A Day To Remember Mar01


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A Day To Remember

It began as usual just as the sun rose above the distant dark blue foot hills.   Kira had been awake for several minutes, but stayed in the warmth of her small bed until the sun broke through her east window and pierced the sheer curtain.

“Time to get started.”  She said aloud, even though there was no one present to hear her.  She had discovered that even hearing her own voice now and then seemed to break the loneliness that occasionally overwhelmed her after the children left and she found herself living in silence, a peace and quiet she once even longed for.

She couldn’t blame them for aloneness now.  They had each found their own separate and different calling and were busy making good in them.  She could only watch and wish them well, and she did have her own job to go to, so she better get going and go there.  Ho Hum though it was. Maybe she should be looking for a different type of work, a thought she often had but didn’t follow through on as her present job, such as it was, ate up her time.

A loud noise interrupted her musings.  It was coming from the empty lost next to her small cottage home.  Almost dressed but not quite she pulled on yesterday’s jeans and sweatshirt with her old tennies to go out and investigate.

The helicopter which sat on the empty lot was, with motor running, creating the noise and a great deal of dust.  On seeing her, a young man obviously the pilot jump out and ran over shouting over his noisy chopper.

“Are you a nurse or a doctor?”   Kira answered,

“ Not really, I do have some medical training, yes..”

“Then jump in.”  He took her by the hand and tugged her to the door almost pushing her up and in before she could question the reason.  He was in and at the controls before she could form a complaint.  But he began at once to explain.

“There’s an emergency and help is needed promptly.  The person I was sent to get was not there.  Someone said you might be able to help and pointed to your house.  So luckily I was able to set down right next door to you, then conveniently, you ran out…. Thanks.  Did someone phone you?      

“No.  I just heard the noise of your helicopter and ran out to see it..  What happened?”   The helicopter was airborne and traveling fast toward the mountains.

“I’m not entirely sure myself.  I got the call and was ordered to pick up this medic and get to the disaster as soon as I could.  I sleep with this chopper just to be ready for emergencies.”  He turned and put out a free hand, “I’m John and you are?” 


“Thanks for coming to help Kira.”

“I don’t remember having a choice.  Shouldn’t I have had time to grab some supplies?”

“The boxes in back of my chopper are packed with some of everything.  But my main duty is to get there fast and be ready to maybe take someone out faster.  I understand you worked E.R. and helped the Doctors Without Borders in Mexico.”

“I did sometimes.  But not lately, I’m in Personnel now.”

‘That sounds boring.”    You got that right Kira thought to herself.  “But,”  John continued, “I imagine nursing is like riding a bicycle… once you can do it, you never forget how.”

“You give us a lot of credit.  Things change fast in the medical field.”

“I guess… but it often gets necessary to wing it in an emergency.  I had to deliver a baby once myself.”

“Good for you.  But babies get born even if no one else shows up.”

John thought for a moment he was sure he had a smart reply to that, but checked the map in his lap instead, then crumpled it and tossed it to Kira.

“How are you at reading maps.  See if you can find Los Davies on that thing.  There are too darn many Los’s!”

Kira got up from the back bench she had found herself suddenly sitting upon as she fell backward when he lifted off.  She straightened the map flat on the floor in front of her seat and sat down on the floor to try to find Los Davies.

“Is Los Davies a City or what?”

“It’s a what!  A mountain or a lake, maybe a valley.  I’ll get on the phone and try to get better info.”  He was speaking next into a microphone as she scoured the map for Los Davies.  She couldn’t hear either end of the conversation, so she just kept looking, wishing she had a little magnifying glass.

“I found a Los Davies Creek.”  She shouted out, “but following it in either direction doesn’t lead to a Los Davies anything else.”

“Where is it from here?”  

“Montana Road leads windingly from here up to it.  Are you familiar with Montana Road?”

“Of course, we’re right over it.  So if I follow it I get to cross that creek when?”

