By Linda Taggatz & Melissa Dillard.

 

 

It was a rainy October day. His grandma once told him that rain was just angels crying. He was 10 and his little sister, Elizabeth was only a few months old. He looked at his dad. His dad’s face was strained and weary looking. His grandma was holding the baby. Silently he joined the angels in their crying.

 

It had started on the first day of school. His mom was going to pick him up after school. She planned to spend that Saturday afternoon with him. She sensed that he was feeling neglected after Elizabeth was born. It was true to a degree; she needed a lot of attention since she was just a baby. Kel was a good big brother and a big help to his mom in taking care of her. Margaret Brackett knew that and decided that Kel deserved to have her spend a whole day with just him. Grandma could take care of Elizabeth for the day. Grandma had taken Kel for a few days when she was born.

 

About midday, the principal came into the room and spoke to the teacher. Mrs. Bell then came up to his desk.

 

“Kel,” she said gently, “I’d like you to go with Mr. Franklin.”

 

“Where to?”

 

“His office.” Replied Mrs. Bell.

 

“Did I do something wrong?”

 

“No.”

 

Puzzled, Kel gathered everything up and put things where they belonged.

 

As Kel followed Mr. Franklin out of the room, Mr. Franklin said, “You’ll need your jacket.”

 

Kel grabbed his jacket. Still puzzled, he followed Mr. Franklin. When they arrived at the office, Kel saw his grandmother there.

 

“What are you doing here, Grandma?”

 

“Kel,” she said gently, “your mom was seriously hurt in an accident. She’d gone grocery shopping. Another car hit hers and sent it into a spin, and it got hit again.”

 

Kel was stunned. He couldn’t believe what he was hearing. He looked at his grandmother and asked, “How is she, Grandma?”

 

She put her hands on his shoulders and said gently, “According to the doctors, your mother is in a deep coma. They’re not hopeful that she’ll ever come out of it. Your father is waiting at the hospital. He needs you.”

 

As hard as he tried, Kel just couldn’t understand what his grandmother was saying.

 

“Grandma, what do they mean by a deep coma?”

 

“Sweetheart, it means that she’s sleeping really, really hard, and it means that the Lord will probably come and take her from us.”

 

Kel just stood there. It didn’t make sense. One minute his mother could be there, and then the next never be there again. ‘NO!he thought, ‘that’s NOT fair!’  Suddenly, Kel thought of his baby sister.

 

“Grandma, was Elizabeth with momma?”

 

“No, darling. She was with me this morning. Your aunt Lindsay is taking care of her right now.”

 

Kel put his jacket on and left with his grandma. He got in the car and sat between his grandparents. He started to cry, but stopped. Men don’t cry in public. It was something he’d heard since he was old enough to remember. Well, he wasn’t a man yet he was still a boy. The tears then came unbidden. His grandma held him as he cried. They finally arrived at the hospital. Kel dried his eyes before they went in. He didn’t want his dad to see that he’d been crying.

 

They went to the ICU. Kel saw his father sitting outside of his mother’s room. Kel thought his dad looked so sad and worn out. His father looked up and tried to smile when he saw Kel. Kel ran to his father and hugged him hard.

 

“Daddy how’s momma? Is she going to wake up soon and come home?”

 

“I don’t know, Kel. We’ll just have to wait and see.” His dad replied.

 

Kel looked through the window at his mom. A few hours ago, she was sending him off to school. Now she was hooked up to a bunch of tubes and wires. He was wondering what all those tubes and wires were for.

 

“Grandma, what are all those things and why is momma hooked up to them?”

 

His grandma didn’t know. He was afraid to ask his dad that question. He saw a nurse and stopped her. “Excuse me, ma’am,” he said, “could you please tell me what all those things are and what they’re for?”

 

The nurse smiled and said, “I’d be happy to tell you.” She answered his question in words he’d understand. When she was done, he said “Thank you, ma’am.”

 

“You’re welcome.” She went on her way. ‘What a polite boy.’ She thought.

