Jill had a big day planned. Her children, and grandchildren, were all coming tomorrow for Christmas. She had six children, all married, and her whole clan now numbered 22. Their house was not large, and they filled it. At nights the floors were covered with children from end to end.
The annual Christmas event was one of the highlights of her year. And today was one of her favorite parts. She would put on her Christmas music, light the tree, and begin the serious work of Christmas baking. Everyone did something on Christmas, and the cookies were hers.
She had gotten all of her ingredients out onto the table, and someone was singing about sleigh bells in the background, when she heard a horrendous noise. She looked out her window and saw a little white car in her front yard, wrapped around their big oak tree. There was a figure slumped over the steering wheel. She went to the phone,
“911. Please state your emergency.”
“There's been an accident!”
“Yes ma'am. Does there seem to be anyone hurt?”
“Yes, there is someone in the car, and they're not moving.”
“Yes ma'am. Is your address 1056 Cottonwood drive?”
“Yes, yes it is, oh hurry...”
“Help is on the way, ma'am.”
Jill put down the phone... too upset to even get it on the hook on the first try. She grabbed her coat from next to the door, and hurried out.
Sure enough, there was someone slumped in the front seat. It was a woman, she looked to be about 20. But, in the back... why it was a car seat! And a little one in the seat, all covered with blood and glass.
She knew she could do nothing for the woman, the car was so mangled that that door surely wouldn't open. And besides, she knew you weren't supposed to move the victim unless you had to, because of a fire or something. But the back door would open. And she must get the child out. He... she... she couldn't tell which; was not dressed for this weather, and the car had no windshield left. The child would freeze.
She went around and pulled at the door. It stuck, and then opened. She fumbled at the straps on the car seat. She had never used these things when her children were small, and even now, with her grandchildren, sh had problems with them. And this car seat was all over blood. At least the child was alive. It was crying, and even hitting at her. She ignored that, she knew how children were when they were stressed.
By the time the police arrived, the child was asleep, wrapped in her arms in a blanket. The blood had all come from a wound on his scalp, and she had had time to put a bandage on, change his clothes, and wrap him in a blanket. EMS arrived moments later, along with the Fire Department, and they began working on getting the woman out of the mangled car. One of the paramedics had interviewed her, and looked the child over. The wound was obviously superficial, made by a piece of flying glass.
Some time later Jill and a policeman watched a helicopter fly out with the injured woman. Then the policeman turned to her,
'Ma'am, I've called the child's father, and he is going to go straight to the hospital where they are taking his wife. But I have a question for you. Could you, that is, would you mind coming with me to the hospital? The child, his name is Nathan, has had some time to get to know you, seems happy with you, and after the accident I would rather not traumatize him...” She cut him off.
“Certainly officer, if you would permit that, I would be glad to” So together they got a car seat out of her car, and they left for the 50 mile trip to the trauma center in his police cruiser.
That same officer, a very nice man, had just brought her home, she had fixed herself some hot chocolate, and was sitting in her chair going over the events of the day, when her husband walked in. Hanging up his jacket, he saw the mess she had left at the kitchen table. Remembering what she had said her plans were for the day, he asked,
“So. How did the Christmas baking go?”
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