For nearly thirty days Tommy lived in the little camp trailer that Valerie and Justin had loaned him. It sat on their ranch, the Double Cross-U with no running water or electricity.
Daily he mustered all his energy to get up in the chill of the autumn air and walk the two dozen or so yards to the ranch house for a shower and shave. It became his routine in order to get to work on time.
It was a struggle because depression had a strangle hold on his life. Mary refused to speak to him except in little spurts to say return his check book or credit card, and nightly he laid down and cried himself to sleep feeling the loneliness creeping up around him. This was mixed with intermitten drinking jags that lasted past midnight.
Tommy was certain that God was punishing him for every last sin he had committed.
One morning as he was heading in on the hour long drive to Reno he noticed that the thermometer was red lined on his car. He was in the process of passing an eighteen wheeler when the radiator exploded sending heated fluid up through the cracks of the hood and onto the windshield.
The little vehicle shuttered violently as Tommy struggled for control. Behind him was a white Ford pick up to the right the semi and on his left a concrete retaining wall. Some how he managed to guide the car in behind the large semi truck and find the only turn off available. The car ground to a halt.
The radiator cap and the valve it was attached to had sheered off and both were imbedded in the plastic liner in front of the driver’s seat. Had they fully penetrated the wall it would have been a death sentence.
Out of frustration Tommy sat down by the side of his car and started to cry. After gaining control of his emotions somewhat he decided to use his cell phone to call work. His frustration mounted again when he discovered that there was no signal to use for a cellular call.
Again Tommy found himself out of control, angry and crying. He sat quietly for a long time contemplating just hiding into the high dessert before him and never looking back. Then the thought of his son took a hold of his senses.
Instead of walking off into the dessert he started down the interstate towards Sparks.
His poor luck continued because when he reached the Mustang junction he was told that the telephone service had been interrupted since early that morning. And still his cell phone refused to pick up a signal. After a seven mile walk he was finally able to call work and get a tow truck to pick up his disabled car for repair.
That day his boss put him on verbal notice to either straighten up or he would be let go. God’s punishment continued.
The following weekend was the cross state rivalry of the University of Nevada Reno and the University of Nevada Las Vegas. Each year these two school battle it out for the ownership of the Fremont Cannon. This year the match would be fought in Reno.
To Tommy it was an amazing sight to see all five properties lived up on the sidewalk in front of the Lawlor Event Center. There was also the matter of prides that all look well and go well since he helped to coordinate the event. There were sandwiches, ribs, soda and other giveaways included in this multi station event.
“Hey Tommy!” yelled Valerie. She waived him over to her stations booth. “This is my friend Kathie and she needs a roommate. I think you’d be great together,” she said.
She introduced the pair and they shook hands. Before Tommy stood a well built blond in a sleeveless top and jeans. She peered at Tommy over the top of her sun glasses revealing beautiful blue eyes. Her hand shake was strong.
Kathi spoke first, “I need a roommate and an early morning baby sitter and I have a room for three hundred dollars.” Before Tommy could respond she handed him a slip of paper with both her name and phone number on it. In return Tommy pulled out a business card and wrote his cell phone number on the back and handed it back to her. Then he said “I’ll give you a call.”
“If I don’t call you first, “she replied. They shook hands again and she turned and disappeared into the crowd. Tommy stood there feeling smitten.
Weekends at a radio station are filled with one event after another especially during a ratings period. And this weekend was no exception.
It was Sunday morning and cold. Tommy was working the booth at the Susan G. Komer Foundations Race for the Cure. He had established his stations as a co-sponsor months prior.
The United States had been at war with terrorism for less than a month and this Sunday morning was the beginning of the bombing in Afghanistan. Shortly after the announcement and prayers were made for the troops involved. Tommy cell phone rang. It was Kathi.
She asked, “Why don’t you come and take a look at the room?’ Tommy found himself saying yes to her request.
Shortly after the race and shortly after noon, Tommy was knocking on Kathi’s front door. She greeted him with a smile and another hand shake. “Come in,” she beckoned. Then she motioned him to the kitchen table where they both had a seat. Before he knew it an hour had passed and he had yet to look at the room she offered for rent.
Kathi, Tommy discovered was easy going and even easier to talk to. She was willing to listen to his heart ache story. She shared hers as well. They had found common ground and soon Tommy found himself agreeing to move in immediately. One last time he made the sixty mile trek to Fallon and then back again. This night he would sleep in a house with running water and heat, and on a real bed.