Three seconds can provide a wakeup call for living

As I sit here peeling skin off my sunburnt arm, I am reminded of the very appealing (did you catch what I
just did there? … word play … genius) spring break vacation from which the wife and I recently returned.

I am also reminded of how this vacation came to pass. Last February I received a phone call from a very
frantic son-in-law to say that the daughter and granddaughters were in a serious car accident in
Georgia. He was on his way to the scene to find out how they were. This is the phone call that every
parent dreads, the phone call that nightmares are made of.
Suffice it to say that the granddaughters were shaken up, but fine. But the daughter’s right wrist was
shattered and required surgery and a lot of implanted metal hardware to return to normal function. As an
artist and art teacher, the threat of losing her passion and livelihood in the three seconds it took a
distracted driver to T-bone her car, scared us all.
Life gives us experiences like this to provide a wake-up call that “every day is a blessing” and shortly
after her accident the daughter called.
“Hi dad,” she began.
“Good lord,” I said, “What are you doing dialing a phone in your condition. Hang up right now and have
someone else dial it for you.”
“Dad, I’m fine. I’m healing nicely.”
“Well then, put the phone down on a table and lean over to talk into it. I don’t want you to have all
those nuts and bolts in your wrist start popping out because you’re lifting too much weight.”
“Dad, I’m going to be OK. You can stop worrying.”
“The only way I am going to stop worrying about you is when they throw the last shovel-full of dirt on my
cold dead body.”
“Gross, dad. Will you let me get to the point of this phone call?”
“That depends, is the phone down on the table?”
“Yes, as far as you know, dad. Look, the reason I called is because I’ve been thinking. Since the
accident, I have felt the need to get the whole family together for some quality time. I want to book a
vacation home in Seagrove Beach, Florida. I want to spend a week on a beach with my family. I know how
much you and mom have worried throughout this whole ordeal and I just want us all to be together.”
Very rarely am I without words, as most of you reading this know. But knowing what she was trying to say
and knowing what she’d been through, I could only get silently moist in the face.
“Dad? Dad, are you there?”
“I’m here, honey. And I think your family vacation idea is the best idea I’ve ever heard! Let me tell you
right now, your Mom and I are SO in.”
“Great,” she said. “I’ll plan everything! I’m so excited. I love you dad.”
“Love you, too. Now you have someone else hang up that phone before you throw a bolt.”
It’s really true. Every day is a blessing. You never know what can happen in three seconds.
Our week in Florida with the daughter and her family, and the son and his wife was so perfect and so
necessary. Our family is very fortunate that those three seconds had a happy ending.
Now, what am I going to do with this pile of sunburnt skin peelings … not so appealing now.
Raul Ascunce is a freelance columnist for the Sentinel-Tribune. He may be contacted at
[email protected]