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Father and Son
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      Page Fourteen

Upon reaching his destination, Kel approached
his office with grim determination.  With greater
force than was necessary, he flung the door open.
Brent sat in one of the leather-upholstered chairs
in front of the imposing desk.  Pasting a smile on
his face, Kel addressed his father.

“Hey, Dad.  Are you ready to head to the Doctor's

Brent shrugged his shoulders.  “In a minute.  I
thought we could talk first.”

The younger Brackett nervously laughed.  “You
sound like a typical shrink.  You guys always
want to talk.”

“Spoken like a true surgeon.  Always wanting to
plunge right into things.”


“It’s okay,” Brent said.  “Obviously we each
have our own talents.”

An uncomfortable silence ensued.  Feeling like
a world-class jerk for his behavior earlier, Kel
cleared his throat.  “Dad, I’m sorry for that
little stunt in the OR.  It was immature and
uncalled for.  You just caught me off guard,
that’s all.”

“I know.  But when you invited me to watch you
work, you didn’t plan on me ambushing you either.”

“I did assume it would be under more controlled
circumstances,” Kel admitted.

Leaning back in his chair, Brent said, “I had an
opportunity to speak with a couple of your biggest
fans this evening.”


“The paramedics that work with the firefighter
you operated on.  I believe their names were Roy
and Johnny?”

Kel smiled broadly.  “They were one of the first
teams I trained.  I wasn’t a huge supporter of
the program initially.  Oh, to be honest, I was
vehemently against it.  I thought it was dangerous
and essentially amounted to practicing medicine
without a license.  But eventually I came around
and became one of the program’s staunchest defenders.
We cleared some substantial legislative hurdles and
funding crises, and now I can’t imagine how we managed
pre-hospital care without our paramedics.”

“They were quite effusive in their praise,”
Brent commented.  “You certainly have earned
their respect.  You’re more than a mentor to these

Suddenly embarrassed, Kel joked, “Well, perhaps
they may not feel so charitable when it’s time
for their annual performance evaluations.”

“Seriously, Kel.  That says a great deal about
your character.  I would be immensely flattered
if someone thought that highly of me.”

“But Dad, you’re well respected in your field…”

“It’s not the same,” Brent lamented.  “So what
if I’ve published extensively?  Other than
impressing a handful of snobbish colleagues
and adding a few lines to my Curriculum Vitae,
I haven’t accomplished anything of lasting

Kel rubbed his temple.  First there was the
strange confession in the restaurant, and now
there was a melancholy tone to his father’s last
remark.  This was proving to be an interesting

Staring at the carefully arranged bookcase, Brent
continued.  “Based on the hospital grapevine, I
expected you to be arrogant and overbearing, and
thought your employees would cower in your presence.
Instead, I discovered you’re merely passionate
about your life’s calling.  In retrospect, I can
see your career choice wasn’t an act of parental
defiance.  This is what you were meant to do.”

“I can’t imagine doing anything else, Dad.  I
feel complete here.”

“Yes, I can see that now.”

Resting his elbows on his desk, Kel asked, “Dad?
Don’t you think we need to forgive ourselves

Brent raised a questioning eyebrow.  “What?”

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“Don’t get me wrong.  Forgiving each other is
a significant step in the right direction in
putting our relationship back on track, but it
isn’t going to help if we’re consumed with guilt
over past offenses.”

The elder Brackett buried his face in his hands.
“That’s easier said than done.  You don’t have
a constant reminder of your mistakes.”

“I don’t understand,” Kel said.

“Your mother isn’t the same person anymore.
She blames me for tearing her family apart.
Scarcely a day goes by that I’m not reminded
of my failures as a father.  You have no idea
what it’s like to go home every day, knowing
your presence is barely tolerated.”

“So when you moved to Los Angeles…”

“I was not only trying to reestablish communi-
cation with you, I was trying to save my marriage,”
Brent finished.

“Wow,” Kel exclaimed.  “I had no idea.  Mom
always sounds okay when I talk to her.”

“Of course, she would,” Brent snorted.
“You’re her precious baby, even if you are
forty-two years old.  She still wants to protect
you from all of the unpleasant things in life.”