“How do I know?” Kira called back.

“Just name some stuff I reach on my way.”  She looked back at the map.  “Are you anywhere near Brookton, that little town that Montana goes past?. Anyway, then you go over a railroad track and uphill where it becomes Hill Highway and winds until around until you see Crestline Ski Hill and pass the left side of Blue Lake.   Anything familiar yet?”

“Yep, I just flew over the train tracks.”

“Okay,”  Kira replied, “Now brace yourself the road gets curvy all the way to the ski hill.”  John chuckled at that.

“I’ll just fly it as straight as the crow flies, if  that’s alright with you.  Or were you planning that I should turn right and left every time the road does?”  Kira laughed and folded the map to show the area in question and took a seat on the bench.  “You’re the pilot.  Do it your way. Just before Los Davies Creek you will fly over…” She touched the map as she counted, one, two, three, four, five, six, cabins all in a cluster,  No name.”

“That is a big help.  Thanks.”   Kira turned to look out the window and began to wonder what the emergency was about.  He didn’t seem to know, but they will soon be there. She turned to look in back of the bench. 

The boxes she saw stored were clearly marked.  There was a large one marked with a red cross for Medical, a long narrow box marked Fire, she couldn’t guess what it contained but two shovels were strapped to the top with bungees.  Almost as large as the Medical were the Flood and the Earthquake boxes.  Three large coils of rope in different colors were lined up next to a stack of blankets and what must be a rolled up stretcher.  A large water container and matching hamper sat side by side, probably food as she didn’t see another.  A metal tool box completed the cargo she could see.

Which of those things was she now on her way to help with?  She suddenly remembered she hadn’t phoned in sick to her job.  Oh well maybe she’d be lucky and get fired.  

The chopper banked and she took hold of the straps hanging from above to brace herself and still try to see where he was going.  None of it looked familiar or anything like the map, but she was accustomed to that.  Her husband had always handed the maps to her.  Little things like that had made her miss him more.  But he had not made it home from that useless war.

“Hang on“ John shouted back to her.  “I’m going to buzz the Creek and try to find someone looking for us.”

“Now he tells me.”  Kira mumbled to herself, as she hung to two of the hanging straps, only hoping they were intended for hanging on to.

“Do you see anyone below?”  John shouted.  She leaned toward the low window and strained to see below.  Just trees and lots of them.  Where could he land anyway?  

Then a flash of light crossed her eyes, she turned quickly toward it and saw against the hillside a small person, but aren’t they all little from here, holding a tiny mirror to catch their attention.

“Someone’s up on the side of the hill.”  she shouted.  “Flashing a mirror!  Do you see him or it?”   The chopper turned to bank the other way and she lost the person.   Nothing but trees out the other side.  John circled the open space between the cliffs and called back,

“I see a young person can’t tell if it’s a boy or girl.”   He reached back and handed her a pair of binoculars.  “See if there is anyone else on that ledge with him or her.  The chopper turned slowly as she watched.  Then there he was a young boy with a mirror, still trying to focus it on the helicopter. 

 She zoomed in on him and found a man lying close to the cliff side not moving,

“There’s an unconscious man along side of the cliff.  Anyway he’s not moving.  I can’t tell if he is dead or alive.

“Okay,  I will have to drop you down to see what is needed.  Two things first put on this radio, so we can talk, then put on the jacket and helmet from behind the bench.  John was giving out orders as he passed the radio to her and left her to figure out how to carry it and put on the things tucked behind the bench.  “Then I will settle on top of this hill on the only landing place I see available close by and send down whatever you need for first aid.  We’ll figure out the rest as we go.”

Kira followed instructions and was waiting for what would happen next.  She felt certain she’d be going down on a rope and didn’t welcome the idea,  but what choice did she have?  She was the only person available and the man on the ground surely needed help.  In any case the boy certainly did.

