Word went out to the local rescue unit that due to snow melt upstream, the Frostview Dam was releasing water to compensate for the pressure. As a normal procedural response, the Duanestown rescue unit sent a truck to the site where the stream edged through their part of the county.
It was a lovely day that May day and a number of families had gathered for picnics in the popular picnic grounds that were bordered by the runoff creek.
It was for the safety of those people that Rescue 1A was sent to the grove as a standby measure. It was their normal procedure.
Since J. Alden Wayne was at the station at the time, taking a rare day off from work to smooze with the guys working at the station, he was asked to go with Rescue 1A to the scene just to keep an eye out.
J. Alden, had been 'Johnnie' at an early stage in his life but then was called 'J.Alden' to distinguish him from his Dad, John but was then later designating as J.A., when he took over leading the family business and manufacturing interests.
One of the 'joys', at least keen interests, of his life was his membership in the local rescue squadron. They had, in that area of Duanestown, a very active volunteer fire group and J.A. had joined as early as possible. He'd taken all the courses and eventually had become a certified paramedic. He was one of several paramedics who were members of the association.
At 42 years, J.A. was in the best shape of his life. His father's early heart problems had prompted him to watch his diet and do as much exercising as possible.
The scene that day at the picnic grove was laid back. There were a number of picnickers there and a generally festive attitude prevailed.
One of the things that was noticed right away was the roiling of the water of the runoff creek, that was just then taking the swell from the Frostview dam.
The rescue team noticed it, as did a number of the picnickers and the rescue team made a call to the dam personnel and were told that the water release had just then been shot off, and that the temporary swell would be over in a few minutes.
There were some kids who were near the bank and were watching the swirling water. Parents, not too far away, were already calling for the kids to get back from the stream, when the ground, near the bank, was under cut, just where two little girls were standing.
One of the girls jumped back in fright but the other, Jenine Williams, was taken into the swirling water. He mother, MayBell Williams, a nurse, had already been heading in Jenine's direction, when she was catapulted into the water.
With no hesitation, MayBell jumped into the water but only to find out that, though she had a hold on Jenine, she couldn't stand the force of the water either.
It was only then that J.A. reached the bank of the stream, and without another thought, knowing he had backup behind him, he too jumped into the stream.
J.A. was a tall man, 6'4" in his socks and a sturdy 215 lbs. He was able to get his feet planted on a rock and held both the struggling woman and her crying daughter.
"Okay, okay," he said to them. "Rescue's right here and on the way. It's okay."
"Hear that, honey," MayBell whispered to the crying Jenine, "Rescue is on the way."
And that was the truth of it. The rope was thrown to J.A. and he attached both the girl and her Momma to the rope so that they could be pulled to safety. That took only a few moments.
But the weight and center of gravity changed just then for J.A., since the woman and her daughter was no longer there and the rock that he was standing on gave way, and he now was plunged backward into the stream.
There was shouting now from the members of the rescue team and also from MayBell Williams, who had witnessed J.A's loss of balance and his being overtaken by the water.
He came up for air and just then struck his head on a rock near the bank, and things became shadowy at first and then he realized a kind of blackness was overcoming him.
In a crazy, crazy fashion the last words that he remembered, as unconsciousness, and maybe death, took him was a quote that he'd liked as a young student from T.S. Elliot:
'This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper!'
He was too far gone, with water already going into his lungs and a concussion that rendered him insensate, to feel the rope or the arms that were pulling him out of the stream.
They packed J.A.into the ambulance and took him to the nearby Med Center, where he was admitted, still not having awakened or regained consciousness.
One of his first visitors was MayBell Williams. She had a friend taking care of Jenine and had made a promise to Jenine that she'd look in on and take care of the lovely man who'd rescued the two of them. She intended to do exactly that.
MayBell Williams, at 35, was a lovely Afro-American woman. She was fairly tall, 5'10" and had the svelt frame of a runner: a bit large in the breasts and with a round and pleasingly plump butt. She was a nurse at the Med Center, a nurses supervisor there, and took charge of J.A.'s care herself.
J.A. continued in the comatose state and was closely monitored. He had many friends but no family at all. The doctors at the Med Center took charge of his care and MayBell Williams joined the team caring for him, and became his constant, daily companion.
She also brought Jenine to see him and Jenine planted, while she was there, a kiss on this lovely man's forehead. It was the first smile that they saw from the sleeping/comatose man.
