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Cherish the Moment:
Starman’s Journey Back from the Brink


By Drew Chittenden


Love’s Full Circle


By Vee Riley


Cherish the Moment:
Starman’s Journey Back from the Brink


By Drew Chittenden

Be here now, the power of now, live in the moment, etc., these are all concepts we’ve contemplated and worked on in our lives. Some people will joke and say “well how can I live in tomorrow?”. If you’ve ever laid awake for hours worrying about that job interview or any other seemingly life altering event you know how you can live in tomorrow and how doing so wrecks your sleep in the now.

What I really want to discuss isn’t so much living in the present, but cherishing the current moment. They are all precious and you just don’t know what the next one will bring. You’ve all heard the saying “ if you want to hear God laugh tell her you have a plan”. I want you to consider just how quickly and drastically that plan can change. In the blink of an eye your whole life direction can be altered, completely without your consent.

The question then is, do you have faith that everything happens for a reason and we all have lessons to learn or is it time to panic, which of course won’t do any good anyway?

I was working on my house last fall and as usual ran out of just the right materials that I wanted to work with on that particular day, so a trip to Home Depot was in order. It was a beautiful, clear, warm morning in October as I drove the back road from Hagerman to Wendell. I moved to Hagerman in 2004 so this is a familiar route. I was just tooling along with no traffic to speak of, just me and the cows, up ahead a farm tractor was heading my way in the other lane doing fine, I was in my lane doing fine.

I looked in my rear view mirror to check behind me and looked back just in time to see the passenger door of that farm tractor in my lane and not even enough time to hit the brake. I plowed right into the side of that tractor at highway speed. Fortunately the air bag worked but my legs were pinned. I slouched over to the passenger seat and thought I’d just wait for help. A moment later I started to smell smoke. Thankfully I kept a fire extinguisher behind my seat. A fire broke out from behind the dash board, and I was able to reach my extinguisher and temporarily put the fire out.

People then started to show up and tried to
pry open the doors, but none of them had another fire extinguisher. I told them to just pull me out through the window but my legs were pinned so they didn’t want to. The fire erupted again but now my extinguisher was empty. The fire climbed up to the ceiling and was dripping, I threw as much of my body as I could out the window and told them to just pull no matter what. That did it. They got me out, dragged me off to the side of the road and we waited for the ambulance. Once the medics showed up, they called Life Flight and we waited for the helicopter. Then the adventure really began.

On impact I had ripped my aorta in two places. The doctor that fixed that part said that the mortality rate for people that rip their aorta once is really high, and he’s never in his life heard of it happening twice to anyone that lived. This was the first doctor to call me a miracle, and there would be others. Also on impact I damaged a kidney, they were worried that the blood supply was wrecked and I would lose the kidney. What they didn’t know was that this kidney had two blood supplies and the other one just took over and saved the kidney. The orthopedic surgeon who put my legs back together is an exceptionally gifted artist - not many doctors could have saved both my legs.

I’m writing this three months after that moment, and my healing is coming along better than expected, but its still a process. That moment definitely wasn’t part of my plan and my life has taken a very interesting, unanticipated turn and suddenly nothing is the same. Instead of working on my house I’m doing physical therapy. However, I’m grateful to still be in a body and have legs, I’m extremely grateful to all my family and friends
who really supported and cared for me and still do. If you really want to know how much people love you, a near fatal car crash works, but I don’t recommend it.

I’m also really grateful for this moment, all things considered, it’s a pretty good one.


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Love’s Full Circle

By Vee Riley

The past is present in this true romance. Get out a map of Missouri and put your finger on Kansas City. Direct it about thirty miles north and you will find the small town of Liberty. High on a hill stands a Liberal Arts College known as William Jewell. It was there I realized my first true love. The year was 1948. For those of you old enough to remember a popular song was “Baby Face.” Jim sang it to me many times as we sipped hot chocolate in a nearby cafe.

That was a special time and a flame was burning in my heart unlike any ever experienced before. I wanted only Jim but time and destiny stepped in with another plan. Our relationship had a parting of the ways. My heart was crushed.

One bright sunny day, fifty-seven years later, I walked across the street to my mailbox in Hailey, Idaho to find a note from Jim. Imagine my surprise. Soon we were on the phone together. His search for me had led him to my hometown in Missouri where he was given my address. Very casual phone conversations followed for about a year.

In July, Jim came to visit me. Somewhat apprehensive, I was not at all excited. Would we have anything in common after all of these years? Meeting him at Atkinson’s Market in Bellevue as he arrived on the Sun Valley Express, I was still wondering.

With age, white hair, and the love of life, the flame has been rekindled for both of us. This time it burns with wisdom and maturity which only “twin flames” can know and experience. We both feel truly blessed for the families we have had.

Jim still lives in Kansas City. Recently, I boarded a Sky West plane headed in that direction. While visiting my old home site, we had a chance to drive north to the quaint little town of Liberty. Side by side our feet walked the path to the top of the hill where we shared memories of a time long ago.

Vee “Baby Face” Riley lives in Hailey, Idaho. Aside from her Reiki healing work she enjoys daily walks in the foothills of the Wood River Valley. She is mother of three, grandmother of three and great-grandmother of two. A lover of life.

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