Jo Ann J. Lovelace
It was beginning to get dark and the blizzard like wind seeped through every crack in the car. Tiny ice shaped like miniature marbles danced across the windshield. I shivered as I wrapped my old worn coat tighter around me. A chill rushed over my body even though the heater was keeping it quite warm in the car. I glanced over my shoulder at the kids in the back seat. They were all sound asleep covered with an old quilt that still displayed vivid patches of colors.
It was December 1958 when Roy my husband and I began thinking about making the trip to Maryland. Finally in desperation of finding a job we packed sparingly for the kids and ourselves. We barely had enough money to get there and back when we set out on the long trip in our old dilapidated Pontiac.
The car coughed and sputtered but we arrived in Maryland safe and sound. Driving down the unfamiliar streets we managed to get lost several times. We stopped to ask for any kind of work making it clear we weren't particular and were use to doing hard work. Only to find it wasn't any different than back home. There weren't any jobs available there either.
"The kids are tired and hungry," I said. "Do we have enough money to spend the night in a hotel?"
"We can manage to stay one night," Roy answered. "If the prices stated on the sign are correct."
We checked into the hotel and were sent to the very top floor. Roy went out for food while I gave the kids a bath. Being exhausted we retired for the night after we ate.
Sleeping very lightly in unfamiliar surroundings I was rudely awaken around three in the morning by a howling wind. It sped over us sounding like a freight train rushing through the building. Terrified I jumped up; sure we weren't going to survive the storm. About thirty minutes later the wind diminished but it seemed more like hours to me.
I went back to bed but was unable to sleep a wink for the rest of the night. Roy and the kids finally drifted back to sleep.
Around six the next morning we were up and packed our few belongings. We went to the car prepared for our long journey home.
Roy drove with ease around the crooked roads but I sat petrified when we topped the long strung out hill and saw a semi-truck had slid across the highway. The truck had the entire road blocked. I closed my eyes and prayed sure we were about to meet our destiny. I felt the car jerk to one side and opened my eyes to find we were off the road and sitting at the edge of a cliff.
Once the semi had been moved we continued our trip home. Snow and ice pelted rapidly against the windshield making it difficult to see. The car slipped several times but Roy managed to keep it on the road.
"We're about out of gas," Roy said bewildered as he pulled into a service station somewhere in Virginia. "I didn't tell you but I spent all the money I had the last time I filled the car. I was hoping it would get us home."
"What are we going to do?" I asked desperately. "We can't stay here in the blizzard like conditions with the kids."
"I'll asked the owner if I can make a collect call," Roy said as he got out of the car. "Maybe I can get someone to drive up here with some money."
I got out of the car and walked over to the door. Roy shook his head in disbelief. "No one that can is willing to start out in this weather," he said. "I wouldn't care if you and the kids weren't with me."
A tall clean-cut gentleman came in to pay for his gas. "I couldn't help but over hear," he said. He told us his name and said he was a deacon of a Baptist church there in town. "Will a tank full of gas get you home?"
"I'm pretty sure it will," Roy answered. "I'll send you the money back soon as I can get some work to do."
"There's no need to do that," the young soft-spoken, gentleman answered. "Here's another ten dollars to insure you and your family get home all right."
He never would tell us where we could send the money even though Roy asked him several times.
"That's what the Lord would want me to do," he smiled. "Help someone in need and not ask for anything in return."
We drove over the ice-covered roads the last few hundred miles. The old beat up car humming and not missing a beat. To arrive in front of our house and have it stop dead in its tracks not to start again until we were able to rebuild the engine and buy a new battery.
We often think about how fortunate we were meeting that kind gentleman somewhere in the mountains of Virginia. We thank the Lord daily for getting us home safe. Roy often says when we think back on that trip, "The Lord looks after children and fools because there wasn't anyone else in the car that night on our journey home."
Copyright © 1998 Jo Ann Lovelace. All Rights Reserved.