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.
.... There is more of this story ...