After a week or so, they deemed J.A. to be fairly stable and a team of people got together to plot his care. His assistant from the company, RayEllen Noakes was one of them and his doctor and a doctor specialist in neurological care. Also a member of that team to make a decision for J.A. was MayBell Williams. She had had a number of such cases that she'd overseen before that were similar and her input was greatly appreciated.
The doctor led off and gave the opinion, backed by the specialist, that there was no reason to necessarily keep J.A. hospitalized. RayEllen assured them that the company would pick up the charges for a home nurse for him.
By that time, the feeding was intravenous and could be easily managed.
"So what options?" the doctor asked finally.
It was then that MayBell spoke up: "I'd like to be his care giver. He's in this state because he risked his life to save my life and the life of my Jenine. I can make arrangements with the Med Center and go home with him and be the main care giver."
"What a wonderful solution!" RayEllen said, smiling at MayBell.
"Yes, it's the very thing," said the specialist and the Doctor agreed...
"What specific setup do we need then?" asked RayEllen, who'd taken over the management of the company, since J.A. was injured. "I mean, will you care for him at his home or what?"
"Well, let me ask one question," MayBell said. "Is it possible for both me and Jenine to move in? I can care for him and keep an eye on her at the same time."
"I don't see any problem with that kind of arrangement," RayEllen said and it was agreed that it's what they'd do.
MayBell talked with Jenine about the situation and was pleased that Jenine was so agreeable with the setup.
"Oh, Momma," Jenine had said, "He saved my life and yours and it's how he got this way. Let's just take good care of him."
"Yes, honey," MayBell had said, "I guess we should."
"Is he going to wake up?" Jenine asked.
"Well, sweetie," MayBell explained, "In cases like this, sometimes the person does wake up and sometimes the person doesn't. We'll have to see."
During the initial time period, J.A. had visitors from the fire and rescue squad. But they eventually left it with MayBell that she'd tell them if there were any changes in his care.
RayEllen made sure that MayBell was paid a salary for her care. She had objected but RayEllen had insisted on the point and eventually MayBell went along with her intention.
For the time period, MayBell and Jenine established for themselves a new kind of schedule. It revolved around J.A.'s care. And Jenine proved to be very sensible about it.
They also, to tell the truth, loved the large and lovely home where they were now living. It was so much grander than their bungalow had been. So, for the time being, they simply enjoyed their life. In addition, a cousin of MayBell's was looking for a place to live/rent near the university and MayBell offered the bungalow and that too was settled, especially since J.A, 's care looked like a long range thing.
J.A.'s care was the best kind. MayBell was meticulous and very well organized. She made sure that she gave him leg exercises daily to keep him fit, as we as overseeing the whole of his care.
One of the things that MayBell did regularly was to call J.A. 'that sweet man'. It was her name for him, and often enough, she'd use the name, when she was caring for him, seeing to the feeding or giving him a bed bath.
She took extra good care of him to insure that he didn't end up with sores.
More and more she simply spoke to him, when they were together.
She'd sit and read the paper to him and tell him about world events. She told him jokes and laughed, while they were together. Gradually she simply saw this handsome, lovely looking man as her 'Sweet man'!
It even got to the point where Jenine called him 'Your S M', always getting a smile from her Momma.
They had a doctor in on a regular basis, who indicated that, apart from the coma, which he opined was giving J.A.'s mind time to rearrange itself, he was sanguine about the case.
"I hope you're right," MayBell had said. "I just hope you're right."
They had moved a tv into J.A.'s room and it was there that MayBell and he would 'watch' the news and some tv programs.
One of the things, the changes, that MayBell noticed after a time period, was that he was beginning to have a kind of a sexual response.
She discovered one day that he'd had a spontaneous ejaculation.
"Why, you naughty boy!" she said, as she cleaned him up, grinning all the while. "You beautiful, naughty boy!"
She gave herself, after that, a severe talking to about 'getting lost' in this 'sweet man'. She began to try to guard her responses but she found herself being more and more avid to be with him.
She realized, finally, that she was falling in love with J.A. She kept this to herself, reasoning that she should probably get another nurse to do the caring but she refused to do that. She simply wouldn't. She made up her mind about that.
She and Jenine would talk about him daily, during their dinner time. But the news seemed to be always the same.
She noticed, as time went on, that he had the same kind of sexual response time and again. It always caused MayBell to laugh and chide him: "You sweet man, you're being naughty!"
