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A DOOR LEFT OPEN, 2020 Richard Craig Anderson All rights reserved No part of this publication may be reproduced or used in any form. or by any means graphic electronic or mechanical including photocopying recording taping or information and retrieval. systems without written permission of the publisher. Published by Hellgate Press,An imprint of L R Publishing LLC. Hellgate Press,PO Box 3531,Ashland OR 97520,email info hellgatepress com. Interior Cover Design L Redding, The Unbeliever s Prayer from Death Be Not Proud by John J Gunther Copyright c 1949 by John Gunther Copyright. renewed 1976 by Jane Perry Gunther Used by permission of HarperCollins Publishers. Excerpt from The Hollow Men from COLLECTED POEMS 1909 1962 by T S Eliot Copyright 1925 by Houghton Mifflin. Harcourt Publishing Company renewed 1953 by Thomas Stearns Eliot Reprinted by permission of Houghton Mifflin. Harcourt Publishing Company All rights reserved,ISBN 978 1 55571 979 1.
Printed and bound in the United States of America,First edition 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1. This is for the Matthews of this world,and for Pat and George Georgie to his family. What Others Are Saying About A Door Left Open, Rick Anderson is a true warrior and the finest operator I trusted him with my. life while serving in the Federal Air Marshal Service His extensive experience and. implementation of security for El Al resulted in Miami International Airport MIA. becoming an undesirable target after 911, Bruno Tom M A Former NCIS Special Agent and Retired Federal Air Marshal. Anderson courageously speaks the truth about the conflicts within one s self in the. career of a first responder especially law enforcement Those that have been there. will relate to his words and those that haven t will find them remarkable Either. way you ll want to read this adventure tale of a small warrior with a big heart. Jim Hondo Halvorsen Lieutenant New York State Police Retired. Richard Craig Anderson s new book A Door Left Open is a tremendous work He. clearly brings back the tumultuous period of the Anne Arundel County Fire De. partment s transition from volunteers to a career force including its sharp growing. pains You are right there with the author as he brings real life insight into auto. accidents bloody medical calls and most sadly remembered a tragic fire on. Riverview Road that killed two firefighters Incredible story a real page turner. Joseph B Ross Jr Retired Division Chief, Anne Arundel County Fire Dept and Author of Arundel Burning.
Richard Craig Anderson starts and ends this remarkable memoir with an image of a. doorway inviting us in not only to his life but to the magic of what a life well lived. can signify From America s East Coast to its West and out into the Pacific islands of. Micronesia Anderson s adventures give us insight into how love and loss illness and. grace can shape who we think we are what we notice and how we believe Lives can. be messy and Anderson s is no exception yet his sometimes missed opportunities. and ill timed choices are easily outmatched by the joy and friendship he finds in. people and four legged creatures along the way And when he leaves us at the end. with a moment of connection we realize that lives often come full circle and that. what we are seeking might be right in front of us if only we have the courage to. walk through the open doors, Teresa Cutler Broyles Professor University of New Mexico. at Albuquerque and Perugia Italy, Rocky nails it again I couldn t put this book down He and I worked together as. state troopers and Rocky was always on top of things A Door Left Open is enter. taining admirably frank and deeply moving, Sheriff Mike Lewis Wicomico County Sheriff s Office. A Door Left Open is a gripping adventure story that I could not put down until I. reached its emotionally rewarding end, Dr Scott Simon Fehr Psychologist Professor and Best selling Author. Prologue vii,Part One Alone,Dealing with Death 1,Smoke Eater 21.
The Quest in Question 29,Strike the Box 39,Putting Wet Stuff on Red Stuff 49. Tragedy 59,Siren Song 71,The Man in Tan 77,Working the Road 89. Trooper Prankster Flyer Spy 101,Working the Sky 125. Part Two Abandoned,The Day the Earth Stood Still 151. Sunny Sandy Eggo 171,Partly Bali Today 175,The Incoming Party 189.
