She always thought of it as 'The' accident. It was, in her mind, a capital 'T' on the word. It was simply 'The' accident. She periodically worked it over in her mind. Seeing it from, she hoped, different points of view. But certain things were always basic.
Grant had been driving too fast. She usually hesitated to talk to him about it. It made him so angry and, at times, caused him to speed up.
Well, he had been driving too fast. He rounded a curve, lost control and put them in a ditch.
That part of the nightmare, the actual crash itself, in her mind, was normally blocked out and the details never really came back to her.
After just a little bit, they had aid. An ambulance was called and people, very kind people, were helping to get them out of the car.
She was only just barely conscious, as she was hauled away. It was only later that she, Sherry Comstock, discovered that Grant was dead and that the doctors were saying that Wendy, their lovely daughter, would maybe not walk again.
Her Momma, June, had come to stay with them to help them get settled, after the long hospital stays were over and she and Wendy were back home. It was a blessing.
Then there was a time of adjustment. Her Momma helped with that also, and she was forever grateful for Wendy's attitude. She used the chair and rarely complained.
Over the year and a half or so since 'The' accident, she and Wendy had talked about their life and their hopes.
The process had made the two of them a pair with a stronger than ever bond.
During that time period, they sought out and rented a small house that was all on one floor. It made things so much easier for Wendy and her chair. They also got help and practiced the maneuver of getting Wendy from the chair to the bed and from the chair to the toilet, those kinds of things.
Sherry pushed to the very back of her mind the thoughts about her and Grant. She'd been aware, at the time, that Grant was thinking of asking for a divorce. It had certainly seemed as though the air around them crackled with a kind of animosity: his ideas against her ideas. It was that kind of thing.
'The' Accident brought all of that to a halt. It also provided Sherry and Wendy with a viable income from financial things that Grant had had. It made the future, if not really robust, at least easier for them.
The time had indeed gone on, and now it was the two of them. Her Momma went home and they were still constantly in touch with each other. But June and Al, her Dad, were only about three hours away.
Sherry and Wendy were able to buy on time a van that could accommodate Wendy's chair, so that they were not home bound by any means.
Wendy went to school daily via a special school bus that was equipped to handle students with special needs.
Life had taken a terrible turn but Sherry and Wendy were surviving and forming a wonderful bond between them.
At the time of 'The' accident, Sherry Comstock was 27 years old and Wendy was 7. She had a job working as a data specialist for a large company and, with the money that they had from Grant's insurance and what he had invested in, they were doing fairly well.
Sherry Comstock was short, 5'2" and had short brown hair that she kept kind of feathered. She was lovely to look at, with freckles on her nose and green eyes. She was fairly slim but had very nice curves about her. Sherry was lovely.
Today was a Saturday and it was going to be a special day for them. There was a Memorial Day kind of parade that they wanted to go to see.
Wendy had heard about the parade in school and was excited about the variety of kinds of bands that were anticipated.
She and Sherry had talked about it and were particularly excited to hear the Fire Protection District Pipe Band.
They'd gone on line to pull up videos of bagpipes, which certainly interested Wendy, as a kind of introduction to the big parade.
It was going to be something totally new for them and they looked forward to it.
The morning turned out to be difficult. They got off more slowly than they had hoped, and parking turned out to be a true bear.
They ended up blocks away from the parade site and Sherry pushed Wendy toward the route of the parade, where they found no room to be able to see anyone or anything.
The worst part of the disaster that that particular Saturday morning was being was the fact that as they got in place, with no one giving them room to move forward and see anything, the Fire Protection District Pipe Band had just gone past.
The only thing that Sherry and Wendy heard was the echoes of the pipes, which were then more than a block away.
They stayed in their position at the back of the crowd and listened to other bands go by.
When the parade was over, Sherry wheeled Wendy back down the street. She was apologizing for their being late.
"I'm so sorry, love," Sherry said.