The chopper pulled as close as possible and just above where the cliff rolled back with enough room for the rotors, thankfully not too far up.  He pointed out the rope by the door with directions to “just put your foot in the bottom loop and hang on.  I’ll  lower the rope slowly, then give me a tug when you are off.  I’ll talk to you on the radio as I go up to the top and park it close by to be ready to send down whatever you need… if anything.  Then we’ll talk about getting them up.”

Kira, heavily bundled in the oversize jacket and wearing the helmet and gloves, carefully placed her tennis shoe in the loop and took hold of the rope which swung out to lower her to the boy.  The rope had a belt which she didn’t fasten, as they hovered only twenty or twenty-five  feet above the far side of a ledge too narrow to land upon.

The boy rushed to her as she stepped on the ground and wrapped his arms around her.  She had to assure him everything would soon be okay in order to get free enough to look after the man.  On the way she asked him his name and age.  He told her quite proudly that he was named, Peter, and he was seven years old.

“Call me Kira,” she said, as she felt relief at hearing the man moan.

“Is this your father?” she asked Peter.  He just nodded and mumbled  “Um hum.” 

“What happened?”

“I accidently slipped over the side, cuz it was slippery and,”  He pointed up the cliff, “ Daddy was coming down to get me back up cuz I couldn’t do it… I tried.  Then the rock Daddy stepped on fell out and he crashed down and bumped his head..  I heard the people up on top scream… then they went away.

Kira examined the wound on the Dad’s  head.  There was no blood just a large swollen bump.  Some ice would help but that was not available.  The man moaned again and half opened his eyes to say, “Peter?”

“Peter is fine.  He’s right here.”  She soothed him with her words as there seemed to be nothing else she could do.  All of his limbs were intact and he was beginning to come around.  Peter knelt nearby and watched.

 Kira turned to him and told him he was a lot of help as she would not have seen him without the mirror.   

He explained that his Daddy had given him the little metal mirror in his pocket and a whistle around his neck to take on the hike.  He told me they were for shining and blowing,  if I needed help.  So I did.” 

“Good boy.  I gave some to my boys when they were small.

“Where are they?”

“All grown up big now.”

Her radio crackled and Kira looked at it knowing she had to push something to talk to John.  Then she heard him. “ If you need anything tell me. Just push the black button to talk and the blue one to listen.’  She pushed the black button and reported that the man was alive and just beginning to come to.

John asked her if she and the boy could get him into the stretcher if he lowered it.  She thought they could so he sent a rope over the side and let it carefully descend the rocky hill.  Once the man was wrapped and tied to it John stood at the top and guided it up.  Kira waited with Peter for the next decision from John.  

Once the man was safely inside the helicopter he took Peter up holding the rope,   Kira looked around to see if anything had been left behind then joined the others.  The chopper was suddenly very crowded, but off they went to the nearest hospital.

With the boy and father in good hospital care, Kira and the Pilot left.  

On the way back Kira wanted a couple of answers starting with… “Who called and let you know where to look for the boy and the man?”  John explained as they lifted off from the hospital roof. 

“Other hikers were present and they saw the boy slip down the cliff just a second before they tried to warn him that he was getting too close to the unfenced edge.  They rushed over terrified.  Once they saw that he had landed safely, though unable climb up, they looked for his father.  He decided he could get the boy up by himself and was stepping down on rock to boulder when he fell and was knocked unconscious.  The boy cried out, but no one wanted to risk attempting to get the unconscious man, they rushed to a phone to try to get help. 

The authorities called me because I was the closest one on call..  They gave the best description they could of the area by air and happily we actually found them.  I couldn’t have done it without you though.  So thank you.”

“Do you get calls like this every day?”   Kira wanted to know.

“They are all so different it’s hard to be prepared for what I find.  This was an easier one, because you did all of the hard stuff.  He smiled at her for the first time and she was pleasantly surprised.  He had a very nice smile.  He had hardly looked at her since she had inadvertly joined him. Now he gave her that great smile again and actually took her hand this time while looking at her.