It was a Tuesday, she always remembered, she was giving him a bath. She had him uncovered for the bath, and took a moment to simply stare at and enjoy his nakedness.
"Trying not to be inappropriate, my Sweet Man!" she said to him. "But you're such a beauty! My beauty right now."
MayBell shook her head and made a promise that she'd get someone else and give herself a mental and emotional break with J.A.
While she was washing him, as though his unconsciousness took over again, his erection grew and MayBell giggled.
"Comin' for me?" she said to him. "Comin' for MayBell, you sweet man?"
She sighed a great sigh, remembering her determination to get another nurse for him and took his erection in her hand. It felt wonderful!
"Oh my!" she said. And then: "Live a little, girl!"
She began to move her hand up and down on his erection, with the intention of bringing him to an orgasm.
Out of the blue, with no preparation for her at all, J.A. mumbled: "What are you doin'?"
Her eyes flew to his face and she saw that he was watching her.
"Cleaning you up!" she said.
He gave her a look and said: "The woman in the water; the woman with the pretty daughter. The pretty woman in the water."
"Ohhhhh," she sighed as he sloughed off the consciousness and went back to sleep.
Before she did anything at all, MayBell put her face in her hands and cried, giving thanks and thanks and thanks to the powers of heaven for bringing him around, for she suspected now that he'd wake again soon.
She got hold of herself and called RayEllen, who was really excited by the news. Soon enough, MayBell heard a knock at the door and Jenine came in.
"Momma, what is it?" Jenine asked. "I heard you crying! What?"
"He just spoke to me, honey!" she told Jenine, who also, at that point broke down and cried.
They hugged each other for a few minutes. It had been a siege, a kind of waiting and hoping for both of them. Neither of them forgot for a moment, what had happened and how this brave and lovely man rescued them.
MayBell settled him down for the night later, and told herself that there was a difference.
"He seems to be asleep now," she said to herself, "Just asleep."
He did look that way to her. She settled herself in the lounge chair next to his bed, where she'd spent most of her nights during that whole time.
She wore, through habit as much as anything, a floor length nightgown.
The shock of the morning was that, when she woke, and opened her eyes, she saw J.A. watching her.
"Hi!" he said softly, once she was awake
"Oh, hi!" she said.
"You are?" he asked next. Then, after a hesitation, said: "Oh, yes, the lady in the water."
"Yes," she said, "MayBell Williams." She smiled and said: "And I'm also your nurse."
"You've been taking care of me?" he asked.
"Yes," she answered.
"How long?" He wanted to know.
"Almost a month!" she said.
"Ohhhh," he reflected and lay his head back down on the pillow.
She noticed then how she was dressed and grabbed her robe and said a quick but soft: "Sorry."
He only grinned at her. She returned his grin.
"Oh, your daughter," he asked.
"Here," she said, "Fine! Thanks to you and your heroics!"
"Almost got me killed!" he said with a smile.
"No, I wouldn't allow that!" she said.
"Sweet Man," he said. "Did you, do you call me that?"
"I do," she admitted, "To you, for you, when you've been away and mentally wandering."
"Yes," he said with a sigh, "It was like being in a long, long corridor of all doors and not knowing which one would ever open. But I heard time and again a soft voice —- probably yours —-calling to the 'Sweet Man'. It's why I came here, back here."
He shook his head then, as she raised her hand to wipe tears from her cheeks.
"You called me home!" he said. "I need to thank you for that."
"One rescue prompts another, I guess!" he said.
"We're going to have a busy morning," she said.
"Oh?" he replied.
"Yes, the doctor and RayEllen will want to come in and see you."
"Oh, yes," he said, "The business."
"Running fine from what I can tell!" was her reply.
J.A. Wayne was a plain spoken man, who had a habit of speaking his mind. It's why he went on with: "Part of my wandering seemed to have been sexual."
"Yes," she said, averting her eyes at first but then, determined, looked at him to meet the challenge of his glance. "With a young man like yourself, that kind of build up will prompt an almost automatic release and it did with you."
He smiled: "Night wet dreams, I guess!'
"Yes," she said, trying to hide her smile.
"Remember not long ago one that wasn't an automatic, night, wet dream!" this was said with a grin.
"Trying to pin me down!" she said. "Yes, I helped you along now and then."
"Thought so," he replied, "Thank you!"
But they were distracted from this line of conversation by a knock on the door and a soft: "Momma?"
