Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: SING (08/16/18)
TITLE: AN AUDIENCE OF ONE
By Nancy Sullivan
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Nothing as covert as black ice waiting for an unaware pedestrian to step out for a morning paper then having to spend weeks nursing a broken limb. No, this ice storm was blatantly covering every outdoor surface with inches of crystal clear misery. Traffic was paralyzed with family cars frozen where they sat. No one was going anywhere.
Almost no one. Mac happened to be very ill and in the hospital. Nothing would keep his bride of almost 25 years from being at his side. With two teen-age daughters iced in and home alone, staying nights at the hospital wasn’t an option.
“Mom, you can’t drive in this mess. You’ve rarely ever driven a car. And you don’t even have a driver’s license!” Our words of warning must have frozen midair because apparently they never reached her ears.
Driver’s license? Goldie had never bothered herself with that. There was only one family car, and Mac was her chauffer to work, church, grocery shopping, or anyplace for that matter. The city bus would fill in as needed. With very few hours behind the wheel of a car ever, she was not only in a situation of risking a ticket, but injury to herself and others.
Goldie didn’t have time to worry with details. This law abiding citizen was on a mission. She chipped away at the blanket of the frozen peril until the windows were cleared enough to see and the door handle jarred enough to actually be pried open. Armed with true grit and focused on reaching her husband’s bedside, she set out, inching along neighborhood streets and avoiding the more traveled roads --- and the police.
Of course, there was no cell phone for her to check in with anxious family members at either end of this city-wide ice rink or to call for help in case of a very likely accident. Our family was left with only the frayed nerves of a protective husband, now helpless to do anything about the situation, an inexperienced and illegal driver, and two young daughters pacing the floor at home.
The winters in our home state we left two years previously were not this harsh; we had never seen a winter storm like this one. Mom had never even walked to the bus stop in weather so severe. For her to now drive on treacherous roads with no skills was a monumental trial for all four of us during Dad’s week-long hospital stay.
By the grace of God, we did survive that storm, and the city survived mom’s driving. Temperatures began to thaw, and Dad was well enough to come home. Life began to regain some normalcy for our family and for Springfield.
“Mom, how did you do it? Driving in that ice and sleet, knowing you could have been in a serious accident, or legal trouble? Not to mention the stress of Dad’s condition.” My sister and I drilled for answers.
“Well, girls, you know I can’t sing. I couldn’t carry a tune if my life depended on it. I just listen to others on Sunday morning and follow along in my heart. But I figured no one could hear me since the few people on the road also had their windows up and the heater going full blast. I just sang at the top of my voice. “Amazing Grace” or “How Great Thou Art” mostly, but any other hymns that came to mind. And I prayed. I sang, and I prayed --- to and from that hospital. And I trusted God to keep me safe.”
I’ve since wondered if one of those hymns she sang in the tundra surrounding that l962 Studebaker might have been “Nearer My God to Thee.”
“But as for me, I shall sing of Your strength;
Yes, I shall joyfully sing of Your lovingkindness in the morning,
For You have been my stronghold
And a refuge in the day of my distress.
O my strength, I will sing praises to You;
For God is my stronghold, the God who shows me lovingkindness.”
(Psalm 59:16,17, NASB).
Dad’s doctor prescribed a job with less stress. That was all he needed to announce that we were immediately returning home to the rest of our family and milder winters. Our renegade mother? The first priority was for her learn to drive and to secure a driver’s license.
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