“I think we should now go someplace for dinner and reward ourselves..”  He said matter-of-factly trying to look like that pilot guy in the movies.     

 “I’m not exactly dressed for dinner anyplace.”  Kira complained.

“We can fly down to the docks and eat where the boating people go.  They come ashore looking far worse from a day at sea and think nothing of it.

“Do you know of any with copter landing places?”  She asked,

“I’m up here so often that I only know the ones with landings.”  He told her proudly.  Then his radio crackled.  Kira wondered why radios do that.

“John took the call to his headphone and then turned to give her the bad news.  “Another emergency… this one from a boat.  That’s why I got the call.  I’m already the closest.  Do you mind? He looked at the fuel gauge as he waited for her answer.

“Will you need me?”

“Very likely , but I can call someone else if you would rather not. Mostly I need to hurry. A boat is sinking and the bad weather is closing in on it .”

“Then let’s go!” Kira ordered with a grin. 

In minutes they were further out over the darkening, choppy, water searching for the sinking boat.  It had grown so dark as to make them wonder if they would see it if it had no running lights. 

 Then a flare rocket flew into the rain cloudy sky from the troubled boat and John turned toward it.  Kira took the binoculars and scanned the area for life boats.  Two were seen floating deep with four folks in each one and barely enough float ability to ride up and down in the growing swells.  They drifted crookedly south away from the one that sent up the flare, but they stuck side by side as they must have wisely tied them together.  

John hovered over the larger boat to see if anyone was on board. A man and a woman jumped up and down waving at them.  He hovered to one side and tried to lower a rope to them, but the swells were moving the boat so erratically that they couldn’t catch it.

Finally Kira got up and took the rope.  “ I’ll go down and get them.”

“No!” he stopped her, “I need you to get them off up here.  They don’t look very capable and in this weather I need to keep control of the chopper.”

As they looked back they watched horrified as  the woman lost her balance and fall over board.  The man immediately dove in after her as the boat slid further down and away. 

“Now they’ve done it.” Kira announced. “ Now I’ll have to go down.  Can I bring them both up with me at once?”

“How much do you weigh?”

“One ten.”

“The rope can take 500 so you’ll be okay. Unless the guy weighs more than three.”

“I’ll see what I can do.  Bye!”  Kira threw him a kiss and John wanted to cross his fingers, but was too busy handling his position above the drifting pair at the mercy of the choppy water.

“They saw her coming and struggled to stay within reach.  The man pushed the woman into Kira’s reach, who pulled her up to put a foot in the loop next to Kira’s.  The lady had lost her shoes in the water.  Then the man waved them up but Kira shouted for him to come take hold.  He was slow to accept but a large swell broke over him and as any man drowning would,  he fought to get back to the safety of the rope.  Kira had fastened the rope’s belt around the lady, so she encouraged the guy to reach up to her waist to  take hold of it, then put one leg through the bottom loop with their feet  As soon as he had succeeded she signaled the pull up and swinging in the wind they were finally aboard. 

John stopped their worry about the other eight people by pointing to the approaching Coast Guard Patrol  Boat he had alerted for the life boats.  Soon they would be under tow.  What looked like a pretty nice boat sank from sight while they were going up.

John flew them to the Coast Guard dock to join the incoming life boats.

The Coast guard provided hot showers and gray but dry “Coast Guard”  logo  sweat suits for the entire party, as they always do in those rescue cases.

Out on the dock Kira stood, still dripping wet in the bedraggled sweat shirt with her long hair in a damp pony tail, as she smiled sweetly at her Pilot and asked,

 “Am I still a good enough candidate for dinner?”  John laughed and looked at his watch,

“Breakfast, maybe.”  He still looked neat as a pin.  Then he took her arm as he told her, “I’ll fly you home if you will scramble up some eggs for us.”

