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Alan D Busch

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These Lights We Kindle, revision 2
By Alan D Busch
Saturday, November 14, 2009

Rated "G" by the Author.

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revision #2

These Lights We Kindle

By Alan D. Busch

“Mr. Busch?” a stranger’s voice inquired. 

I girded myself but could not stop trembling for I knew, with a

parent’s intuition, that something bad had befallen one of my

children.

“Please God. No!” I silently pled. “Not again.”

“Yes, this is Mr. Busch,” I acknowledged reluctantly.

“Mr. Busch, my name is Ann,” she began calmly.  “I have

 just left your daughter Kimberly.”

“Kimberly!” I shot back. “Is she alright? Is she hurt?

Tell me where she is!”

"Mr. Busch,” she continued as calmly as she had begun.

“Your daughter is fine. Really! We’re about an hour south

of Chicago at mile marker 80. Kimberly was involved in an

accident,
but she isn't hurt, not a scratch."

“Kimmy.  An accident! Not hurt! Thank God!”

“Yes, yes. She’s fine,” she reassured me.

“I’ve already left the scene,” Ann explained, “but when I saw it

happen,
I pulled over to offer whatever assistance I could.

That’s when I met Kimmy.

I promised her I’d call you as soon as the police arrived.”

“Listen Ann,” I interrupted her as politely as I could.  “Thank

you from
the bottom of my heart. You can’t imagine how

much what you’ve done means to me.”

 I realized later I had hung up on Ann without getting her last

name and phone number.


“Jan, sorry to call at work but it’s urgent,” I told Kimmy’s

mom with as much calm as I could
feign.  “What is it?” she

asked haltingly. I swallowed hard.

“Kimmy’s been in an accident, but she’s fine,” I hastened to

emphasize. “Walked away without a
scratch.”

“No, not Kimmy!” she cried out, her voice choked with

emotion.

“Listen ‘Hon’,” I interrupted, addressing her with an old term

of endearment. “Kimberly is safe and
unhurt. She’ll tell you

everything later. I’m leaving to get her right now. Talk later.”

I gathered my things and ran out.


I found Kimmy standing in front of the service garage that

had towed her car.

“Dad, can we just go home?” she asked, looking battered

and worn out.

“Yes Sweety, in a few minutes.” I walked over to the garage’s

office.

“I’ve never seen anything like it,” Bill, the paunchy owner,

admitted. 

“And I’ve seen quite a few of these in my time,” he added,

looking perplexed while scratching his
head.  We settled up.


The collision crumpled the entire front end within several

inches of the dashboard, making it look like the bellows of an

accordion, The driver’s side door, to my amazement, opened

cleanly. I slumped down in the driver’s seat.  “My baby girl

almost died here today,” I muttered to myself, desperately

straining not to break down in front of my daughter.

“Dad, are you ready?” Kimmy, my only daughter, asked with

understandable impatience.

“Not quite, Sweety Give me a couple minutes more,” I softly

pled. She nodded reluctantly.Then they came back to me.

The six words I’ll never forget.


Dr. Ibrahim Yosef, chief resident trauma surgeon, was on

call that morning in the ER of Cook County Hospital. My

first-born son Ben had been transported in by Chicago Fire

paramedics only minutes before.

“Mr. Busch? Are you the father of Benjamin Busch?”

 “Yes, Sir,” my voice quivered.

“Ben has suffered massive internal injuries from a traffic

accident,” he explained. Then he said them: “I suggest you

come down immediately." I knew how this day would end.

Two hours later, my father and I witnessed our twenty-two

year old son and grandson die on the emergency room

operating table. I knew in my mind’s eye from that moment

on that I would stare at Ben’s unresponsive body forever.


“Dad?”  Kimmy called me, shaking my shoulder. I got up and

planted a big “Daddy” kiss on her forehead.

“Okay. Now I’m ready to go home, Sweety.”


We didn’t talk much.  Kimmy, understandably skittish,

gasped every time I braked or switched  lanes.

“You okay?”

“Yes  Dad. Just beat.” An hour and a half later, I pulled into

my old driveway.  My heart sank.  I wanted to spend more

time with her, but her mom was waiting.  We’d get together

later.

It was the season of miracles old and new, a time for

spinning dreidels, eating potato latkes and showering

chocolate coins upon the heads of children. Chanukah, The

Festival of Lights, was on display in the front window of every

Jewish home.


 Kimmy joined me and Zac, her younger brother, that Friday

night for Shabbat Chanukah dinner. The table was set, its

candles aglow. We gathered around.

“Sweetheart,” I turned to my daughter. My voice cracked as I

began a short speech.

“Yes Dad,” she responded laughingly while drying a few

tears.

“This Shabbat is extra special.”  I lifted the Kiddush cup. "I

am so thankful to have you by my side.”  

My right hand trembled slightly.  I let a moment pass. The

candles flickered more brightly at that instant, illuminating the

serpentine path of a single drop of wine running down my

hand. I chanted the blessing over the wine and thanked The

One Above for her life. It was a wonderfully, simple moment..


Reflecting on how that day might have otherwise ended, I

realized that “a great miracle had happened there”, the best

Chanukah gift any dad could ever hope to receive.

Alan D. Busch

11/15/09

 

 


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