"It's okay, Momma," Wendy replied. "Maybe there'll be another time, another parade. At least we got to hear them as they were going away."
"Yes, honey," Sherry said, "But it was going to be our treat and I know how much you were looking forward to hearing and seeing them."
"Maybe another time," Wendy said, and they agreed on that.
"How about some ice cream?" Sherry asked. "Maybe as a consolation treat?"
He had to hurry about everything that morning. He'd slept a little late and flew through his coffee. He hustled to get all of his gear ready and get to the assembly point on time.
Sean Montgomery played bagpipes with the local Fire Protection District Pipe Band.
He stood for that last minute in front of the mirror to make sure he looked okay:
Short black jacket with large silver buttons, white shirt, tartan tie, kilt, large leather belt, sporran, high white socks with the traditional Sgian Dubh tucked in his sock.
Sean Montgomery was, at that point in his life, 34 years old. He had inherited a few things from his Dad, gone now these four years: there was the business, which was doing fabulously, and his love for playing the bagpipes.
He'd grown up listening to his Dad, Arnold and his Uncle Howard playing the pipes, and at an early age, already by the time he was 12, had learned to play, beginning with the traditional practice chanter.
Now he was a member of the city Fire Protection District Pipe Band.
He looked in the mirror and liked what he saw.
"Snazzy, Sean," he said. "Hope the ladies will approve."
This was his usual statement, when looking at himself in the mirror, especially when he was wearing the kilt.
He'd had to park a number of blocks away from the assembly point but made it with some time to spare and the parade had gone well, from his point of view.
It as simply true for Sean Montgomery that he loved to play the pipes.
He waved to a few people, as he walked down the street toward where his car was located. As he proceeded around a corner he noticed ahead a woman pushing a pretty little girl in a wheel chair.
It was precisely at that moment that the little girl saw Sean coming down the street.
"So," Sherry was saying, "Ice Cream?"
"Oh, Momma, look!" Wendy said then pointing with her finger up the block, where Wendy saw Sean Montgomery coming their way.
Wendy clapped for joy right away at seeing the kilted man coming their way.
"He was in the parade," Wendy said.
"Bet he was," Sherry said.
Then, as Sean got closer to the lovely smiling lady and the pretty grinning little girl, Wendy said: "Hi, Mr Piper."
Wendy said: "Hi, Mr Piper."
"Hi yourself," Sean said, stopping for a moment. "Did you like the parade?" he asked.
"We were late," Wendy said, "You had already gone by, when we finally got there." There was a sadness in Wendy's voice just then, and Sean noticed it.
"I'm afraid," Sherry said, "People wouldn't move to let Wendy get a view even of your band, as you marched away down the street."
"And it was what we came for," Wendy said.
"Well, never let it be said that we Pipers have missed an opportunity to please our public," Sean said and he unlimbered the pipes.
"Oh, Momma," Wendy said, "He's going to play for us!"
"This is what the band played for the parade," he said. "It's 'Scotland the Brave', 'Rowan Tree' and 'The 42nd Highlander's March'."
He blew into the blow pipe then and brought in the drones and then the air in the entire neighborhood, where people came out on their porches, was filled with the sound of Sean on the pipes.
Wendy was clapping along with the music as he played. When he was finished with the three tunes, both Wendy and Sherry clapped, and were joined by those on the porches, who'd been listening also.
"A few more?" Sean asked and Wendy said: "Please."
He played then a variety: 'Danny Boy', 'Wings', 'Johnnie Scobbie' and finished with 'Amazing Grace'.
Wendy was positively beside herself with joy at the music that Sean played for her.
"Oh, thank you, thank you," Wendy said, with Sherry joining in the thanks as well.
Wendy stretched up her arms to him and Sean happily got a hug from her and gave her one back, kissing her on the cheek.
He turned from Wendy to find Sherry waiting to hug him also. Hugging Sherry turned out to be a rich reward for him. At least that's what he thought.
.... There is more of this story ...