 

Several hours later, the doctor went in to check on her. A few minutes later, he came out again. Kel studied the doctor’s face. Kel thought the doctor had a kind face.

 

“I’m sorry,” said the doctor sadly. “There’s no change in her condition.”

 

His dad asked, “Is there anything more that can be done for her?”

 

“No,” replied the doctor. “We’re doing everything we know how for her. She’s in God’s hands now.”

 

Those words echoed in Kel’s mind, along with ‘Thy will be done…’ Right now, Kel wasn’t sure what God had in mind for his mom. Maybe God had something in mind for someone else in the family and this was a part of the plan. He had no way of knowing and didn’t want to try to speculate on what God had in mind here. All he could think about was his mom and how much he was starting to miss her.

 

The family tried to keep things normal. It was hard for them. Kel handled a lot of the responsibility for Elizabeth. Kel became very close to his sister. He continued to help take care of her. Elizabeth spent the days with her grandparents. Kel continued going to school and Neal would go to work then to the hospital when he was done. Kel joined him there as much as he could.

 

Kel and his dad were sitting with his mother when she died. She’d been in a coma for nearly a month when it happened. Kel saw the pain in his father’s face. He saw his dad cry and it broke his heart. At that moment, Kel swore to himself that he would do whatever he could to keep something like that from happening to someone else. He knew the only way he could accomplish that would be to become a doctor.

 

Kel watched his father kiss her hand, then lean over and kiss her lips for the last time saying, “I love you, Margaret and I’m sorry I couldn’t make it better. I promise I’ll do my best with Kel and Elizabeth.” He felt so sorry for his father. He went up to him and said, “Everything will be okay, daddy. I’ll make sure of it.” Neal Brackett looked at his son and smiled. He was thinking ‘I’m so glad to have him and Elizabeth.’ Neal hugged Kel and said a silent prayer. ‘Dear God, help me raise my children right, and help us deal with whatever comes next. Amen.’

 

The next year was very hard for the Bracketts. Kel’s other grandmother, on his mother’s side, tried to get Kel and Elizabeth away from their father by having him declared an unfit parent. Kel had to testify in the matter. What he said convinced the judge to leave things as they were. The judge dismissed the case, and Neal was able to keep his children. Eventually, they were able to settle into a routine. Neal worked during the day. Kel was at school. He worked very hard in school and he became an honor student. His baby sister stayed with an aunt during the day.

 

There was never a day that Kel didn’t think of his mother. He knew the day would come when he’d have to tell his dad that he decided to become a doctor. Kel directed all his studies toward that goal.

 

One day, about 5 years later, his father called him into the den to talk. He wanted to know what Kel decided to do when he got out of high school. Kel knew this day would come and he was ready for it.

 

“Dad, I decided that I want to become a doctor.”

 

“Why?” His father asked with a little bit of trepidation.

 

“I saw how hard the doctors tried to help mom after her accident. I realized then, that I wanted to help people.”

 

“Just get that notion out of your head right now!” Neal didn’t realize it, but he was yelling. “You need to be a LAWYER! That’s a BETTER profession!”

 

“Why’s that?” Kel asked, confused.

 

“Because, I think doctors are the SCUM of the earth!” Neal said with distaste.

 

Kel knew that his dad only said that because he still blamed the doctor for his wife’s death, even though there was nothing that could’ve been done to save her.

 

“Well, I’ve made up my mind. That’s what I’m going to do.”

The arguments continued. Soon it was graduation day. Kel was the valedictorian.

His speech was on the subject “Follow Your Dreams.”

 

Neal hugged his son. “I’m proud of you Kel. I wish your mother could see you now.”

 

“Thanks, dad. I think mom can see me. Do you think she’d be proud of me?”

 

Neal looked at Kel. “Yes, I think she would be. What were trying to tell me with that speech?”

 

Kel looked his dad in the eye and replied, “It doesn’t matter what you say, or how hard you try to dissuade me, I’m STILL going to become a doctor.”