The Wilderness Years 193,The Cavalry Has Arrived 201. Still Lost but Not Forgotten 233,Crawling through Caves in Croatia 239. Part Three Albedo,Gliding Over Greenland Glaciers 259. Imbibing Beer in Bruges 269,Atlas Shrugs 279,Transcendence 287. Epilogue 293,Acknowledgments 297, Some names and details have been changed to protect identities.
A DOOR LEFT OPEN,Books By Richard Craig Anderson,Light Prescious Light University Editions. Rivers of Belief Georgetown Press,The Levi Hart Thriller Series Hellgate Press. Cobra Clearance,Follow Apollo,A Door Left Open Hellgate Press. A DOOR LEFT open A boy walking by Sixteen Rebellious Cu. rious He glances over his shoulder Stops Scowls, In time he peers past the door for inside are the dreams and. some of the dreams are his The boy draws a deep breath steps. through the portal and emerges a man, I VE MADE A lot of mistakes in life and done some things I m not.
proud of But I also learned a lesson or two These days some might. call me an old man although I still see a teen in the mirror Perhaps. this is why friends now say Rick you should write down what hap. pened so others can see what you ve discovered What they mean is. that I should show how I converted pain and setbacks into happiness. For although it s true that I did find happiness and that I can. laugh fluently in seventeen languages I must also add a caveat. and it is this while contentment can indeed be pursued and even. acquired it can never be purchased for the simple reason that. money and power are fleeting Another thing we don t have to be. alone not when we venture out to see what s there because that s. when we discover so many fascinating people Anyway even if. much of what happened didn t make sense at the time here s what. that boy saw through a door left open,A DOOR LEFT OPEN. CHAPTER ONE,Dealing with Death, August 1971 A Quiet Sunday in Glen Burnie Maryland. W ITH ONE HAND on the door and the other on the mic I. keyed the transmit button and said beneath the siren s howl. Ambulance thirty three s on location As we drew closer to the ac. cident site I assessed the dark blue Buick sedan It s crumpled and. jammed against a tractor trailer s rear bumper and white steam. from its ruptured radiator hisses into a crisp blue sky. Bob finally stomped on the brakes I jabbed the seat belt release. and hopped out A wall of summer infused humidity hit me Then. my nostrils protested the stench of spilled anti freeze and burned. rubber I grabbed the trauma kit and took off running my shoes. slapping against the pavement and creating an eerie contrast to. the radiator s dying moan as I hustled toward the car. Fire department I barked at a crowd gathered around the car. Move aside, I m only sixteen but my volunteer firefighter uniform has clout. and the crowd parted without protest But by doing so they reveal a. young woman behind the steering wheel The impact apparently. A DOOR LEFT OPEN, drove the hood through the windshield and its leading edge all but. cleaved her head from her body leaving her eyes bulging as if she d. entered a room where her family and friends jumped from hiding. places to yell Surprise Then there was the bright red blood that. had spilled from her severed arteries, I touched my index finger to her carotid artery turned to Bob.
and was shaking my head when I heard a sob Only she wasn t the. one who sobbed It came from behind her, Sprinting to the other side of the car I found a young boy trapped. in the rear seat He couldn t have been more than five and the. Buick had folded itself firmly around him Even worse a chunk of. drive shaft had torn through the floorboard and jammed itself. against his gut The force of the collision had also twisted him. around so that he faced the rear It had to be painful but at least. this twist of fate spared him from seeing his blood drenched mother. There were no portable radios back then The only radios were. the ones mounted inside each emergency vehicle I caught Bob s. eye and said Call for a rescue unit and a helicopter He acknowl. edged me just as an unseen siren s yelp announced the arrival of a. county police cruiser I recognized the sound because the county. cops used electronic sirens and the state troopers had mechanical. contraptions As the cop s footsteps grew louder I shouted We. have one up front and this one here I purposely avoided adding. that the driver was dead since the boy would ve heard. Then I got busy with the kid He wasn t bleeding and there were. no marks on him but he was done for his situation no different. from that of a railroad worker pinned between two train couplings. Everything s okay so long as the body remains pinched together. the victim talks and might even say he feels fine However pull. those couplings apart and the victim does a nosedive over that. bottomless cliff,What s taking the rescue unit so long. As the boy s sobs turned to a wail I tried to squeeze into the pas. senger compartment to be next to him After all I was definitely on. RICHARD CRAIG ANDERSON, the skinny side But when all I could do was brush his outstretched. fingers I pushed farther and grimaced when a glass shard sliced. into my knee It paid off though our fingers finally interlocked. just as a stream of tears flowed down his cheeks, For several seconds that s all there was until all at once he. shouted Mommy mommy mommy Where s my mommy, I knew abandonment and sweat streamed down my face as I.
