Warning, this is not for the faint of heart.
My family wasn’t always traditional when it came to Thanksgiving. I have a very small family. Growing up, my ‘family’ consisted of my Mom and Grandmother, my two older brothers, and my Great Aunt and Uncle. Again, perhaps not the most traditional definition. At least not in the 1970s. Later, as my siblings and I grew up, we added spouses, etc. And we often ate out for the holiday. Long before it was fashionable to do so.
In my mid-20s, I became a volunteer EMT, something that I loved and was proud to do. For me, it was less about the adrenalin and more about giving back to my community. My Mom hated it. She had a very old-fashioned idea of a woman’s role. Her vision did not include sleeping in a firehouse with guys and getting covered with other people’s blood. We agreed to disagree.
One very memorable Thanksgiving, we responded to a trauma call at three in the morning on the Tuesday before the holiday. The victim had stolen a, SUV and led the police on a chase for over thirty miles before crashing through the front wall of a restaurant. He had ‘failed to negotiate the curve’, as one officer put it. I was brand new and suddenly in the back of an ambulance careening towards the University of Pennsylvania trauma center with the medic. The dashboard of the stolen truck had folded in on the patient, traumatically amputating both legs. As we left the ER after transferring care of the patient, a young officer walked in carrying a large bio-hazard bag yelling, “I’ve got the legs.” Needless to say, this was the worst call I have ever taken. We cleaned that rig for over an hour.
So there I was, less than 48 hours later, seated at the dining room table, surrounded by my family. Out comes my mother from the kitchen, placing a serving platter with the two turkey drumsticks on it right next to me. And, as you may have guessed, I lost it. I ran into the kitchen laughing so hard that tears poured down my face. If you’ve ever worked as a first responder, then you’ll understand. It’s called gallows humor, and it’s how we get through the crap we see sometimes. Keep in mind, nothing about that ambulance run was funny, and almost 30 years later, I remember it like yesterday. But seeing those turkey legs had hit a chord. My poor Mom came running into the kitchen to make sure I was alright. She took one look at me and said, “I don’t want to know, do I?” That of course only made me laugh harder. She and I had a total honesty policy. I always told my Mom I would answer any of her questions, but she had to be able to handle the truth. I went back to the dining room, and the platter had been moved to the other side of the table. That year, I was more thankful than ever for the health and safety of my loved ones. It’s something I've never taken for granted.
Contemporary ~ Small Town ~ Military ~ Holiday
Eighteen months ago, Amy Windsor’s world imploded. Andrew, the love of her life, died in the line of duty, destroying her vision of forever. Unsure of how to move on without him, Amy’s life is stuck in an endless loop of grief she can’t escape.
Travis “Mac” Mac Gregor was a paramedic on the scene when his friend Andrew died. When he runs into Amy at the cemetery, he recognizes an all too familiar anguish. In that moment, he decides to help coax her out of her cocoon of grief, knowing it could prove to be a Herculean effort. Daily runs. Clearing out Andrew’s belongings. An unlikely friendship develops, and then... something more.
But in the wake of such a tragic loss, Mac fears he’s simply a stand in for her departed love. Are his fears justified? Or, is the bond between he and Amy strong enough to coax her back to the land of the living?
More About Kimberley
Kimberley O’Malley is a transplant to Charlotte, North Carolina from the frozen North. She is learning to say y’all but draws the line at sweet tea. Sarcasm is an art form in her world. She writes small town Contemporary romances and hilarious Cozy Mysteries. When not writing, she is a full-time nurse and part-time soccer Mom, but not necessarily in that order. She shares her life with an amazing husband of more than 23 years, two teenagers, and one very sweet Shetland Sheepdog, Molly.