Decembers are cold, but December of 1983 was one for the books. Record lows were expected, and travel wasn’t recommended. Only fools would venture out on days like that… Meet the fools.
It was the year before I got married. We were on our way back from a holiday visit to my parents. We had traveled with my brother in his car, a car that they had recently purchased. The four of us lived about three hours away and driving was never an issue, but we knew that the temperature was going to drop and we wanted to get home before nightfall. We weren’t overly concerned about it since we were accustomed to the cold as we have lived in it our whole lives. Besides, we had had an uneventful trip the day before and had driven these roads before so we weren’t expecting any problems now…Strange things happen when fate rides along with you.
About an hour and a half out, the cold temperatures caused the car to freeze up. It came to a stop on a desolate country road. The four of us were stranded and disagreed as to what to do. The one thing that we agreed on was that we had to find a way out of the elements quickly before we became statistics. The only problem was, we were the only living things out here.
A lone farm house was in the distance. Maybe they would have a phone that we could use and call for help. With blankets wrapped around our shivering bodies, we began to walk in that direction.
What happens if nobody is home? And if they are, how do we know if they would be willing to help? Those were some of the questions that we all had, but none of us were willing to explore that possibility.
Then, out of nowhere, we saw a pair of headlights heading towards us. It was a car, in fact, it was the only car that we had seen on this road all night.
The driver asked us what the problem was. We told him that the car froze up and that we were going to walk to that house to see if we could use the phone to call for help to get back home. We told him where home was.
He said that he was on his way to work, and if we wanted him to, he would give us a ride to the nearest town.
The idea of approaching a strange house had grown less appealing by the minute, so the generous offer of a ride seemed the better solution. His car sat five, and it was warm.
The nearest town was about 45 minutes away, but it was enough time for us to strike up a conversation with him. He told us that he was a doctor at the Mayo Clinic and that he was on his way back to work. He also told us that he went to college at the University of Arkansas. Since we were fans of the Milwaukee Bucks, we thought that was ironic because one of the stars on the team at that time was Sidney Moncrief, an Arkansas grad.
Soon the lights of the approaching town appeared and we knew that things would work out. The doctor pulled into the parking lot of a convenience store. My girlfriend called her dad and told him what happened. She said that he would come and get us. My brother called a tow truck and told the dispatcher our situation. My brother and I said that we would wait for the tow truck and hitch a ride with the driver. All the while, the kind doctor from the Mayo Clinic stayed with us until he knew that things would right themselves. He then said goodbye and disappeared as quickly as he appeared. We never got his name, nor did he take any money.
21 years later, my wife and I still talk about that night. Though some of the details are sketchy, we truly believe that a guardian angel was sent to us that night. There was no other explanation. Who else would know that we were stranded out there? A coincidence? I think not.
Thanksgiving might be in November, but to us Thanksgiving is everyday and we are thankful that we are here, safe, warm and comfortable and able to enjoy our lives…
Thank you, Guardian Angel, for saving us that night.
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