don’t mean to distract us. I don’t get really upset and angry about it, and I’m not rude to people unless I must be. I don’t feel people are malicious about it and I don’t have much trouble with it, but on this day, someone’s having spoken to him distracted him and even though I brought him quickly back in to focus on me the damage was done. We’d passed the desk and I’d not noticed it because there had been no one there. Once I realized we’d done so I turned us around. Still not able to pick up an audio clue as to exactly where the desk was from where I was, I decided that to wonder round in circles would only serve to make Campbell more confused, and me upset again. I was feeling just a tad frustrated with the entire situation when one of the staff walked up. “Hi, Patty, do you need some help?” I sighed with relief. “Yeah someone talked to Campbell and he decided to go labben.” We laughed at that and it cut the tension. Realizing it had been a hard day for Campbell too, I decided we’d just get over it and move on.
Back at the desk we took care of cashing my pay check and then made our way back outside to wait for the bus. While there we ran in to the man we’d talked to back before Christmas while waiting at the stop and when he told me the bus was coming, I assumed it was already in the parking lot and started forward. Campbell not yet having seen the bus did not know what I wanted of him, and that along with yet another person talking to him once again he became distracted, and again we were off course. Now I was aggravated to say the least. I turned round, listening for the sound of the bus. I had to stop and think for a moment about which bus Dave was driving because some were gas powered and some were Diesel, and this made their motors sound different. I stood listening; I wanted to hear either the bus or sounds from the store. I suddenly couldn’t determine one sound from another. There was a lot of traffic and I felt I was facing the wrong way.
Just then a man getting out of a nearby car asked, “Miss, do you need some help?” I sighed; this was seriously getting old.
“Yes sir, please? I am trying to catch the bus.” The man quickly turned round and waved at Dave who was driving up as he did so. “Well, that was good timing.” Dave said in an upbeat voice, but I could hear worry just underneath. It was absolutely not like me and Campbell to be so off track, and a couple of times in one day had everyone including me wondering what the hell was going on. As we got on, I thanked yet another perfect stranger for helping me out and sighing dejectedly I sat myself and Campbell back in to our regular place, buckled my seat belt and closed my eyes.
“OK Redneck, I’m getting tired of runnin’ round looking for you all day.” Dave teased. I sighed, “Sorry dude, I…” I trailed off. How could I explain how I felt? I was just tired out, and for whatever reason felt disoriented. Nothing seemed right. “I’m going home and drink till I pass out.” I grumbled. He chuckled to himself and then in a more serious tone, “Make sure you eat a little bit first.” I smiled, “It’s ok Dave, I doubt my going home and getting totally sloshed tonight. Then again, I don’t know. It’s been one hell of a day.” “Just be careful and don’t do too much.
When we reached our stop, as Campbell and I left the bus I declared, “Thanks dude, I won’t bother you again till the next time.” He laughed, “It’s all good, ok?” I gave a thumbs up and waved, then we were off. We walked easily with one another down to the first street corner. Things seemed clearer to me now and I was pretty sure I knew what had gone wrong during the morning trip to the bus stop that wasn’t.
I resolved that before the weekend was over, I’d have us rework the whole thing from beginning to end and make damn sure that we were able to do it with no problem. For now, I simply wanted to get us home, and inside for a while. I was long overdue for some food, and that drink I wanted earlier was starting to look better and better than ever.
As we crossed Garden Drive and headed for home I felt proud of one thing, troubled or no our day had been successful. We had gotten to work, our breakfast had been enjoyed by all who had attended, and we were back home safe and sound.
Later as the drinks and food from the evening began to do their own magik I began to totally relax and drifted in the comfort of my family and memories for a while, letting the cares of the day slip in to the past. ***
Author’s Note) A couple of days after the incident written of above, I learned that one of the reasons for my disorientation was due to one of my Bipolar medication levels being slightly off. This is yet another reason for my writing. I very much long for all to realize the challenges a person with multiple disabilities such as mine face every day.
Well, there you are, another great story with a happy ending.
I wish I could sit here and put in happy story after happy story, and honestly if I looked through my hundreds of documents, blog posts, etc. I could indeed find quite a few. But there are some other things I’d really like to share with you. As I’ve stated throughout this book one of the main reasons I write is to help persons understand me and how I work. I want to try to help persons who do not suffer from multiple disabilities understand what it is to have to live with them all wrapped into one package. Unfortunately to do this I must talk about a few more dark times in my life as well.
That having been said, in our next episode I’m going to jump forward a bit in the chain of events in my life and share with you a story concerning a Bipolar episode I found myself in late summer of 2015.
For now I thank you for reading and if you’d like to go back to read any previous stories you’ve missed you may see: https://campbellsworld.wordpress.com/2019/02/08/an-explosion-of-storiesprologue-and-story-1-hurricane-mania/And: https://campbellsworld.wordpress.com/2019/02/09/an-explosion-of-stories-part-2-solstice-and-the-slow-awakening/
Have a great day and remember you’re the only one who can make it that way.