"Come in, honey," MayBell said, "I have someone for you to meet!"
Jenine, once she was introduced to J.A. was all tears. She got permission from her Momma to go for a hug, and during the hug, just clung to the man and cried.
"You saved my life and my Momma's and got so badly hurt!" she said, stopping now and again to sob. "We've been waiting for you to come home!"
"Yes," he said, "Home!"
"Thank you, thank you!" Jenine went on. "My Momma was so brave to jump in the water after me but you were the best, jumping in after both of us."
She ran out of words then and simply cried into his shoulder. He glanced up and saw a look of pure love on MayBell's face.
"Okay, honey," MayBell said to Jenine then, reaching for her. "You get ready for school now. I've got to get Mr J.A. up and get him set. He's gonna have visitors today."
"Yes, Momma," she said, and planted a kiss on J.A.'s cheek before grabbing a hug from her Momma and leaving the room.
"She's wonderful!" he said.
"You're wonderful!" she replied, "Giving her back to me like you did."
Then he had another crying woman hugging him. He kissed MayBell on the head and said: "You getting me up?"
"Yes," she said, brightly, wiping the tears from her cheek. "Right now. Get this IV out and I'll get you cleaned up and then some light breakfast. Want you to rest as much as you need though."
"Been resting a long time! I guess!" he said. "Need a little activity.
She bustled around and had the IV hookup unattached in a few seconds and pushed the pole away from the bed.
"I think that we'll start with a shower!" she said.
"Hey," he replied with a wan smile, "I'm not wearing anything."
"I know, Mr Patient," she said, "Made it easier to take care of you: bed baths and things."
"Yes," he said, "I understand the 'and things'. Thank you so much."
"Well, I am getting paid," she said a bit embarrassed.
"Not the point at all," he replied, "And you know it. You took special care of me. So, help haul me out of here and off to the shower."
She was at his side then and helped him get out of bed. His head swam for just a moment, after he stood but she was holding onto him.
"Hmmm," he said, "Takes some getting used to."
"Just lean on me!" she said.
"Like I've been doing for weeks!" he said and she giggled.
He smiled at her, hearing that sound and said, speaking his mind: "There is so much richness to you, MayBell Williams."
"Thank you, J. Alden Wayne!" she replied, and they shuffled across the room toward the bathroom.
"Need the potty?" she asked.
"You know, I do!" he said.
"Okay," she replied, helping him get seated on the toilet. "I'll be outside."
"Not far away," he said, "Not sure that I can even get up by myself."
"All services included!" she said, smiling.
"Yes, I'm aware of that!" he replied.
"Glad you can't see my blush with the color of my skin!" she replied.
"Beautiful color, MayBell!" he said.
"Ohhhhh," was her only reply. She left him then to use the toilet and went back in, when he called for her.
Then it was up and into the shower. She had him seated on the seat in the shower stall and, making a decision, took her robe and nightgown off and joined him in the shower.
"Wow!" he said.
"Being professional here," she said.
"Being naked here!" he replied, and got another giggle from her.
She began to wash him and noticed, in the process, that his erection, present and accounted for, was huge. As he turned for her to continue washing, while he was bracing himself against the shower stall, he began to have an orgasm and came all over her.
He laughed and she giggled.
"Proud of ourself, are we?" she asked.
"Indubitably!" he said with a grin. Then: "MayBell Williams, you're fun!"
"Thank you, J.A. Wayne! Now you sit here and I'll get dried and be ready for you.
She dried herself, with him watching and making soft comments about the beauty of her, causing her to smile again and again. Finally, she put her robe on and he pouted!
"Stop or I'll leave you there!" she warned.
"Bet you won't!" he said.
"Oh, of course not," she replied, "I'm only kidding you; but let's get you out of there, or Mr Pruny!"
He laughed and she had him dried next and got him into a pair of pj bottoms and a tee shirt.
"I know that Jenine, your greatest fan, next to me, is going to want a hug before she's off to school."
"Lovely!" he said.
"And then it's the doctor and RayEllen but we don't want to tire you out on the first day."
Beginning with Jenine's pre-school visit to him, it was a busy and hectic morning. MayBell insisted that he take rests between meeting and talking with people.
They had the doctor in first, who was pleased with the way that he found J.A.
Turning to MayBell, the doctor said: "Ms Williams, you've worked wonders with him and I hope he knows that."
She only smiled and said a 'thank you'.
"I assure you that I know that," J.A. said in response.
