On Jan. 18, after a fall on the Newton County Rifle Range and a broken kneecap, someone told me I was lucky. I naturally asked, “Lucky, how am I lucky to be facing surgery and rehab for six weeks or more?”
"Well," my friend responded, "you could have broken your hip." Yes, my injury might have been worse -- so I thanked the good Lord for all the good that came along with this injury.
Example No. 1. Local resident Bill Bradford told me he was a loyal reader of my weekly articles in the Rockdale Citizen. When he read about my confinement in room 315 at Morgan Memorial Hospital TCU, he decided to pay me a visit and en route went by one of his favorite restaurants in Rutledge. While there, he ate a favorite dessert, a black walnut slice of homemade pie. He brought me a piece and made a contribution to all those nice people who are spoiling me rotten during my confinement.
My wife, Dottie, has taken time to peel me some fresh oranges and has made me a few blueberry muffins. Lt. Mitchell of the Newton County Sheriff's Office stopped by to check on my progress and brought several local newspapers along with him for me to keep up with current events. Sheriff Ezell Brown and Frank Hilton and family kept me supplied with other newspapers.
Investigator Cook remembered that on special occasions I have been known to snack on a Frostee -- so what better gift for a fellow lucky enough to break a kneecap rather than a hip than a Wendy's special treat? Probably too much sugar, but -- what the heck!
Others who have helped make long days special and lucky have included not only Sheriff Brown, who brought stories of times he and I have shared in common in the past, but also retired FBI special agents Bill Hinshaw, Larry Sollars, Jim White, Jim Blasingame, Al Brown and John Maurer who shared long ago cases we worked together. Visits from Frank Hilton, Lt. Bradford and his wife, Bob Cooley, Walt Taylor, Darrell Anders, Doug Kitchens and Woody Woodward, people who knew me when times were better and pain less severe also helped me to recuperate. Cards, phone calls, special greetings from so very many nice people; special help given me and my spouse by friends and family members and co-workers; flowers from a favorite niece in nearby Virginia -- all so much appreciated.
Old soldier, Pete Mecca, an email and phone call wishing for my speedy recovery were equally appreciated and most welcome. Pete has a way of not forgetting old warriors, and he tells their stories so well in his Citizen columns.
Probably one of the most memorable phone calls I have received during this injury came on the morning of Feb. 11 from former deputy director of the FBI, Mr. Cartha D. DeLoach, third most senior official in charge of the FBI after J. Edgar Hoover. It literally blew my mind and brought tears to my eyes that Mr. DeLoach would take the time from his retirement in Hilton Head to call inquiring about my injury and recovery! He joined the FBI in 1942, the year I graduated from high school. Mr. DeLoach rose quickly through the ranks and is well remembered for investigating the John F. Kennedy case. He retired in 1970 and worked as vice president of corporate affairs for Pepsi Co. In 1995, Mr. DeLoach wrote "Hoover's FBI," a book I am proud to include in my home library. I'll never forget this very special phone call, a real highlight in my life.
Thanks to each and every one for helping me get back home, where now I'm now in home care and home therapy. Apologies to those who also helped me and are not mentioned in this column because of foggy memory caused by current medications. I may have missed mentioning your name, but I'll never forget all those well wishers!
Jack Simpson is a former educator, veteran, author and law enforcement officer. His column appears each Friday. For past columns, visit www.rockdalecitizen.com or www.newtoncitizen.com