 

Several days later, a fat envelope arrived for Kel. His aunt gave it to him when he came home from his summer job. It was postmarked Baltimore, Maryland, inside was the acceptance from Johns Hopkins. He hugged his aunt, and then he looked at his sister’s face, she looked so sad.

 

“What’s the matter, squirt?”

 

“Are you going away?”

 

Kel dropped to one knee, hugged her and replied, “Yes. I’m going to learn how to help people who are sick and hurt.”

 

“Are you going to learn how to make them better?”

 

Kel smiled at her. “Yes.” He looked at her and said, “I have Saturday off. Would you like to be my date for the day?”

 

Liz’s eyes lit up. She smiled and nodded. She hugged his neck and said, “I love you Kel.”

 

Kel hugged her back. “I love you too, squirt.”

 

Saturday came. Kel and Liz spent the day together. They went to the zoo. They both had a good time. Liz would miss Kel went he left to study medicine in Baltimore. Their dad was amazed at how close his two children were even though there was a ten-year age difference between them. Neal never worried about Elizabeth when she was with Kel, because Kel always looked out for her. He was a good big brother.

 

The summer passed quickly. Soon it was time for Kel to leave for Baltimore. He hugged his sister and told her to be good. He hugged his grandparents and his aunt. He hugged his dad. Neal said, “Remember our deal, Kel.”

 

“Yes, sir. If, for some reason medical school doesn’t work out, I start law school the next year.” Kel and his dad made that deal after many arguments over Kel’s decision to become a doctor. Their arguing bothered Elizabeth so much that it gave her nightmares. When Elizabeth told her dad and brother that, they quickly reached a deal.

 

Kel made the dean’s list all 4 years he was in pre med. Neal hated to admit it, but had been doing a good job so far. Kel had finished his first year of medical school and was home for the first time in 5 years. He would only be home for the summer. One day, about 2 weeks after he was home, he noticed his son was pouring over textbooks. Finally, he went into the den and asked, “Are you going to study your entire summer vacation?”

 

Kel looked up and grinned sheepishly. He didn’t realize that’s what he’d been doing since he got home. “I have some things I want to check on. I’m not going to be home as long as I thought I would.”

 

“How come?” Neal asked.

 

“There’s a summer program that starts early for second year students. I thought I’d take advantage of it, plus I’d be able to get a jump on a rotation schedule.”

 

Neal looked at Kel fondly. “Do you realize your face lights up when you talk about this medicine business?”  Kel blushed. His father said, “I realize now why you started asking that nurse all those questions when your mother was in the ICU. I thought it was because you didn’t want to be near her. Then I realized it was your way of coping and trying to understand what was happening with your mom. I’m very proud of you son, and your mother would be too.”

 

“Thanks.” Said Kel in a very husky tone. It was the first good talk that he and his father had in a very long time. It was hard to believe it had been 7 years since he told his father he was going to go to medical school. He still had 2 years of high school left at the time.

 

“Does Elizabeth know that you’re not going to be home long?”

 

“No. I have to find her and tell her. Dad, is she okay? She seems more preoccupied than ever.”

 

“She won’t talk to me, Kel. I can’t seem to get through to her. You were the only one she’d talk to and when you’re gone this house is awfully quiet.” Neal said sadly.

 

Kel started feeling guilty and his father sensed it. “Kel, don’t feel guilty for following your dreams.” Kel hugged his dad.

 

“Dad, I decided to become a doctor when I saw the pain in your face after mom died. When things get tough, I remember the way mom looked in the ICU and the look on your face after she died. That’s what keeps me going.”

 

Kel spent some time with Elizabeth while he was home. He told her what he told his dad about the summer session. She was somewhat disappointed that he wouldn’t be home longer.

 

He even visited Mrs. Bell. She was thrilled to see him. He surprised her. He took her out to lunch. They had a nice visit.

 

“It was so nice of you to take me out for lunch. You didn’t have to do this, Kel.”

