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Hollis County, Tennessee

15 Years Ago

Ted Richards drove quickly, but not dangerously, his car powered by anticipation and fueled by hope. Another hour and he would be with his wife and child. The last two years, ever since the plant he worked at had unexpectedly closed down, had been rough on the entire family. He and his wife had kept it going through odd jobs and help from family, but now that was going to change. A friend had pointed him in the direction of a job opening fifty miles from home and he had taken a desperate flyer, driven the hour-long trip on narrow roads, and had put in an application. Not only had he been given an interview, he had actually received an offer for almost the same salary he was making at his previous job. Although some little ways from home, the plant was still close enough for him to commute. He smiled, thinking about his wife when he told her the news. He picked up the small stuffed rabbit five-year old Carrie had given him on the way out the door that morning.

“For luck, Daddy,” she said.

He was so lost in the memory of her smile, that he didn’t see the light of the vehicle approaching fast behind him or hear the roar of the truck as it attempted to pass him on the narrow road. He did feel the crash against his car as the truck bed swerved into him, forcing his vehicle off of the road. He also felt the impact of tree hitting his front grill and the softness of the stuffed toy he was still holding when he died.



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