Now Tyler was a hard working blue-collar man. He loved his wife but found the siren's call of alcohol so hard to resist. And yet, he had promised Eliza that he would stop. Now all of the guys at work, upon hearing he was going to be a father, were trying to convince him to go to Big Country's bar to celebrate the news. His so called friends wouldn't take no for an answer and chided him for not standing up to his woman and laying the law down to her. Little did they know that it was Tyler who had decided to give up drinking and Eliza had said nothing.
When they started bad-mouthing Eliza, Tyler exploded in anger and a fight ensued between him and Willie Gentry. The other guys pulled the two apart but not before a couple of black eyes, busted lip, and broken nose was gained. Willie got the worst of it. Tyler was used to fighting and even enjoyed it in his younger years.
When he came in the door at home thirty minutes later, Eliza was mortified at his roughed up appearance and his shiner. "My word, Tyler! What on earth happened?"
"Willie Gentry was running his mouth and we got into a scuffle. If you think I look bad, you should see ole Willie!" he said with a grin.
"What in the world were you two fighting about?" Eliza wanted to know. "Aww, the guys were trying to get me to go drinking and wouldn't take no for an answer, then Willie popped off about you, and I lost my cool." he said sheepishly. "I'm sorry, darlin'."
"Oh, honey, I'm just glad you are okay." she hugged him and then got a steak to hold over his blackened eye. "I'm just glad you whipped him good." she said with a mischievous grin.
Eliza was so proud of Tyler for resisting temptation. Maybe this was the beginning of a true change of heart. She said nothing to Tyler about it but she pondered this and many other things in her heart.
The next day was stormy. The rain drummed furiously upon the roof and the wind thrashed the trees about. It was thunder and lightening streaked through the darkened sky. Eliza kept looking out of the kitchen windows observing the storm and keeping an eye out for tornadoes while she made Tyler breakfast.
She prepared bacon, eggs, cheese grits, and buttermilk biscuits and poured him a big cup of coffee. Just then, Tyler came out dressed for work. "It looks bad out there." Eliza said in a worried voice.
"I drove through worse. Don't worry your pretty little head, 'Liza. It will be okay." he assured her.
They ate their breakfast and talked over their plans for the day. Eliza packed a hearty lunch made up from last night's dinner leftovers for Tyler to take along with him to work and filled his stainless-steel thermos with ice-cold sweet tea.
By then it was time for him to leave. Eliza walked Tyler to the door, hugged him tight, asked him to please be careful, and kissed him goodbye. She stood on the porch and watched him until he was out of sight.
Tyler drummed his fingers on the steering wheel along with the country tunes that blared from his car radio. He was squinting trying to see the road. Though the window wipers were turned on high, they didn't help much.
A flash of lightening then lit up the sky and a bolt hit a tree, splitting it in half just as Tyler approached. One half of the tree fell across the road, and Tyler jerked the steering wheel and hit the brakes to avoid hitting the tree. When he did, he lost control of the car and plunged into a heavily wooded ravine!
The car came to a stop and Tyler knew he was in trouble. He felt warmth oozing from his head and realized he was bleeding. He tried to move, but the pain was unbearable. He felt dizzy and just before he lost consciousness he cried out, "Dear Lord, help me!"
To be continued...
Copyright by Tracy Hathcock