Saturday, December 19, 2009

There Is No Arizona

Well, I was hoping to post the video to this song...but there really must be no AZ, because I cannot even do that!

Right about now, we were hoping to be basking in the warmth of The Valley, making plans to catch up with and visit my dearly missed friends over the next couple of days.

As usual plans had to be put on hold. What is it with me getting back to Arizona? It just doesn't seem to be in the cards. Something always comes up.

This trip's little malfunction came about courtesy of my oldest brother. Thankfully, he is alive and recovering. But it was close. VERY CLOSE!

The story of what happened is very sketchy and dear brother is in no shape to recall exactly how the events played out. So the only clear way to tell it is short and sweet...

Dear brother was out and about in single digit weather. Got the pickup he was driving stuck in the middle of nowhere. For some unknown and as yet, unexplained reason the pickup started on fire and dear brother was stranded for 24 hours, with the temperatures dipping into the sub zeros overnight. It was the next morning before a full scale search was started and even then it took them about 6 hours to find him.

We pretty much thought they would find him dead. My mom was prepared for that. The search party members were prepared for that.

But he is alive...and in a lot better shape than any of us expected. The first few days was touch and go as to whether he would get to keep his feet. So far, it's looking good. It will be a long while before he is out of the woods in that department though. The doctors told him no caffeine and absolutely NO TOBACCO. The slightest amount of reduced circulation and he could loose at least his toes, if not parts of his feet. His hands are burned from trying to put out the fire in the pickup. His coat burned up too. No one can believe he survived that long without a coat or gloves. If anything...I would say, he got his Christmas miracle.

Mentally, he is in no shape to talk about his ordeal. He knows he stared death in the face. Physically they have him on some strong, strong pain-killers. He's pretty much out of it most of the time. It's the only way to deal with the pain.

I could not rush back when the first phone call came. Megan was in the middle of semester tests. Now, I do not dare go back. I am furious at him and his wife for being so stupid. For the last few winters, mom has warned them and warned them about being prepared for such weather, don't go out "driving around" and always let someone know where you are headed. They called her a "worry wart" and phoo-phooed her. It will be a long time before I can look those people in the face again and not see red. No, now that the fear he may die is over, I dare not go back.

His daughter is home for Christmas break and will do chores until college starts back up. Thankfully, all she will have to do is pitch hay to the stallion and open water for the rest. I doubt she could handle more than that. A couple of weeks will max her out anyway, she's not real big on the whole "taking care of stuff" part of being a ranch hand. At least she wasn't when she actually lived at the ranch. Mom thinks she can work it out with a neighbor to come over and do chores after that. Dear brother will not be doing outside chores the rest of this winter...that is if he wants to keep his feet.

If need be, mom and I have discussed moving the stallion to town so she can take care of him and all the neighbor will have to do is open water for the herd. We will just have to see how things go and take it one day at a time.

So, after all that...hopefully we will be able make it to AZ for a few days of warmth and visiting before Megan has to start school again. First we have to make it through Christmas! I'm so not ready.


Mrs. Mom said...

Yeah Man, I'd say he is Mighty Lucky. If it weren't for that heavy dose if divine intervention, that story sure would have a different ending....

Hope you can get to AZ! If ya want to be WARM, come THIS way...hehehehe

Mikey said...

Wow, that is crazy!!! I'm so glad he made it and he's ok, but damn! That is wild. Mother Nature is nothing to fool with. He's a lucky man!
AZ will still be here. We'll be waiting on ya :)

GoLightly said...

OH, BEC, wow, was he lucky!

and do I hear you on the "WTF were you thinking??"

Must be a brother trait.
Mine does that emotion to me all the time...

Have a very Merry Christmas!

Leah Fry said...

Guys need our help. What the heck was his wife's excuse??

Glad he's okay.

EveryoneThinksThey'reGoodDrivers said...

Well I'm glad to hear you didn't lose your brother.

Was he drunk or something? This sounds like something someone does when they've been drinking.

Sorry AZ got cancelled.

AKPonyGirl said...

Glad for you that your brother's still around.

We have backpacks for everyone that are loaded with an extra pair of gloves, extra socks, a bag of trail mix, two bottles of water and a bunch of those handwarmer things. Even if we are just going to the store in Wasilla we take the backpacks. Cold is nothing to mess with. There is someone here every year that doesn't make it back due to not being prepared.

I want to go to somewhere warm too.

Kristen said...

I'm glad that you're brother made it out of this alive!

Vaquerogirl said...

WOW! That happend to a friend of mine up here in dear old Sunny California also. Last year, they went on a day trip out in the upper high desert in Northern Calif, and they tried to turn around and got stuck in the snow, in a ditch. And like your brother- there is no one else on those old dirt roads in that kind of weather. They were lucky NOT to burn their car down, but they did spend a day and a half in a cold car with no food or water, before a passing BLM ranger accidentally found them.
I'm so glad your brother made it out of his ordeal- maybe he'll be more respectful of the weather- yes? But prolly not!

BrownEyed Cowgirl said...

Surprisingly enough, dear brother was not drunk. May be the only reason he survived?? But the truth is, his reasoning is completely shot because he has been a binge drinker for over half his life.

His wife is not, but as far as common's the blind leading the blind in that family.

My mom thinks this will be a wake-up call. I don't. There has been way too many of those and he has not heeded them. Anyway, it will be months before he is in any shape to be left alone. Perhaps what it will boil down to is being babysat all that time?

Something has to change though. My dad died at age 51. If brother keeps going, he isn't going to make that. He's 46. He's already had a quadrupal by-pass and has heart disease. Also, a pinned together leg and various smashed parts of his body thanks to bull riding.

Apparently he is a little tougher yet than I gave him credit for though.

cdncowgirl said...

Holy Smokes! Yes your brother did receive a miracle. I surely hope he doesn't end up losing his toes or feet. But hopefully he grew a brain?
Seriously, you only go out in that weather if you have to. And then you let people know where you're going, approx. when you'll return and you take some emergency supplies.
I have a spare blanket, extra gloves/toques and snacks with me in the winter. I always have to lecture Pie to remember that stuff though, he's such a city boy - he's never had to worry about being stranded on the highway or in a ditch.

Flying Lily said...

Wow. What a nightmare. I hope he keeps his toes. I know exactly what you mean about the anger. Wonder what made the truck burn?

Michelle said...

Wow. What a shock! I can't imagine the feelings that you must have been experiencing, and still are. I'm so glad for all of you that he's doing so well. Hopefully he pulls through with nothing more than the memories to ensure he never ventures out in bad weather like that again...

Andrea said...

Oh my goodness, how scary. I am glad your brother is doing okay now. That would be so scary. Hopefully he will not do that again!!

And I don't think we are ever totally ready for Christmas!! I am so not even close to being ready!

gtyyup said...

That sounds like a bad movie...he's one unbelievably lucky man. Sure hope it sinks in.

I hope you get your trip to AZ...enjoy some warmth for me too please!