looked into his eyes and quietly said Your mommy hasn t left you. She s in the front seat But she can t talk to you right now So you. know what I m gonna stay here with you, He stopped his terrified wailing and after hitching and snuffling. he grew quiet and stared at me with a sense of awareness beyond. his years Then as his eyes held mine in an unwavering gaze he. asked in a tiny voice Am I going to die, I didn t want to tell him what I suspected but was damned if I. would lie That would be even more obscene than the carnage that. had torn his world apart So I looked directly at him and said simply. I m right here you re not alone and I m not gonna leave you. All this time the sun had been jack hammering the car and turning. it into an oven My clothes clung to me and breathing became a. struggle although of course my discomfort was nothing when com. pared to the boy s injuries What s your name I asked. He responded automatically in a singsong voice with information. that his mom must have drilled into him My name is Matthew. Billings and I live at 102 Montrose Avenue, I tightened my hold on his fingers Hi Matthew My name s Rick. and I m gonna take care of you Is that okay, He nodded but his eyelids fluttered Then while sirens and air. horns filled the air around us I said Hold on Matthew For God s. sake hold on Then quietly and for his ears alone I sang a few. stanzas of Simon and Garfunkel s Bridge Over Troubled Water. Matthew watched me in silence the entire time his face composed. yet solemn Then as if someone had thrown a switch he said in a. weak voice I m afraid,A DOOR LEFT OPEN, I squeezed his hand and whispered Of course you are Even big.
boys would be scared You know what though You re brave even. braver than many grown men are Did you know that, Really He seemed to be trying that one on for size Then he. opened his mouth to speak but his voice trailed into nothingness. Matthew I began Stay with me Stay I was trying to say more. when the diesel roar and the chuff of air brakes of an arriving rescue. unit nixed that idea and that was just for starters Now the rhythmic. whump whump whump of a state police medevac helicopter drowned. all other sounds as it circled overhead prior to landing. Maybe it was the noise because Matthew abruptly cried out. Mommy Where s my mommy Where s my Then his eyes rolled. wildly as he blurted I ll be a good boy Yes I will Mommy will. come back if I m good She will His voice began to fade Yes she. I m sure of it I whispered back, Although it seemed an eternity no more than three minutes. passed until his eyes closed His head fell to one side a few seconds. later and then his body went limp But I couldn t let go I couldn t. He deserved dignity in death and there was more I didn t want. his soul to be alone So I held his hand even as firefighters worked. around me to free him I held it and felt the warmth desert him. first from his fingers then from his palm and finally from his arm. I held his hand unable to let go until the firefighters got him out. and the medical examiner took him away,Matthew s mommy never came back. Mine never did either At least not in spirit Not after she and my. old man split up and she all but tossed me aside leaving me feeling. alone abandoned and angry, EARLIER THAT DAY I d walked out of my house and climbed into. the emerald green 67 Cougar XR 7 that I bought by working small. jobs But when friends and I weren t cruising for girls I d spin the. wheel and set a new course for the Glen Burnie fire station. walk through the open doors Teresa Cutler Broyles Professor University of New Mexico at Albuquerque and Perugia Italy Rocky nails it again I couldn t put this book down He and I worked together as state troopers and Rocky was always on top of things A Door Left Open is enter taining admirably frank and deeply moving

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