Then RayEllen came. She was, at first, weepy at seeing him and gave him a hug.
MayBell left the two of them, since RayEllen wanted to give him an overview of the way that the business was faring.
He chuckled, as RayEllen finished: "Here I have been lying around and taking my ease and we're still making money great guns! I appreciate that, and I am going to insist on a healthy bonus for you!"
"Thank you, J.A.," RayEllen said. "I'm just so glad you're back with us."
"Yes," he replied, "Thanks to MayBell Williams' care."
MayBell was standing in the doorway, when he said this, smiling at her. She returned the smile.
"Okay, Mr Big Shot Businessman," MayBell said, when RayEllen had left, promising to keep him up to date, pending his return to the office, "It's a snooze for you and then something to eat."
"Good!" he said, "Food! It's a shame the way you've been starving me!"
"Don't start with me," she said, grinning, "I'm still stronger and faster than you!"
"Won't be always!" he said, grinning.
"A threat?" she asked.
"No," he replied, "A promise."
She supervised the eating process, making sure that he ate slowly and took little bites. She warned him that she didn't want him to get sick from bolting his food.
"Yes, Ma'am," he said with fake exasperation and she grinned.
During the day, they talked about his progress and MayBell had talked to the doctor about it. They were recommending that a physical therapist be brought in to begin helping J.A. get his strength back. He was excited about the possibility.
That began a new phase of his care, with the physical therapist working with him daily for several weeks.
At the end of that time period, he continued his progress by doing some running each day, beginning very slowly and working up to a more challenging schedule.
MayBell ran with him. They were companionable about it and enjoyed their runs each day.
It was only a short thereafter that it started to become obvious that J.A. was getting ready to take care of himself.
There were a few general 'triumphs' during this time period. For one, MayBell took him to the fire station, when the members of his rescue squad were on duty.
He entered grinning at them and the place was pandaemonium for a time period, as they surrounded him, slapped him on the back and got hugs all around.
He presented MayBell to them, as his positive savior and also mentioned that she was the woman who was, with her daughter, rescued at the time that he got his concussion.
"She brought me back!" he said simply but with some emotion in his voice, and MayBell became a favorite of all of them.
The outing was a treat, and was followed by another such event, at about the same time, when J.A. returned to work. He was welcomed warmly by everyone there. He spent some time, talking to various managers and many of the members of the work force. It was simply a triumph.
It was about that time that MayBell sat down with Jenine to talk about the situation.
"Honey," MayBell led off, "I think that soon this job that I'm on is going to be over."
"I thought so too, Momma," Jenine answered. "He seems to be doing so well! You going back to the hospital?"
"Well, I am," MayBell answered. "They're holding the job for me. And I think that he isn't going to need me all the time much anymore."
"What are we going to do?" Jenine wanted to know.
"It's what we and especially I need to think about. I've rented our house out to cousin Jackie and don't want to just throw her out. That wouldn't be fair to her," MayBell mused out loud.
"Let me just think about it!" MayBell said and Jenine nodded.
Jenine, however, was determined to do something. She, like her Momma, was very decisive, when she'd made up her mind. She had decided that she'd talk to J.A. about it. They had begun having, at an early state, a good and close relationship, and she was sure that she could talk to him about this dilemma.
It was an early evening, when MayBell needed to be away for the evening. She was having a dinner out with cousin Jackie. Jenine took the opportunity to go and seek out J.A. in his library.
He was perusing some magazines in the later part of the evening, aware of his promise to make sure that Nadine was put to bed. He thought she was using the computer in her room, when there was a knock on the door.
"Yes?" he said and she came in.
"Hey, sweetie!" he said and then he noticed that she was close to tears.
"Hey, hey," he said, spreading his arms to hold her; "What is it? Tell me. Tell J.A.!"
"It's me and my Momma," she said. "She doesn't know that I've come to talk to you about it."
"Okay," he responded, "Let's talk; we can solve whatever it is."
"We have no place to go, now that her job with you is over; no place to live!" she said and began to cry. "I don't like that."
"What do you mean?" he said, realizing that there was some information here that he didn't have.
"My Momma has let my cousin Jackie rent our house and Jackie has no other place to go, so we can't go back to our house!" she said, sobbing.
"But, honey," he said, kissing her cheek. "This is your house; don't you know that? This is your home. I have no intention of letting you and your Momma go anywhere."
"Oh, really?" she asked, with the hope now spreading across her face.