"Sam!" shouted Gracie, "it's so good to see you! I almost didn't recognize you. Where is Sandra?"
Gracie was talking and hugging the bedraggled man who looked like he not only went a couple rounds with Muhammad Ali; but, did it in a lake.
"Hello Gracie" replied Sam. "I don't know where Sandra is. I've been hoping she made it home. She's not here?"
"No, she's not. Sammie has been staying with me. What happened?"
"These men have helped me get home. Ron, Jim; this is Gracie Madison. Gracie; Ron and Jim" said Sam as he introduced the men.
"And if I'm not mistaken, that one scowling inside the truck is Billy Ray Baxter."
How ya do's passed around and then it was decided that they would all go to Momma Sue's so Sam, Ron and Jim could get their scrapes and other injuries looked at especially the nasty gash on the back of Sam's head.
Once at Momma's Sue, the men washed and had all their injuries were cleaned and bandaged. With several stitches in the back of Sam's head.
Then Momma Sue put huge servings of meat, potatoes with gravy made from drippings and green beans in front of them. There were a couple of crusty loaves of bread freshly made that morning that they managed to smother in rich creamy butter. In between bites the men filled them in.
"Memphis is a mess! Most of it is on fire and I'd say about two thirds of the people are dead. You know how they were having so much trouble with the Mayor?"
Yes's murmured all around.
"Well, he decided he would take to the streets. Rally the People. Didn't take long for those who really had an axe to grind to find him and tear him from limb from limb.
"Just about the only place NOT on fire is St. Jude's. Seems most people still have a soft spot for those kids. I can’t believe how fast it all went to hell!
“When the Pulse Bomb went off, we were just about to go over the I-40 bridge out of Memphis. Sandra and I walked to St. Judes to see if there was anything we could do to help. With all the power out, we figured we may as well do something until things got going.
"We didn't realize what had happened until about three or four hours later. Word started spreading that things were out for good and by evening all hell had broke loose. At the hospital we heard all kinds of theories about what happened. But, the most likely one is that Korea was experimenting with a new kind of bomb. Supposedly, they were testing it and the test went wrong. Very wrong. They should have checked for Solar Flares that day. It seems that solar flares and this new bomb don't mix well." reported Sam.
"It's world wide. Nothing electronic works, most vehicles don't work. Madness now rules." softly said Jim.
"We fished Sam here out of the river, just this morning. Then before he woke up, we got an opportunity to catch a ride with a family who had an old truck who were headed into Arkansas and they were going by our hometown, Payneway. We didn't even realize he lived this way. We just knew we couldn't leave him. Then we walked the rest of the way." added Ron.
"How did you and Sandra get separated, Sam?" asked Momma Sue.
"Last thing I remember is we were helping a couple by the Pyramid. It looked like they were being beat up pretty bad by a group of young men or should I say thugs! We managed to chase them off. Sandra started to take the woman over to St Judes and the man and I were following them. I heard Sandra scream and as I started to run, that bastard hit me over the head! Next thing I knew was bumping along in the truck with Ron and Jim, who trying to keep me from bouncing out. I don't know what happened to Sandra and it's killing me. I really need to try to find her."
"Are you going back to Memphis?" asked Gracie.
"Yes, I have to. But, I want to go back prepared. Do you think anyone would want to go with me?" replied Sam.
Momma Sue thought for a moment, "Bobby Joe will take ya, Sam and yer gonna be ready for bear!"
"You can't go today, give yourself at least a day to rest up and get ready. Besides, you have a little girl who is going to want to see you. You'll have to explain to her about her mommy." said Gracie.
She continued, "which brings me to the hoe down. Momma Sue; you and the boys are most welcome to come over my place tonight. We are having a much needed break. An old fashion hoe down. We want as many people who can come....the more people-the more music and food!"
"Wouldn't miss it for the world, sweetie. Now ifin there's gonna be some dancin', we best get our work done." answered Momma Sue.