“Oh, man.  I really messed up, didn’t I?  I
must have broken her heart when I left home.”

“She was pretty upset with both of us,” Brent
pointedly added.  “You’re not entirely at fault.”

Kel was furious with himself.  He was so anxious
to escape his domineering father, he never
considered the effect his departure would have
on this mother.  During telephone conversations,
she always sounded so cheerful.  Now it was
apparent because of the power struggle between
the two men, his mom had been cruelly deprived
of the most cherished relationships in her life.

“Do you think she’ll ever be able to forgive
me?” Kel asked earnestly.

“Hah!  You’re completely blameless as far as
she’s concerned.  I’m the heartless…well, you
get the idea.”

“That’s not fair.  It was ultimately my decision.
I could have handled the situation better,” Kel

“Hindsight is always crystal clear, son,” Brent
replied.  “At the time, you were so blinded by
your contempt for me, I doubt you could have
arrived at any other solution.  Besides, as much
as I hate to admit, I was relieved to see you go.
After years of yelling and screaming, I looked
forward to having some quiet time with your mother.”

The younger man attempted a feeble grin.  “I assume
that was a case of be careful of what you wish for?”

“Absolutely.  Your mother didn’t speak to me for
weeks.  The situation deteriorated to the point
where we separated for a couple of months.”

“You’re kidding!”  As Kel looked across his desk,
he realized the man sitting opposite him was a
stranger.  It was difficult to comprehend this
was someone he once shared his dreams and aspirations
with.  Was it his imagination, or did his father age
a little bit more each time he shared another
humbling personal secret?

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“So how are you two doing now?” Kel inquired.

Running his fingers across his chin, Brent responded,
“We’re managing.  We’ve settled into a comfortable
routine here, and she’s made new friends.  But
hardly a day goes by that she doesn’t ask about
you.  She wants to know if I’ve seen you, do you
look well, how is your career doing…that sort
of thing.  Mainly she wants to know why I haven’t
marched into your office and thrown myself at
your mercy.”

Mentally evaluating the available floor space,
Kel said, “I don’t know, Dad.  Perhaps there’s a
spot over here where prostration might be an option.”

A chuckle was heard from across the room.  “I’ve
groveled enough for one evening.  We’re overdue
for a cup of coffee.”  As Brent rose from his
chair, Kel motioned for him to sit down.

“Wait a minute, Dad.  I want to make a phone

“Can’t it wait until tomorrow?  It’s late.”

“That’s the problem.  I’m hoping it’s not too
late,” Kel explained.

Puzzled, Brent sat back down.  “Who are you

“I want to call Mom.”

“At this hour?”

Jolted to reality, Kel pushed the phone back
to the corner of his desk.  “You’re right.
I don’t know what got into me.  Besides, I don’t
even have the number on me.”

Moved by the haunted expression in his son’s
eyes, Brent sighed.  “Do you have a pen?”

“No…she’s probably already in bed.  I’ll call
her later.”

His father seized control of the phone and dialed
the familiar number.  Thrusting the receiver into
Kel’s hands, Brent quietly left the room.

With each ring, Kel’s heart rate accelerated.
His mouth felt incredibly dry.  Oh, this was
ridiculous, he thought.  He was a grown man
calling his own mother.  It wasn’t like he was
a gawky teenager asking the prom queen out for
a date!

The ringing stopped and was replaced by a gentle
voice.  Summoning his courage, Kel tentatively
said, “Mom?  It’s Kel…”


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From :rosanne iho <>  
Subject : [EmergencyTheaterLive] It looked like a man..  
Date : Sat, 14 Dec 2002 13:39:53 -0800 (PST)  

It was Chet Kelly's first day back to work.

In the rec' room of Los Angeles County
Fire Station 51, six firemen sat huddled in
front of a TV set, watching the Dodgers and
the Padres battling it out in the first game of
a double-header. They cheered, as Dodger's
pitcher, Don Sutton, struck out the Padres--
one, two, three. The Dodgers came to bat.
First baseman, Steve Garvey, hit a single.
Outfielder, Dave Lopes, also singled. Sutton
walked. With the bases loaded--and no outs
--Dodger slugger, Dusty Baker, stepped up
to the plate.