 

He looked at her and said, “Yes I did. It’s my way of saying ‘thank you’.”

 

Mrs. Bell was puzzled. “For what?”

 

“Helping me through the loss of my mom. You were an angel when I needed one most. I’ve never forgotten that and never will. I had to visit you while I was home for the summer.”

 

Mrs. Bell started to cry. It was the nicest thing a former student had ever said to her. “When do you leave again?”

 

“In a few weeks. There’s a summer session starting in July. I’ll be here until just after the fourth.”

 

Kel and Mrs. Bell talked about other things too. They had a lot to catch up on. Mrs. Bell would always be special to him and he told her that. After lunch, Kel drove her home. He hugged her, made sure she got inside okay, and then he went home.

 

Kel spent more time with Elizabeth. He spent a great deal of time with his dad too. When the fourth of July came, the family had a picnic. Elizabeth had invited a girl friend to join them. Elizabeth still felt somewhat sad. She knew that Kel would be leaving again in a few days, and she would miss him terribly.

 

Kel started the summer session. He found he loved it more the second year than he did the first. He was making some good friends too. One day, about 2 weeks into the summer session, he got a phone call from his aunt.

 

“Hi, Aunt Jean, what’s up?”

 

“Kel, it’s Elizabeth!” his aunt said through tears.

 

“What’s wrong with Elizabeth?” Kel asked in a husky tone.

 

“She’s run away. Officer Crockett asked us where she might go. The only place we could think of was that she might be going to see you.”

 

“Okay. When she gets here, we’ll have a good, long talk.”

 

“About what?”

 

“Whatever she wants to talk about. Did dad ever tell her what happened to mom?”

 

“No, he didn’t.”

 

Kel sighed. “I’ll have to talk to her about that too. She needs to know.”

 

“She’s been feeling left out of things at school.”

 

“In what way?

 

“It’s when they have mother daughter events. When she asks if she can bring her grandma instead, she’s told no and some of the other kids make fun of her for that. It makes her cry.”

 

“Has she talked to dad about it?”

 

“No, in fact, we have a hard time getting her to tell us anything. I heard about it from her friend Mary. You met her at the picnic. She’s worried about Elizabeth.”

 

‘I’m glad she has a friend like that. I worry about her too.”

“I know you do. Your father is really worried about her too.”

 

“I’m sure he is. Tell dad I’ll take care of her when she gets here.”

 

“Thanks, Kel. We love you.”

 

“I love you too.”

 

The call ended. His next class was going to start in 15 minutes. He got his books and went to class. He encountered his roommate Jack on the way. Kel told Jack what was happening. Jack agreed to give them all the privacy they needed.

 

“Thanks, Jack. I appreciate that.”

 

“It’s no problem Kel. I have a younger sister too.”

 

Kel went to his class. Jack temporarily moved out in order to give Kel the privacy he would need. Several days later, he got a phone call. It was Elizabeth calling from the bus station. He called his aunt to say Elizabeth had gotten to town. After that, he picked her up.

 

“Hey, squirt, what are you doing here?”

 

“I need someone to talk to.” She replied sadly.

 

“You can talk to dad.”

 

“How can I?” She wailed. “He doesn’t understand me!”

 

That night they had a long talk. They talked about how hard the last several years had been on their dad. Kel told her about how the other grandma tried to have their dad declared an unfit parent. He also told her what had happened to their mom.

 

Liz started to cry. “Why don’t remember her?”

 

“You were only four months old when she died. There isn’t a day that I don’t miss her. She used to sing while she did the housework. She used to help me with my homework.”

 

“Like you helped me with mine?”

 

“Yeah. Do you know what else I miss?”

“What?” Liz was eager to hear what Kel had to say.

 

“I miss her reading to me every night. I miss her scolding dad and I for eating the peanut butter right out of the jar. I want to show you something.”

 

Liz watched him as he went to a drawer and took out a picture. He showed it to her.

 

“What’s this?”

