Wednesday, February 09, 2011

A Summons To Jackson

Like everyone else in Arkansas, I am socked in by one of the biggest snowstorms in pretty much anybodies memory. And for once, I really don't have time for this. Sure, it's pretty to look at and it's nice to get a couple of free days off from work. But I have other concerns.

My friend Hugh is in the ICU at a hospital in Jackson. He's on a ventilator. Seems he caught the flu, which turned into double pneumonia. Which turned into something called Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome. It is every bit as scary as it sounds and is the reason for his current predicament.

I graduated from law school with Hugh where we went to ball games and hung out in bars together. We also studied occasionally. I sang at he and Laura's wedding. He called me when they adopted Camille and Susannah. We've gone to ball games, played golf and done the stuff guys in the South like to do. Except hunt and get arrested. Anyway, he is as good a friend as I have in this life. And here I am stuck on top of this hill at Ice Station Zebra.

I tried to game this. I checked on getting a flight down there. Unless I get to Memphis by 7 AM, which ain't gonna happen due to the jack-knifed 18 wheelers on I-40, my options aren't very good. Fly to Houston for 4 hour layover? No good way to fly from here to Jackson. Might as well drive. Sure, I could have stole a march on the storm and headed down Monday or Tuesday. But I had stuff at work that I had to catch up on after the office closing last Friday on account of snow. And it ain't a good idea to leave an 80-something year old house when they are calling for lows in the teens.

Laura and I talked about it at length Sunday and Monday. She understands. What are the odds of hale and hearty Hugh Tedder coming down with something like this while Little Rock is getting socked with the biggest "snow event" in memory? Just bad luck all the way around.

I also know there's nothing I can do except be with Laura. Hugh's sedated. It's not like I could really visit him. But I could drive Susannah around or let Laura go get some rest. It's not much but I could do that. I could do something.

I feel completely useless right now. But there's not a damn thing I can do about it until the roads clear. There's no point in me getting stuck on US 65 around White Hall or someplace. There's no point in risking wrapping my car around a lightpole. One member of the family in the ICU at a time please.

They came up for a visit about this time 2 years ago. We had a great time. We went to the Presidential Library and hung around in the River Market. We had a nice dinner at Ferneau.

Laura told Hugh that she wanted to move up here to Hillcrest. Hugh seemed amenable to the idea maybe someday. It was nice thing to think about at least.

Laura's cool. She knows I will be there as soon as I can.

I'm shooting for Friday. I hope to be in Jackson by Friday.

And I hope that both of them can come back to Hillcrest soon. Really soon. I don't think anything would make me happier to see them come through my front door agaun.

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