BOB User Stories: A Celebration with Friends Episode II

A Celebration with Friends Episode Two

Read A Celebration with Friends Episode I here.

Just as the German Major was abandoning his stricken fighter to plunge into the icy void, down below, and nearly a mile to the East, James Herriodd, a much loved country vet, was having his own set of troubles. Jack Wilson’s old Clydesdale, Bob, was down with a fatal twisted bowel (or torsion of the bowel) and Jim had been called out to end Bob’s long life and relieve the misery.

“When called, you must attend” – “you MUST attend.” Even on Christmas Eve reflected Jim as he finished the terrible task, wrapped and put away his little pistol-like humane killer. At least it was for a very good reason. The now deceased beast had been in excruciating pain for hours. Bob was free from further torment now and as Jim looked across the disturbed layers of straw he saw that the peaceful body of the old stallion was still steaming in the frigid cold air of the creaky barn.

It had been very cold inside, yet as Jim struggled to get the old barn door open against the banked snowdrifts and heavy gale blowing outside, he realized it was bitter cold outside. Pulling down his felt hat and covering his face with the soft, red woolen scarf his wife had forced him to take along, he pulled up his coat collar around his bright red ears and thrust his bowed head into the whipping wind and snow.

Looking at his watch in the warm glow of the kerosene lamp he was carrying he told himself that if he hurried he could just make it home in time for midnight mass with his wife and friends. For a moment he stood gazing into the glow as big snowflakes kissed the hot globe of the lamp and melted away. It caused him to think warm thoughts of home and hearth…and friends waiting.

Taking another deep step, the vet found himself falling. He had tripped over something buried in the snow. The lamp made a bright, white arc from his hand across the dark void and tinkled into a deep snowdrift a few feet away. It was dark now. It was cold and painful lying there sprawled halfway into a growing drift. Standing up, Jim brushed away some clinging snow and noticed a sharp pain as he tried to get his balance. Even a country vet had no difficulty recognizing a sprained human ankle he decided. This would complicate things. He was in a desperate situation indeed.

On he trudged limping in the general direction of the road where he had left his car. His frosty breath became labored as he plodded on through much more snow than he had expected to have to deal with. The chill was creeping down his collar and up his sleeves. His pants were already stiff and freezing. Perhaps he should turn back? He knew that he could not have gone more than a hundred feet from the big, red barn. Yet when he stopped and turned around, its looming, dark shape could not even be seen through the curtain of flakes and gloom.

That was when it struck him. He was crippled, totally lost and the wind driven snow was blinding. You do not get to write MRCVS after your name if you are an idiot and James was no idiot. He knew he was in trouble, serious trouble.

He said a silent prayer into the teeth of the biting,uncaring wind and turned to continue. At that precise moment, toward the West James saw a soft glow in the sky become brighter until it was a fiery ball. Whatever it was it was coming his way. He stood there transfixed as the burning orb rolled across the heavens in his general direction lighting the clouds, the earth and everything in its path.

Suddenly, James could see the barn silhouetted in the glow. Sure enough, it was just under a hundred feet away. Instantly he began to fight his way toward the relative warmth behind its creaky old clapboards. There was a horrendous crash as what was left of Max’s 109 plowed deep into the snow beside the barn. Knocked sprawling by the concussion, James rose and continued his struggle toward the barn. The fire was still blazing as Jim reached it so he stopped to thaw his frozen body a bit in its welcome radiance. Beginning to feel alive again Jim realized his savior was a pilotless German fighter.

How ironic it was, he thought, that such a machine of destruction and death had saved his life. It had, he was sure of that. Afraid that the ammunition might begin cooking off, he forced himself away from the welcome heat and into the safety of the barn. In the barn this was survivable. He knew that someone would see his car on the road in the morning and begin a search.

Less than one mile away from the barn, on the same road James’ car was parked upon, safe and warm in the comfort of his car, old Doctor Thom Fezziwig is beating his merry way homeward through the worst Christmas Eve blizzard in his long memory.

The kind old doctor is coming home from a evening maternity house call and is looking forward to a late Yuletide supper with a few of his many friends. His large, black automobile crunches along the icy road slipping and sliding from side to side.
Unfazed by the ice, the happy doc begins to sing a festive carol in a deep baritone voice and at the full capacity of his lungs. Suddenly, a bright streak of fire blinds the good doctor as it crosses the road at tree top height and crashes to earth somewhere beyond the roadside trees.
Rounding the next frozen curve the doctor sees a startled falling man hanging from a parachute in the bright beams of the headlights. The doctor slams on his brakes to skid into the ditch beside the road. Within moments Major Max Tannenbaum is resting in the warm car and being ministered to by the good doctor Thom.

Revived and thawed, Max swallows a huge slug of medicinal brandy and coughs his appreciation as he feels it course through his body like liquid fire. In his best English Max thanks the old doctor for his help and asks to be delivered to the nearest military authority. The doctor waves this away and reminds the German that it is Christmas Eve and that he has friends waiting for him. Max’s wounds are not serious so he will stop at the nearest police station and let them sort it all out. Max is in no position to argue and only grunts his approval.

Backing out of the frosty ditch they begin the long journey into town. Before they have gone far the doctor points over to a bright blaze a few fields away. “That was your aircraft old man”, asked the doc? “Ya, it vass mine vun oh nine”, answered Max sadly. “It almost got me home tonight.”

They pass a beat up, old, green Ford parked in the gathering drifts by the side of the road. A few feet beyond the parked car Doc’s car screeches to a slippery, sliding halt. That was James’ old car. James is a very good friend and the Doc knows something is wrong if James’ car is way out here on a inclement night like this.
Doctor Thom explains the situation to Max. Jim must be up at farmer Wilson’s barn near that big blaze. He could be in trouble. If Max would help, they would set out for the barn using the fiery crash site to keep their bearings.

Max agrees to help the old doctor search for the vet. What else could he do for the man who had saved him from freezing to death by the side of the road? The two men gathered some items into a big black Gladstone bag, bundled up, and began tramping through the deepening snow toward farmer Wilson’s barn and the beckoning blaze of Max’s plane.

Read the next entry in this user-created story here, whenever it becomes available.