 

“A family picture. It was taken the summer before mom died. Grandma took it. She gave me a copy of it. Dad is holding you there. I remember how proud he looked that day. I also remember how excited he got when mom told him she was expecting you. I got excited at the news that I was going to be a big brother. I also remember how excited and proud he was the day you were born. He LOVES you Liz. He always has.”

 

They had several long talks over the next 3 weeks. One day, Liz told him she was ready to go home. Kel made her call home so they’d know she was coming.

 

“When you get home, you need to talk to dad. Tell him you want to talk, and tell him whatever is on your mind.”

 

“What if it’s a girl thing?”

 

“Then you can talk to Aunt Lindsay, Aunt Jean or Grandma about it. They understand about girl things.”

 

“Can I still talk to you?”

 

“I’ll always be just a phone call away.”

 

“I joined the photography club at school. I really enjoy it.”

 

Liz showed him some of the pictures she’d taken. Kel was impressed.

 

“Thanks for showing me around Baltimore. It gave me a chance to get some interesting pictures. I think my best pictures will be the ones I took at Fort McHenry. I found the place interesting and the experience was educational. Kel, I really enjoy taking pictures! I WANT to do that for a living.”

 

“If that’s your dream, don’t be afraid to follow it.”

“Are you following your dream, Kel?” Asked Liz.

 

“Yes, I am. You’ll have an easier time following your dream than I did.”

 

“I remember. You two argued so much it gave me nightmares. I was glad when you and dad reached that agreement.”

 

He took Liz to the bus station. He bought her return ticket. He hugged her before she left. He told her to call when she got home. He made sure she got on the bus. He said that if he wasn’t there she could leave a message. He also said that she should tell their dad what she had told him. She agreed. About a week later, she called him to say that she got home okay, and that she was going to have a long talk with their dad.

 

The next 2 years passed quickly, before he knew it, graduation day had arrived. Kel graduated with high honors. He had made the Dean’s list every year he had been there. He had been through 8 years of school. He didn’t know where he would be going next. He found out shortly after the graduation ceremony. He was handed an envelope containing his residency assignment.

 

“Are you just going to stand there, or are you going to open it?”

 

Kel looked up and saw his dad standing there. He opened the envelope. He couldn’t believe his eyes! The look on his face was priceless! Liz took a picture of it. Kel knew that things were going a lot better between Liz and their dad. He was happy about that.

 

“Well, where are you going?” asked Liz.

 

Kel looked at her and their dad and replied slowly, “I’m going to Minnesota.”

 

“What’s in Minnesota?” asked Neal.

 

“The Mayo clinic. That’s where I’ll be doing my residency.”

 

Neal hugged Kel. Liz caught the moment on film.

 

“When do you start there?” asked Neal.

 

“September. I’ll be home for the summer.”

 

“What’ll you do during that time?” asked Liz.

 

“I’m going to spend part of the time at the public library. I want to find something out about Minnesota. I did the same thing before I went to medical school. I like to know something about where I’m going, especially if it’s someplace I’ve never been before.” Kel answered.

 

Kel looked at Liz. He had a hard time believing his little sister was going to graduate high school in another year. She had grown up so much since he first left home. He was thinking ‘She’s grown into a beautiful young woman. The picture of momma.”

 

 Kel hugged Liz. He whispered in her ear, “I see you and dad are getting along better. You two must’ve talked.”

 

“Yes, we did, thanks to you. Liz was beaming. “I almost forgot to tell you, I used my pictures of Fort McHenry as part of a history report. My teacher was so impressed that I got an A+ on that report. He asked me where I got the pictures. I was honest and told him that I took them. I’ve also been elected president of the photography club. Will you be able to come to my high school graduation?”

 

“Maybe.” Kel couldn’t promise Liz that he would come, but he didn’t want to let her down on one of the most important days of her life. “I should be done with my first year by then.”

 

Kel was home for the summer. He spent a great deal of time at the library researching Minnesota. When it was time for him to leave, Liz was sad to see him go. She really loved Kel. They were very close.

