I met, or I should say encountered, Jeremy the first time under unusual conditions. He is a former soldier with 13 years of service and 3 tours in Afghanistan and PTSD. He was working across the street as a carpenter's helper on a remodeling project. He was one of the first to arrive to help. His manner when he got to the scene was one of caring and concern and reassurance that it would be alright. His voice was filled with competent authority. The others on the scene readily accepted his authoritative leadership and allowed him to do what he knew was necessary.One of the others was the woman and her daughter who occupied the cottage in front. She (let's call her Mary) was closest to the scene and responded to the pleas for help upon hearing the first cry. She was tenderly concerned, but out of her depth in that situation. Still, she exuded a calming tenderness. By the time Jeremy was there to take over, Mary was relieved to hand control of it off to someone else. In the "it's a small world" category, it turns out that (Mary) is from Greenfield originally and her brother, who lived just a few blocks away from us and from whom we almost bought replacement windows in the old house, has two sons, the oldest of whom was a classmate of our son in high school. But I digress.
Meanwhile, as Jeremy was assessing the situation, another passerby (we'll call him David) noticed the commotion and stepped into his official mode as a former paramedic and now anesthesiologist. He checked vital signs while Jeremy checked for broken bones. When both were satisfied that all was ok, David took his leave allowing Jeremy to maintain vigilance and control until the wife (let's call her Mary) arrived from the beach after one of the good Samaritans called her, using the contact list in the phone found at the scene.
By now you must be wondering how I know all this. I was the central character, the star, in the drama. I broke all the rules that my physical therapist, my occupational therapist, and most important of all, my wife had laid down for me.
One of those rules prohibited my carrying ANYTHING, EVER, even when using my cane or walker, because my lack of balance was gone and carrying anything exacerbated the danger of my falling down. But I figured I was stronger and more coordinated than I was. How stupid. So I loaded a beach chair, a towel, a bag of chips (we will leave the discussion of my poor eating habits for another time), my iPad, and a cane into my arms and set off to join Mary on the beach. I was doing fine until I had to maneuver around a tree which was growing in the middle of the walkway between the cottage wall and fence. Something I was carrying got snagged by that tree which, of course, caused me to lose what little balance I still have.
I went down hard. I reached for the fence, but missed. I broke the fall with my face, but managed not to break my sunglasses, my nose or anything else. All that yelling for help came from me, of course. The funny thing is that I never opened my eyes to see who was helping me. I attribute that to a possible slight concussion. I couldn't get up and walk. I was too woozy and lightheaded and still hadn't opened my eyes. Mary, of course, couldn't help me up and certainly couldn't carry me back into the cottage. So once again Jeremy picked me up,flung me over his shoulder like a rag doll, and carried me into the cottage and deposited me on the couch.The remainder of the day was spent with me on the couch where Mary cleaned up the scratches on my face and leg and lectured me about those rules I am supposed to follow.
The next day all I wanted to do was sleep. And so I did until late afternoon. I was determined to find and thank all those wonderful people who answered my cries for help. I found them all and gave them my heartfelt gratitude. I especially wanted to find Jeremy whose army training had prepared him for such an occurrence. Everyday as I walk down the street, he hails me from the work site to ask how I'm doing. I believe he has become my guardian angel.
If there is a moral to this story it is follow the rules and don't plant trees in the middle of the walkway.