by Brian Fahey
New York, USA
Easter Saturday 1980, while taking care of one of my bee hives I was stung on the temple. After finishing my task, I took a pill for the sting and forgot it. Bee stings are common to keepers and this one was mild.
Sunday at 2 a.m. I woke up having a breathing problem. Turning on the bed lamp, I was dismayed that the bulb had blown out. I trundled over to the hall light outside my bedroom door, but it too was out. Thinking the power had gone out, I got out the old standby candle and match. Lighting the match I instantly knew I was in deep trouble. I couldn’t see the flame.
I took stock of my situation and realized I must go to the hospital *immediately*. The bee sting had caused my face to swell and my eyes were tightly closed. My breathing was a little troubled. I figured I’d call a friend to take me, never considering an ambulance — they were for people with serious injuries. I couldn’t think of a friend who’d be in town for the Easter holiday, *and* whose phone number I had memorized.
Then I remembered Rae. Rae was more of a customer than a friend, however through shared interests we had become acquaintances. I knew she’d be home at 2 a.m. and that she lived about 2 miles from me, and I knew her number.
Rae answered “HELLO?” and I began “Rae, this is Brian.” A long pause. “THIS BETTER BE GOOD!” she said sternly. “Rae, I was stung by a bee; I’m having trouble breathing and can’t see, can you take me to the hospital?”
Rae must have driven like a woman possessed because she was at my door before I managed to find it. Thankfully she was fast because the bee venom was making breathing difficult.
Seeing my melon-bloated face, she whisked me into her auto and zoomed off to the hospital. Although it was only three miles, I began to gasp for breath.
When we arrived Rae pulled me out of the car and half-carried me into the Emergency Room. She barked orders like she was in charge, and the staff hopped to. I was quickly given a shot and (much needed) oxygen.
After I was released from the hospital Rae took me to her home and she and Carol Ann took care of me until they were satisfied I was out of danger. About noon Rae drove me home, and thus began a true friendship.
20 years later, I looked out from the church organist’s loft at over 400 people gathered for Rae’s funeral. Listening to their testimonies, I realized for the first time how many lives she had touched. Rae had been generous with help, yet demanded everyone excel.
I could hear Rae in my head as I began to play: “This better be good”. It was good. Thanks, Rae, for a life-saving ride, and inspiration which I hear yet today.