Monday, July 12, 2010
Things came to a head on a bitterly cold Sunday morning. I awoke at 3:15 AM with a throbbing headache and headed out into the 7-degree cold to throw my paper route. Strangely, the longer I was out, the better I felt, and by 5 or so, my headache was gone. But it had been a tough morning. I remember wrapping a paper with a rubber band...which popped in the frigidness and made my hand bleed. But around 5:30 or so, I managed to finish the route and head home. As I approached our house, I was amazed to see a car belonging to my aunt and uncle in the driveway and all the lights in our house burning.
Here is what had happened. Both parents had intense headaches during the night, such that Mom finally convinced Dad to get up and call an ambulance. Dad never made it to the phone and collapsed on the living room floor. Mom got up, stepped over Dad, grabbed the phone and called her sister, Pearl. In retrospect, she should have called for an ambulance, but I'm sure her brains were scrambled at that point. Mom told Pearl to get over ASAP, then she collapsed.
Pearl and Raymond arrived to bizarre scene of my folks sprawled unconscious on the floor and quickly summoned an ambulance. Mom, Dad, and my younger brother and sister were all taken to St. Paul Hospital, and minutes later, I rolled up with a quizzical look on my face. Here's what had happened. Our source of heat in the house was a floor furnace. Just prior to all this sickness, our house had shifted and, unbeknownst to us, disrupted the gas line feeding the furnace in some way. The silent killer, carbon monoxide, had been seeping through the house for at least a week. That explains why we all seemed to improve when we left the house during this time.
I drove to St. Paul and saw my family. I don't know what was given them by the doctors, but all were doing much better. If fact, it seems that I was able to bring everyone except my dad home. I went on to church, where it was announced that the Perkins family would need electric space heaters to get us through the next few days. The wonderful folks responded beautifully and we were able to stay in the house until the floor furnace was repaired.
It's frightening to think what might have happened had Mom not made it to the phone. Here's why. If she had collapsed before calling Pearl, I would not have seen them in the floor when I got home. My custom was to park the car, go around to the back of the house and let myself in a back door to the kitchen, then head immediately upstairs to my bedroom for an hour or so of shut-eye. That might have been enough time for the deadly, almost undetectable gas to finish off my parents and my siblings. We were very blessed that morning. And it wasn't the first nor the last time my mom's strength of will saved the day for our family.
Sunday, July 11, 2010
Tuesday, July 06, 2010
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
I'm driving a school bus for them this month, but it's not your typical summer school. It's a program called, "Each One Reach One", and the girls who participate volunteer to do so. Basically, it introduces them to the world of serving others. Here, for example, is this week's schedule:
Monday: Visited the Scottish Rite Hospital to learn about that great institution.
Tuesday: Visited Vogel Alcove, close by downtown Dallas, to become acquainted with this amazing place, a shelter for homeless children. They spent the bulk of their time there playing with these unfortunate kids.
Wednesday: Today, I dropped them off at the Dallas Farmers' Market, where they shopped for veggies. Then I took them to a residence where the veggies were transformed into a meal for 15-20. We then loaded up the food on the bus and I took them to the Preston Rd. Church of Christ, where the girls fed the women involved in a program called, "New Friends, New Lives". This program targets women who have been "rescued" from the sex industry, either as prostitutes or strippers, and are being given a new chance at being moral and productive in society.
Tomorrow: The girls will work on a "Habitat for Humanity" home.
Friday: The girls will visit a homeless shelter, learn how it operates, and give some of their time to helping out.
The day that we visited the Vogel Alcove, I asked one of the girls how she liked the experience. Her response: "This is where I want to volunteer when I'm an adult."
A remarkable school giving great kids life-changing experiences.