August came in a rush. Between showers, going back and forth between Mississippi and Louisiana and Texas, working as a valet, and writing thank you notes the wedding was upon us before we knew it. I couldn’t believe that everything was coming together so well. In less than a month, Paul and I would get married.
Just when everything seems to be going perfect is when everything around you comes crashing to a halt, and you realize wedding plans are just that…wedding plans.
One night while watching TV my dad called. I knew it wasn’t going to be good when I heard his voice on the line. My dad does not call at night for no reason.
“MacKenzie, we’re at the emergency room in Kosciusko. Tom, Granny (my mom’s parents), Uncle Dewayne, and Aunt Mary (My mom’s brother and sister-in-law) were in a wreck tonight while on their way to Starkville to see Mirae and J (my cousin and her husband). Uncle Dewayne has a broken leg. Aunt Mary is ok. Tom has some cuts and bruises and they are examining him. Granny is not doing well though. They will take her to Jackson soon, but everything is ok.” All of this was said in a very calm, soothing voice. My dad is stable in times of chaos and panic. He is the steadiest person I know.
“Ok, well…I was coming home next week so I’ll just come a few days earlier.”
The conversation ended a few minutes later, and moments after I had hung up the phone either Kathy or Jimmy Rone called, asking for Paul. After explaining he was at work I told them I had talked to Daddy and would come home the next day.
Paul came over after work and I believe he had talked to my dad already. He stayed with me that night – in the other guest room. I just didn’t want to be alone. My world, in a matter of minutes, had come crashing down around me. Who cared about wedding plans and thank you notes now? The only thing I knew, being so far away, was that my grandparents, especially my Granny, was in critical condition. My mom, who I had not spoken to that night, I knew was taking it hard. Her mother, father, and brother had all been hurt in some way. I wondered how she was doing, but took comfort in knowing my dad was with her.
I had no specific details. I would have to wait until I arrived at the hospital to get any real answers. It was a long, sleepless night and would be a longer drive back home.