By Lorry Myers
My family dropped everything, traveling as fast as they could to get to the hospital. Earlier, my father had arrived in a medical helicopter, the doctors giving him only a ten percent chance of survival.
The odds were not in his favor.
It was before Covid changed the hospital world, back when you were allowed to crowd into a waiting room to share the good news or the bad. My mother, my brothers and sisters, and our children, all gathered in the large waiting room, stronger together than we would be apart.
My sister’s daughter came with her new fiancée, Tony. With his wide smile and tolerance for hugs and interrogation, Tony easily found his place in our big, loud family. Tony has a rich Italian heritage and we tease him about bad pasta, cheap wine, and his loyalty to anything Italian. That day, while the rest of us paced or huddled together, Tony took over the TV.
He had World Cup fever.
We are not a soccer family; football is our preferred pastime. But soccer was Tony’s sport and his enthusiasm for Team Italy was obvious. Italy’s soccer team was not supposed to win, not even one game. They weren’t considered at all, but here they were, playing for it all.
Tony lowered the volume when the doctor came out and faced the large group gathered in that crowded room. Assured that everyone there was family, he quietly informed us that my father was going back into surgery, the third time in 24 hours. The doctor prepared us; in all probabilities, Dad might not make it through this next operation.
His chances of survival were bleak.
After the doctor left, we formed a tight circle holding each other’s hands while we prayed, our hearts heavy with what lay before us. Immediately after the amen, muted cheers erupted as Italy scored a goal and we all turned toward the TV. Needing a distraction, Mom told Tony to turn it up so we pulled up chairs, or sat on the floor, or leaned on one another to watch the Super Bowl of soccer instead of thinking about what was happening down the hall. Tony rambled nervously about Team Italy and how they were the underdog, an unremarkable team of players that never gave up.
For the complete column, see this week’s edition of the Centralia Fireside Guard.