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By Donna Flood


Ice on the Dallas highway was a spectacle. If it wasn't so serious the act of nature would be almost a joke. A normal easy flow of traffic would be suddenly disrupted by the slick roads. Cars spinning in circles out of control struck fear into the heart of the new to the state citizens. The automobiles abandoned and off in the ditch made a statement. The always tough Texans were all at once defeated by these usually manageable roads now made impossible with a glaze over them.

Otherwise, it  was a pleasant evening. Their apartment was pleasantly warm and cozy. Dinner was on the table. The well-decorated rooms and furnishings lent themselves to the young family's time together. Rod was out front in the parking lot adding anti-freeze to the radiator of his truck. There were no garages here and it was necessary for protection from the sudden drop in temperature. My son and his friend Timmy, were playing in his room with trucks and toys on the floor. I could hear them as they joyfully pretended the miniature equipment was as good any as grown-up's.

The front door swung open.  This was a signal for me to herd Timmy home in order to get my boy washed up for dinner. One glance up at my husband's strained features and I knew something was wrong. He held both hands in front of him with one holding the other. One finger was bloody and obviously bleeding too freely.

“Oh my! Oh my! I had no idea how bad this was but it looked to be bleeding too much. While running to the bathroom for a heavy towel I was trying to control myself in order to remain calm.

“Timmy!  Timmy!  Run! Go get your Mother.”  Timmy's mother was the secretary to the Chief of Police for the city of Dallas. She was not a wimpy little woman. Fear was not in her vocabulary. She had survived a bomb being thrown into their office at work with nothing but a grin and the statement, “Lousy aim!”  If anyone could help it would be her,I believed. Her motherly manner and gentle femininity disguised the iron butterfly she really was.

While wrapping the towel in a tight bandage around Rod's finger I placed his other hand over the bleeding one for pressure. Timmy's mother was now in the door.

“I'm driving him to the hospital. Will you stay here with Rhonda and Mark. There is no way I would trust an ambulance of Texas drivers on these roads.”

Timmy's mother reassured me that all would be well there and to go on. She said she would call to have the stop lights held up for me.  All the while,  I was thinking, “Okay, but I'm sure we will be the only car out.”  This proved to be true. The wide streets were totally open. In fact I cannot remember seeing anyone else at all.

“You will have to help me on this driving.”  I was trying to keep a light chatter going because Rod looked very pale and a little like he might be in a kind of shock.

“I haven't even asked you how you did that?”

“Forgot the motor was running, stuck my hand down through the fan on the radiator.”

The way his head was tilting back as he talked made me feel it was necessary to move along as fast as possible.

“Don't try to hurry. Just keep an even pace so you don't have to make a sudden stop.”  He was conscious enough to advise me.

“Timmy's mother called to have the stop lights to hold. It doesn't look like there is anyone else out but us though.”

Their new LTD was a heavy car and it held well to the road. As I now was turning into the circle drive of the hospital a crew of surgery dressed people were leaving through the large glass doorsl in order to assist me. In a heartbeat they had Rod out of the car into a wheelchair and then onto a gurney inside the door.

As it turned out the surgery was quite lengthy. There was a necessity to do micro surgery on his finger in order to save it. The tendons had been cut and they had to stitch those back together. He had lost quite a lot of blood but the tight pressure of the towel had helped to slow the gushing.  Then, of course, there was a long period of time for therapy in order to see to his being able to use the hand again.

Rodney went on to do many things valuable to our nation with his hands. While working at Conoco he was given cash awards for a number of his inventions. One was the use of fly ash and ceramics for the nose cones of the rockets so that they might re-enter the atmosphere without burning up. While working for Ling Tempco Vaught in Dallas he designed the punch buttons we now use on our television channels. He and another man also designed the Weed Eater we all use on our lawns, and there were more.

I always felt my part in saving his hand was just an  action and re-action thing but, all in all, for whatever,  we all did it together and it  was worth it. Timmy's mother was true strength.  The people who built the powerful LTD automobile in order for us to cruise so easily over the slick roads were right there with us.  The doctors, of course, with their micro surgery, and the therapists who later helped him regain its use too were at the top. Sometimes, I'm very humbled by having been able to live in a civilization so great as this. If my little stories will save this truth, then so much the better.

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