January 3, 2012

January 3: A Death, A Birth, and A Flat Tire



   It is said that the days of yore a person recalls is connected with an event of great impact. And so ‘tis true of my January 3, 1998, recollection.



   My husband Monte spent much of January 1st on the phone, purchasing a plane ticket for me to fly to Bangor, Maine. It was the year of the great ice storm that hit across the northern United States and Canada, and I wondered if it was wise to fly. But my mother was in the hospital in Bangor with serious heart problems.

     January 2nd found me on an airplane, landing in Boston to transfer to a smaller plane to Bangor. I took a taxi, over icy roads, to the hospital, arriving in the evening. My sisters Jane and Cynthia were there, as was their father Hugh (my stepfather).

     During our visit my mother said she felt so loved.

     I managed to visit with my mother alone for a few minutes. She spoke of the 365 page writings I sent her for Christmas, saying they should be published. Then, knowing she needed to rest, I left. I could speak more with her tomorrow.

     I asked Hugh if I could borrow his car to run to the store down the road. He said no, so I went to my room in the hotel attached to the hospital, used for persons who had loved ones in the hospital.

     We arranged that I would be the contact person for the doctor—after all, I was my mother’s oldest daughter—her oldest child—at the hospital.

     I received the call about seven o’clock in the morning on January 3rd: my mother had had another episode, and she didn’t make it.

     I tried to contact Cynthia and Jane but the calls didn’t go through. However, I figured Jane would also be notified, so I was surprised when I met Hugh in the lobby—he didn’t know. I had to tell him. He yelled “Damn” and shrank into his wheelchair.

     I wasn’t certain what to do next. I asked Cynthia and Jane if they knew about a motel in Presque Isle, Maine, because I thought my mother’s house might be too small to hold everyone. They assured me I was to stay there with them. After all, I was part of the family.

     Soon I was in the back seat of Cynthia’s car zooming down the icy highway between Bangor and Presque Isle. My mother’s house was on a hill, slippery with ice. The world was covered with snow and ice. I felt somewhat uncomfortable being there—after all, the “family” was my mother, my stepfather, and their five children. My older sister and I were mere appendages.

     Cynthia and Jane made me feel comfortable, and the day ended on a positive note. January 4th would be hectic, as is the case surrounding any family death. I laid my head down and slept soundly.


     Mid-afternoon brought more news. My sister Cynthia’s daughter Christine and son-in-law John presented her with a granddaughter, Caylee Isabelle.

      Isabelle was the middle name of the baby’s great grandmother (Cynthia’s mother) and the first name of the Caylee’s great grandmother (Cynthia’s great grandmother).

     According to our sister Nancy Lee, Caylee is beautiful and alert, weighing in at seven pounds nine ounces and measuring nineteen inches.

     Welcome to the world, Caylee. I hope you are prepared for the roller coaster ride of your life!



     As usual, my husband Monte left mid-morning to fetch the mail at the local post office. I didn’t notice how long it was taking him. I was preoccupied, or perhaps he had other errands he was doing. Thus, I wasn’t aware that he was away an awfully long time…far more than usual, far more than necessary, even if he was running errands…

     When he arrived home he looked downcast. His hands were quite cold against my warm cheek.

     “I had a flat tire,” he informed me.

     He was traveling from the post office to the bank, and had to pull off the road into a driveway. Fortunately the flat tire was on the right side of the car, removing the danger of his being hit by a passing vehicle. Sometimes the traffic on that road, coming off the mountain, could be dangerous—especially the heavy trucks.

     It was pretty chilly, and the ground had a light snow covering, just enough to make it messy, slushy, and slippery.

     Monte removed three lug nuts, but two were on so tight he couldn’t remove them himself, with his wrench. The gloves he had increased the difficulty of removing the lug nuts, so he wasn’t wearing them. Since he was only traveling to the post office and bank, he hadn’t worn anything but a flannel shirt. He didn’t have a jacket with him.

     “A middle aged man in a pickup truck stopped. He had a thing to use to make an extension on the wrench,” Monte told me. He wore leather work gloves, but Monte was “sure his hands were cold, too.”

     The only information Monte learned about the man was that he was from Jennerstown, a community at the top of Laurel Mountain.

     We have no other way to thank the man in the pickup truck for his help except to say thank you through this writing, and to pass forward a good deed to someone else.


     Another January 3 is ended. An entire new year lies ahead. I’m looking forward to the adventures and misadventures to come. How about you?



January Catalogues Lead to June Gardens

The fickleness of life and weather

It’s January: Am I Stressed Out?

Only Space Aliens Look Forward to Winter




1 Comment »

  1. I enjoyed most of this article; I’m not sure what the flat tire incident had to do with the death in the family, though! Anyway, I am sorry to hear about your mom; hopefully, she is in a better place now! Anyhow, the man in the wheelchair is your brother or brother-in-law?
    Anyhow, I hope to seriously get some of my poetry and songs, not only copywritten but actually published this year; these are two of my main goals for this year, as well as going back to school somewhere, and possibly getting a part-time secretrial type job, ie: filing, answering the phones and taking messages, using the computer, etc. I have put my resume in electronically at the Career Link Center in Forest Hills! I need to find something locally or a business that will hire me on the bus line! Also, I plan on possibly signing up with Gregg Services as well! Please keep me in your prayers, that this year definately will be a productive year for me! My son, hopefully and possibly will be giving me his and his wife’s old computer which will help me tremedously, please pray that he follows through on this! Please mention some of this at the next Beanery writers meeting, if you remember and would like to! Signing off,
    Julia E. Torockio
    P.S. Oh, I forgot to mention, I also would like to attend at least one writing conference this year, and I hope to successfully apply and be able to attend the ASCAP Conference coming up in April of this year! I’d also like to do at least one fellowship as well! Please keep me in prayer about that also; that I’d get prepared, get the funding, and follow through on these endevours as well! Thanks! Julia

    Comment by Julia — January 9, 2012 @ 6:01 pm | Reply

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