Authors: Susan Leigh Carlton
Susan Leigh Carlton 2013
Published by Amazon
This publication is protected under the US Copyright Act of 1976 and all other applicable international, federal, state and local laws, and all rights are reserved, including resale rights: you are not allowed to sell this
book to anyone else. Please respect the rights and hard work of the author. If you received this publication from anyone other than Amazon.com, please destroy it and purchase a copy from Amazon.com.
Any trademarks, service marks, product names or named features are assumed to be the property of their respective owners, and are used only for reference.
There is no implied endorsement if we use one of these terms.
on the Brazos
Jim Carlyle yelled to his ten year old daughter, Jordan.
Jordy, get down from that ladder right now before you fall and break your neck. I don’t have the time or patience to get another little girl.”
“Oh, Daddy, I’m not a little girl. I’m ten.”
“You won’t be ten for another month, now get down now.”
“I just want to see them fasten the joists to the sill plates.”
“If you don’t get down now, I won’t let you come to work with me anymore.”
“Okay, Daddy.” She came down 6 rungs on the ladder and jumped the rest of the way.
“You have your hands full with that one Jim,” the owner of the new home said to Jim.
“You got that right. She has her life all mapped out. She says she’s going to A&M, and then she’s going to help me run the business. She is a remarkable little girl. She’s going to be a heart breaker when she grows up. Heaven help the poor soul that marries her.
Jordan Carlyle was not the usual confused freshman when she entered Texas A&M as a freshman in 2003. She entered the academic world as a seasoned veteran of the construction business, having gone to work with her dad since she was six. While in high school, her time slackened, but her summers were spent working full time in the office, or in the field as an assistant to different people working for Carlyle Construction. She planned to do the same while in college.
t the beginning of the second semester of her freshman year at A&M, Jordy’s dad asked, “What are your plans for the summer?”
“Same as always Dad, whatever you or any of the foremen need for me to do.”
“I think you need to rethink that plan. You know as much about our business as you need for a while. I think you should intern with an engineering company or one of the leading construction companies in Dallas or Houston.”
As usual, the wisdom of her dad’s reasoning was sound, and she accepted it. She landed an internship with Clinton Construction Corporation. Clinton builds sports stadiums, does highway construction and other significant projects. Jordy’s first summer was spent working on a new sports venue in Houston for the Houston ice hockey team.
During the summer of her first year as an intern, she met Hank Webster, an engineering student at Baylor University. He was a year ahead of Jordan in school. They dated throughout that first summer and planned to see each other as much as possible at other times. They went out each weekend and an occasional evening during the week. Neither dated anybody else. They were close, and each enjoyed the company of the other.
When they returned to their respective schools in the fall, they texted each other almost everyday. There were isolated dates on weekends when the press of school permitted. During the remainder of college, the relationship stayed pretty much the same. When Hank graduated, he accepted an offer from a firm working on the new Cowboy Stadium west of Dallas. He suggested that Jordan change schools to SMU or TCU so they could be together. They could share an apartment and actually be a couple. Jordy insisted she was an Aggie and would get her BS and MS from A&M. Hank was not happy with the idea and let it be known to Jordan. She was stubborn and could not be swayed from her intended path. She did visit with him on weekends and holidays in Arlington, where he had an apartment. She interned with Clinton between her sophomore and junior years. Between her junior and senior year, she interned with a firm in Dallas. During this time, she lived with Hank.
Hank applied a lot of pressure on Jordy to get her masters from one of the Dallas area universities, but she was an Aggie to the core and stayed at College Station.
Before the ink was quite dry on her master’s diploma, Jordy told her dad she wanted to be in the family business. While he was extremely pleased, he felt she would be limiting herself if she worked at Carlyle Construction. She finally gave in and accepted an engineering position with a significant Dallas firm. Hank was glad she had finally seen the light and would be in the Metroplex, now they would be together.
During the summer of 2009, Hank proposed to Jordan and she accepted. They planned a wedding for the following spring. When she telephoned her mother with the news, her mother asked, “Are you sure he’s the one?”
“Yes, Mom, I’m pretty sure he’s the one. I haven’t dated anyone else since my freshman summer.”
Jordan was a daddy’s girl over anything else, and she told her mother not to tell him, she wanted to do that in person and would come down the next weekend and break the news.
She and Hank drove the 270 miles from Arlington to Sugar Land the following Friday. They had dinner with her family, where she said, “Daddy, we need to talk. Hank asked me to marry him, and I accepted. Our plan is to get married next spring. We would live in Arlington.”
Her dad had never quite warmed to Hank, especially after they began to live together. He knew what couples did in that situation, and he didn’t like to think of anyone doing
to his little girl. He was also an intelligent person and realized there was nothing he could do about it. “Young man, you better be good to my little girl or you’ll have to answer to me,” he said in his gruff, no nonsense voice.
“Yes sir. I will do that. Jordy is very special to me, and I love her. We’re going to be happy together.”
“I hope so,” her dad said somewhat doubtfully. “I hope so.”
They returned to Arlington Sunday afternoon, in a euphoric mood. They enjoyed a night of passionate love making before falling asleep.
* * *
Several months later
The call came in on a Tuesday morning.
“Jordy”… the voice of her distraught mother.
She heard the amount of sadness in her mother’s voice. “Mom, what’s wrong? Are you all right?”
“It’s your dad honey. He had a stroke.”
“How bad is he, Mom? Did he die? What do the doctors say?”
“No, he didn’t die, but he’s in bad shape. They don’t know. I gave him some aspirin as soon as I saw his face. It was all wonky. They say that saved his life, but they don’t know what caused it.”
“Mom, where are you?”