 

Kel finished his first year of residency in time to attend Liz’s graduation. Before he left Minnesota, he called his dad. Liz was out with her friend Mary.

 

“Dad, what should I get Liz for graduation?”

 

“Don’t get her a camera, I’m getting that for her.”

 

“Okay. Do you think she’d like a tripod?”

 

“That’s a great idea! I think she’d love it. Can you get one?”

 

“I’ll ask Ted. He’s my roommate and friend. I’ll see you soon, bye.”

 

Ted came in just as Kel ended the call. Kel told Ted about the call and what he had in mind. Ted agreed to help him. Ted knew a good place to get a tripod. Kel bought one and asked the clerk to wrap it up. Kel told the clerk it was going to have to travel a long way. Kel took Ted out to lunch to thank him for the help.

 

“Ted, are you sure you don’t mind driving me to the airport?”

 

“Kel, my family lives close to there. It’s not out of my way to drop you off on my way home.”

 

“Thanks, Ted.”

 

Kel packed to go home. He wanted to be there for Liz. It was important to him. The next day Ted drove him to the airport, and wished him a safe trip. Kel told him to have a nice visit with his family. The last thing either one said to the other was “See you next fall.” Kel checked his suitcase and the tripod. He was directed to the gate. He took seat and waited for the flight to be called. When it was, Kel took his seat. A lady sat next to him.

 

“Hello.” She said.

 

Kel looked at her and replied, “Hello, ma’am.”

 

The plane took off. Kel and the lady chatted during the flight. By the time the plane landed, Kel and the lady had become friends, even though she was several years older than he was. Her husband met her; his dad and grandma met Kel. He hugged them. They were so happy to see him.

 

Kel attended Liz’s graduation. Liz was thrilled with the camera their dad gave her. She was surprised when she saw the tripod. She hugged her dad and Kel.

 

“I have something to tell you Kel. I have a photography scholarship to UCLA. I start in September. Dad was so proud when he found out I was accepted. He agrees with you that I need to follow my dreams.”

 

September came too quickly for Neal. Liz was packed and gone to UCLA as of yesterday. Kel was leaving that afternoon. Neal sighed. ‘This’ll be the first time I’ve been in this house without the kids since my sweetheart died. It’s really going to be lonely.’ Kel was watching his father closely. He had an idea what his father was thinking. He came up from behind and hugged his father. The last several years had brought Kel and his father closer. Kel’s dad drove him to the airport. Ted picked him up at the other end.

 

Kel continued his residency at Mayo. He soon became known as a hard worker and a quick learner. He took advantage of the opportunity to do an externship, which fell during the summers. He was sent to an Indian reservation in Montana. There he learned a lot about medicine and about Indian culture. He stayed with a very nice family. They treated him like one of their own.

 

Kel finished his residency. He became a medical jack-of-all-trades and master of them all. When he finished his residency, he was offered a position in the Emergency room at Rampart General hospital in suburban Los Angeles, California. He accepted. He would be closer to his family.

 

One day, about 6 months later, Kel decided to surprise his dad and take him to lunch. Kel ended up being surprised. There was a ‘FOR SALE’ sign in the front yard. He went in and asked his dad about it.

 

“Kel, this house has been so lonely since you and Liz have been gone. It’s even lonelier without your mother. I always thought that we’d grow old together, but that wasn’t meant to be. I miss having someone my own age around to talk to. You and Liz have your own lives now. I need to live mine too. I love you both and I’m very proud of you both.”

 

Kel hugged his dad. “I understand. There are lots of memories of mom here too.”

 

“I’ll always have them. I can’t and won’t forget her. She’ll always be with me. She lives on in you and Liz.”

 

Kel smiled. “She’ll always be with me too.”

 

“Kel, why did you come today?”

 

“I want to take you to lunch.”

