48: A Miracle for Mellanie

48: A Miracle for Mellanie

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Miracles Happen

A Miracle for Mellanie

Miracles, in the sense of phenomena we cannot explain, surround us on every hand: life itself is the miracle of miracles.

~George Bernard Shaw

“The worse accidents always happen close to home.” I grew up hearing that expression in our small Georgia town, with its winding roads and heavy deer population. Those country roads taught my older sister Mellanie and me many lessons. Living in the boondocks, we learned how to navigate around animals, oncoming cars, and sharp curves. We made it to our early twenties accident-free.

Newly married, my husband and I lived in Perry, Georgia. We were expecting our first child in January. I was excited to head home for the weekend to help plan my sister’s upcoming wedding. It was early October; the leaves would be beautiful on the 100-mile drive and I welcomed the cool, crisp air.

On Thursday morning, something was bothering me. I felt restless, so I decided to start packing a little early.

By mid-afternoon, I felt exhausted and sat down for a nap. Then the phone rang.

“Amy?” the voice asked.

“Mr. James?” I replied. He was the local warden at the county prison back home, and also a close family friend.

“There has been a car accident, sweetie.” His voice was soft.

“Who?” I could barely breathe.

“It’s Mellanie; she has been taken to Newnan Hospital,” he offered.

“I am on my way.” I quickly hung up the phone.

I called my husband, grabbed a bag, and we jumped in the car. I prayed as each mile passed.

My mom met us in the emergency room along with my sister’s fiancé, Jeff.

“What on earth are you doing here?” she asked.

“Mr. James called me,” I told her.

“Well, we didn’t want to worry you, but I am glad you came.” Mom hugged me.

“What happened?” I finally caught my breath.

“She was pulling out of the driveway, headed to work. She says she didn’t see it,” Mom began. “It happened right in our driveway.”

The worst accidents happen close to home….

“She didn’t see what?” I asked.

“The eighteen-wheeler.” Mom’s face was ashen.

“Mellanie was hit by an eighteen-wheeler?” I couldn’t believe it.

“She hit him head on,” Mom said, a tear rolled down her cheek.

Mellanie was in her small, two-door Chrysler.

“She just didn’t see it,” Mom repeated.

As we impatiently waited for the doctors, Mom filled me in on the details. She told me that she and Grandma saw the mangled car in the driveway as soon as they returned from shopping. The truck driver had no injuries and the truck had already been towed.

“We didn’t know what had happened until Jeff called,” Mom said.

“I’m glad she was able to call Jeff. That is a good sign, right?” I asked.

“She didn’t call me… James Williams did,” Jeff said. He clutched his Styrofoam coffee cup with both hands, his brow creased with worry.

“I am so glad Mellanie was able to get in touch with a neighbor.” Mom nervously paced the floor.

“Where is he?” I looked around the emergency room full of strange faces.

“I haven’t seen him; he left before I arrived. Mellanie was sitting on the grass with the truck driver when I got there; I drove straight here,” Jeff said.

We attempted to fill the hours with small talk.

“How are you feeling?” Mom glanced at my stomach.

“Okay.” I hadn’t thought about the baby in hours. I rubbed my swollen abdomen.

The baby wiggled a time or two, reassuring me that all was well.

The Restricted Area doors swung open.

“McCoy Family?” a little, plump nurse asked.

“Here.” My mom jumped to her feet.

“Come with me,” she instructed.

We followed the nurse down a maze of hallways. She gently pushed open a door to her right.

“Come on in,” she said.

Mellanie was quiet, lying in the bed with her eyes closed. Her nose and mouth were crusted over with blood. She had black eyes. Both her knees were propped high on pillows while two nurses carefully tended them. They were covered in bruises, blood and glass.

“She was lucky she had excellent first aid. She could have bled to death without it,” the doctor said as he walked in behind us. “She has a concussion. There is broken glass embedded in her nose, forehead and both knees. As soon as we get her cleaned up and bandaged, we will let her go home, provided she remains perfectly still for the next few days.”

Mellanie opened her eyes and tried to smile, but could not hold back her tears.

“I didn’t even see it, the sun was so bright,” she whispered. “I remembered seeing the prison detail cutting grass to my right. Mr. James was supervising and he waved to me. I waved back and then everything went black for a second.” Mellanie sobbed. “He was so sweet. I don’t remember anything, except for the dirty faces of the prisoners that took me out of the car. They were covered in dirt and grass, but were very gentle with me as they lifted me out of the car.”

“I am so glad they were working on our road that day,” I told her. “You could have sat in that car for an hour waiting for someone to come by.”

Over the weekend, we all took turns caring for Mellanie. She would moan and cry as we pulled out pieces of glass, but she was grateful to be alive.

Our mom was the local baker, so she decided to bake a cake for James and the prisoners who had helped Mellanie.

“I will be right back. I am going to run this cake down to the prison camp,” Mom announced.

“I want to go; Mellanie is in good hands with Jeff.” I gently patted my sister’s head and waddled to the door.

Mom and I signed in at the front desk of the prison. She placed the large, decorated sheet cake on the desk. Its vanilla aroma filled the dark, gray room.

“I want to thank Mr. James and his men for helping my daughter,” Mom proudly said.

“We will go and get him.” The clerk smiled.

Mr. James looked surprised to see us. “Donna, Amy,” his friendly voice boomed.

“I baked you a cake to thank you for all your help with Mellanie the other day.” Mom offered him the cake.

“I appreciated the phone call,” I added.

Mr. James looked puzzled. He just shook his head. “I was sure sorry to hear about her accident, but I wasn’t there.”

“No seriously, we appreciate it.” Mom assumed he was being modest.

We both explained Mellanie’s recollection of the accident.

Mr. James stepped behind the desk and grabbed a large book.

He pointed to the entry. “Donna, according to our log, our last grass cutting on Rocky Mt. Road was August 26th.”

“Well, what… on… earth?” Mom’s southern drawl lingered in the air.

We are not quite sure who helped my sister that day. She insists that it was the familiar face of Mr. James along with the prisoners from the local work camp. Our family is positive that we were granted a miracle that day… a miracle for Mellanie.

~Amy McCoy Dees

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