“We’re at Methodist downtown. He’s in surgery now.”
That told Jordy quite a bit. It was bad, or he would be at Methodist in Sugar Land. “Mom, I’ll be there as soon as I can. I’m going to leave straight from work. Southwest has flights every 30 minutes. You stay with dad; I’ll rent a car and come to the hospital from the airport.”
In a her boss’s car and on the way to the airport, she called Hank and told him what had happened. “I’m going to fly down.
“I wish I could go with you but I can’t get off right now. We have an important meeting, and I have to be there.”
“My dad’s more important than any meeting,”
she thought but didn’t say. “I don’t know when I’ll be back. I’ll call you later. Bye.” She hung up.
Her boss drove her to Love Field in suburban Dallas where most of the Southwest Airlines flights originate. She was dropped off at the Southwest Airlines entrance thirty minutes before the departure of the next flight. Space was available, so she bought a ticket and she was at Hobby Airport ninety minutes later. She was at Methodist Hospital on Fannin Street in the Houston Medical Center before one o’clock. She paused at the information desk for them to find out her dad was in the Eddy Scurlock Stroke Center. (
Author’s note: The Eddy Scurlock Stroke Center is the only recognized broad stroke center in Texas.)
She followed the directions she received at the information desk in the lobby.
Following the colored arrows on the wall, she made her way to the ICU family waiting room, where she found her mother sitting in a corner. Jordan had never seen her mother look so sad. She appeared to be overwhelmed by her situation. She hurried to her side and embraced her mother in a strong hug. “This is the best place he could be, Mom. What have you found out since I talked with you earlier?”
“He has a clot in his brain. They are not sure it’s accessible through surgery. They’ve given him tPA and are hoping it will break it up. He is also on blood thinners. The doctors said he received the tPA within the required time frame, so they are confident that it will work. Apparently it was on the left side of the brain because he has paralysis on the right side of the body and he has speech problems. I didn’t know it worked that way, but that is what the doctors told me. Right now, it’s wait and see if the tPA works. They said another seizure could take him from us.”
“Can we see him?”
“We can go in for ten minutes of every hour and only two people at a time.” She looked at the clock on the wall with the hands that seemed to creep along. We have another 35 minutes before we can
“Have you eaten anything, Mom?”
“Oh honey, I couldn’t eat anything.”
“You have to. I don’t need another patient on my hands, now come on, let’s get something to eat. I’ll tell them where we’ll be in case we’re needed. We can bring it back here to eat. I won’t take no for an answer, Mom.”
They were back and finished eating before their next opportunity to visit him. They had to be gloved and gowned in order to enter the ICU area. Jordan’s first impression of her father’s appearance was one of shock. He was awake when they went into the room. His face was pale; his skin had taken on an ashen coloration. His shock of gray hair went all directions. He had a breathing tube in as well as 2 IV lines snaked from under the covers and up to the IV poles on either side of the bed. She approached the bed and kissed his cool cheek, feeling the stubble of an unshaven face. Rubbing his forehead, she murmured, “Daddy, I’m here. Daddy, I love you so much.”
His attempt at smiling resulted in a twisted grimace. It was one of the saddest things she had seen in her short lifetime. A daddy’s girl to the core, it hurt. It hurt...a lot. This man that had always been her rock, her Saint George the Dragon Slayer suddenly did not look invincible. She took her mother’s hand and pulled her to the bedside. She turned away so her father could not see the tears welling in her eyes. She never did like for her Daddy to see her cry. She was the boy
he never had.
She quietly texted Hank to tell him she had arrived safely and was at the hospital. There was no immediate response.
“I guess he’s still in his important meeting,”
she thought to herself. They spent the rest of the afternoon waiting for the next ten minute visiting period. At nine o’clock, visiting hours were over for the day. Jordy tried several times to call Hank but was unable to reach him until 9:15. He asked how her father was, and she told him what the doctor had told them; it was still watch and wait.
“I guess you won’t be coming home this weekend, huh,” her fiancé said.
“I am home, Hank. This means I won’t be coming back to Arlington anytime soon, if ever. I’m going to ask for a leave of absence and stay here and help Mom and Dad...”
“What about all of our plans?”
“Right now, my dad is in ICU paralyzed on his left side. Our plans are the least of my worries.” She hung up the phone. Hard.
“What’s wrong, honey,” her mother asked?
“Oh, Hank is being a colossal jerk. He’s worried about our plans and when will I be coming home. As far as I’m concerned, this is home. I’m not going anywhere until Daddy gets better.”
* * *
Two weeks later, Jim Carlyle was moved to TIRR, a rehabilitation facility second to none when it comes to treating brain damaged patients. This is the same place where Gabby Giffords was treated after she was shot in Tucson, Arizona.
Jordy said, “Mom, I’m going to move back home. I always said I was going to work with Daddy and it may be too late to work with him, but I can work in his business, our business. I worked with him for years, with our staff; I can get up to speed quickly. Or do you think he would want to sell it?”
“We have a will honey. Everything is left to you. The business will be yours to do with whatever you want. He would not want to sell. We don't need the money anyway. We have an annuity, a good stock portfolio and a good financial adviser. We are probably much better off than you think. The house has been paid off for years and no claims on the business.”
“What about the insurance? An illness such as his can eat into savings in a hurry.”
“We have hospitalization and health insurance. Don’t worry your pretty head about us. What about your career?”
“Mom, I was just waiting to get into the business and then Hank came along and convinced me to move to Dallas.”
“What about Hank? You two have a wedding planned.”
“After his attitude toward my coming down here, he can go pound sand. He actually asked if I would be back home by the weekend. I think he really thinks only about himself. I’m going to fly back, talk to my company, get my things and come home.”