 

They went to lunch. They talked about many things. Neal eventually sold the house to a young fireman and his wife. They were just starting out. She loved the house, she felt the house was full of love and would be a nice house to raise a family in. Liz and Kel got the rest of their things out of the house before closing. Their dad moved into a nice apartment in a seniors building. Neal gave Kel a set of keys, one was to the building, another was to his apartment and the third was for the mailbox. Kel gave his dad a spare set of keys to his own place. Neal met many nice people at his new place, and made many new friends.

 

Within 2 years, Kel was the top candidate to take over the E.R. from a retiring Dr. Cannon.

 

“Kel, could I see you in my office please?” asked Dr. Cannon.

 

Kel went into Dr. Cannon’s office.

 

“Shut the door then sit down.” Said Dr. Cannon.

 

Kel complied. He didn’t know what was going to happen next.

 

“Kel, I’ve been watching you for two years now. I’m very impressed with you.”

 

“Thank you.” Said Kel.

 

“Your welcome. Based on what I’ve seen, I’m going to recommend that you be named as my replacement when I retire. I feel you’re the right choice to be the next Director of Emergency Medicine here at Rampart. I feel you’re the one who can take this department to a new level. Are you interested?”

 

Kel was stunned! “YES!” he replied.

 

“Good. I’ll notify administration tomorrow. I’ll make the official announcement after administration approves. I’ll ease you into the position. You take over at the end of the year.”

 

Kel went over to his dad’s that night. Kel was still stunned by what had happened that day. His dad was proud of him.

 

The end of the year finally came. Kel had been at Rampart for 3 years. This was his first day as department head. He was a little nervous. Sam Cannon took him aside and said, “Don’t worry, I felt the same way when I got this job. Relax; you’ll do a great job. I have every confidence in you. I’ll be here until the end of the day if you have any questions. After that, call me only if you really need to.”

 

“Thanks, Sam. I’ll do my best.” Said Kel.

 

Kel quickly built a solid reputation in his field. The legislative committee that was considering the paramedic bill noticed his reputation. He was reluctant to testify for it. He later relented and gave the bill the push it needed to pass.

 

About 2 years later, Neal was brought in as a patient. Kel was surprised to see him there. He needed surgery and Kel worried about him. During that time, Neal told him he was glad Kel was so stubborn, and recalled how hard he’d tried to talk Kel into becoming a lawyer.

 

They both laughed. Kel told him he was unable to get Liz on the phone. Neal said “She’s in Africa on assignment for LIFE magazine. She was really tickled to get the job. Kelly, please don’t bother her with my illness unless it gets worse Okay?” Kel looked at his father and agreed to his request.

 

The next day Neal was taken to surgery. Kel watched and worried during the surgery. Joe Early stayed close to Kel during that time. ‘It’s good to have friends during this crisis’ thought Kel.

 

The surgery was a success. His dad was eventually moved from recovery to the ICU for the night. Kel looked at his dad with the utmost love on his face. He touched his dad’s hand gently, making sure he didn’t disturb the IV’s. He leaned over and whispered, “I love you dad.” into his father’s ear. He felt someone tap him on his shoulder; he looked up and saw Dixie standing there. She said, “Come on, let’s get some coffee. If there’s a problem, the ICU nurses will call.” He grinned at her sheepishly, “They called you didn’t they?” Dixie just grinned and nodded.

 

His father was released several weeks later. Kel and his dad went camping at a place that Johnny suggested. It was great being together. It was something they didn’t do very often. Liz joined them halfway through the week. It was the first real outing they had together since they were kids. Neal looked at both his kids with pride and said,  “Your mother would be so proud of how you both turned out. I know I am.”

 

A year later, Kel was in a car accident. He lay in his bed and realized how precious life is. He thought about how lucky he was to have had care on the spot. It really made wonder what might’ve happened to his mother if she had gotten the same care all those years ago when she was in the devastating accident that took her life.

He thought, ‘Thank you god for calling me into this profession, and for blessing me with the talent and know how to help people and save their lives. Please bless what I do, for it was your will that I do this. Amen.’

 

 

 

 

 

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