“After my shower.”

“Then instead we’ll go to my place and I’ll cook while you shower. I could stand a shower too, anyway.”

“You still look good.”

“Looks don’t tell everything.’ 

“Sorry but I don’t have anything to wear at your house.  We go to mine and I’ll cook after we shower.”  The brightened look on John’s face told Kira that he had taken that the wrong way.”

Kira laughed, “I don’t mean we together.  We take turns, then we eat whatever I cook at my house.  Your clothes are nice and dry I notice.”  Then she threw in a sarcastic remark,  “ Funny how that keeps happening.”

“If  you learn to fly, I’ll go out the door next time,”   Kira took his arm and they climbed up in to his helicopter as she surprised him with. “I do have a Pilot’s license you know. Sometimes I assist the Air Patrol on searches. I only need to extend it to some hours in a chopper.”

“You’re kidding.”  He stopped to face her.  “You fly?  What?”

“I belong to a group at John Wayne and fly what is available in their selection of four nice little single engine planes.”

“Okay we go to your house.  I want to see your log book.”

Kira sat and watched him carefully as he started the engine and lifted off.  She really might just want to try that.

It really was breakfast time when they were finally sitting at her table for the rather heavy breakfast Kira had put together as John cleaned up.

John had an idea he wanted to propose but didn’t know how to present it.  He waited until they had the second more relaxed cup of coffee to approach it.

“We work very well together, Kira.   How about you quit whatever you are doing in Personnel, and come to work for me.”  Kira laughed, 

“Work for you?  I didn’t see any of the people you…we…  saved today writing out checks.”

“Of course not.  I don’t charge any of them, although a few do try to give me money.  I don’t accept it.  The State hires me to be on call for a list of local cities.  I get paid monthly for my time and my helicopter to stand by for emergencies also I get State fuel card.  But the thing is,  You did a great job today, So I would like you to come to work for me,”

“You mean live every day like this?  Oh no, this has been a day to remember.  I shall never forget it as long as I live, but I don’t see how you do it.  And constantly. No no. I think it would be difficult to be always with folks who are suffering?”

“You’re practically a nurse.  You know doctors and law enforcement see a lot of the dark side of life, but the good they do makes up for it.  Wasn’t going in after those people in stark danger of drowning worth it?”

  Kira thought.  “I didn’t hesitate then, but … a steady diet of that is just too much.  You know, this morning I was ready to quit my boring  job.  This morning I would have jumped at a chance to work with you, but boring suddenly got a lot better.” 

“I’ll take that as a, No then.”  He paused and looked out the window at his marvelous helicopter waiting on the lot next door.  Then he pointed it out to Kira.  “Isn’t that machine sitting out there something?  I love that baby.  I flew them in war myself and when I came home I missed it, so I bought that old  Army surplus  reject and worked on it until it was better than new.  But it made me miss something I didn’t know was missing.  As soon as I dragged you into the cockpit and tossed you the map, I knew what I had missed… a life partner.  I could teach you to fly it,  so we could take turns.”   John noticed that Kira brightened at that.  “My house has a large hanger and easy access to a tiny airport. It’s called an Airpark.  Is this your house?”  Kira nodded yes.  “Then we can buy you a plane if we sell it.  

 If we get a search call we can go out together or separately.   Then when the days go by when there are no emergencies involving us,  we can travel as we please.  I can see that we would be perfect together and I will wait until you see it too.  You already said that today was a day to remember.  John stood to leave.  Sleep on it.  I’ll be back.  But just think . Together we can make every day a day to remember.”

Kira sat quietly watching as he left.  Her heart beat faster as his helicopter lifted into the air and his words echoed in her mind,

“Together we can make everyday a day to remember.” She had to smile at those words… but

My tale ends here    Kira’s is up to her.    

Beverly Mosier  March 2014

Any resemblance between these Fictional characters and anyone you may know is purely co-incidental or almost accidental.