"There's the wind up...and the pi--!" the
announcer began, only to be drowned out
by the Station's alarm.

There was a group groan.

"Squad 51..." the dispatcher declared, and
the Station's Engine Crew untensed.

Paramedics John Gage and Roy DeSoto
groaned again and started heading for the

"Child down...Wonder Wheels Park...Three
and one half miles east on Dart Lane...Then,
two and a quarter miles south on Ridgeway
Road...Take the first left on Coolidge...It's
the fourth driveway on the right...Caller
advises you go in the second gate..."

"Got it, L.A...." John acknowledged, when
he finished his jotting.

"10-4, Squad 51..." a rather relieved relayer
came back, "Ambulance responding...Time

"Squad 51, KMG-365," the fireman further
acknowledged. He replaced the radio, snatched
up their copy of the call slip and raced around
the rescue squad. "We'll start with east on Dart
Lane," he proposed, piling into the passenger's
seat and pulling on his helmet.

His partner nodded his approval of the plan.


Eight minutes of masterful map-reading later,
DeSoto drove through the second gate at
Wonder Wheels Park and cut the sirens.

"Squad 51...cancel," their radio announced.

Squad 51's occupants stared down at the
dashboard in disbelief.

"We may as well check it out," Roy determined,
"After all the trouble we went through to get here."

Gage nodded in agreement and grabbed the mic'.
"L.A., Squad 51. We are at the scene and intend
to follow through with the call."

"Roger that, 51..."

DeSoto parked the Squad at the edge of an
enormous concrete lot. He and his partner
exited the cab and started strolling off in the
direction of a movie crew, filming skate boarding
stunts. They watched--in wide-eyed wonder--as
a young skate boarder went flying off the end of
a three foot ramp, spun twice around and landed
gracefully back onto the lot--still on her skate
board! Seeing as how they were being completely
ignored, Roy cleared his throat and queried, "Did
somebody call the Fire Department?"

"I'm okay...Honest!" the girl insisted, as she
came rolling up. "It's just a little 'road rash'..."
she added, and pointed to her scraped and
bleeding knees.

"You sure you're not seriously hurt?" Gage
grilled her.

The little lady rolled her eyes and motioned
towards the concrete lot. "Did that look like
I was seriously hurt?"

"Looks can be deceiving," Roy reminded the girl.
"Why don't we check you out real quick...just
to be sure."

The film's director stepped between the
paramedics and his star. "If the kid says she's
okay--she's okay! Pam's a Pro!"

The thirteen-year-old nodded, defiantly.

"You didn't hit your head, did you?" Roy's
still-worried partner wondered.

Pam gave Gage another roll of her eyes and
shook her pretty little head 'no'.

John sighed. "Well...since you won't let us
examine you...I...uh...guess we'll be getting
back to the Station. And, you can get back to..."
he glanced down at the skate board, "...that."

The girl gave herself a push and went rolling
off across the lot.

"Shouldn't she be wearing a helmet?" DeSoto,
the Dad, wondered aloud.

Pamela's Producer completely ignored the
pesky paramedic. "All right, Kiddo...How about
a backward somersault with a reverse handstand?"

The young 'Pro' picked up speed.

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The two firemen exchanged alarmed looks
and then watched, in amazement, as Pam
flipped herself back over into a somersault.

The little lady landed in a crouched position,
threw her feet up into the air and went gliding
by--standing on her hands! As she turned her
board around and went sailing by for a second
time, she flashed the camera a beautiful,
upside-down smile.

The paramedics released their held breaths
and began heading for their rescue squad.

"If this is a sample of what people are gonna
be doing at Wonder Wheels Park," Gage grumbled,
"Something tells me we're gonna be coming
here...quite often."

"After a week or two," DeSoto glumly
concurred, "we'll know the way by heart."

They climbed back into their truck's cab.

John thumbed the radio mic'. "L.A., Squad 51
available...Returning to quarters."

"Roger, 51..."


DeSoto backed the Squad into Station 51's
parking bay. The paramedic team piled out
and sprinted into the rec' room.

"What happened after we left?" Gage asked
the guys who were still huddled in front of
the television, watching the game.

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Father and Son
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