I remembered this small event from my past, and I didn’t really think it was “worth writing about” but I can’t stop thinking about it, it has consistently popped up in my memory (that in itself is a surprise! – I’m old!) soooooo here it is.
You have to remember this occurred 40 years ago! So I’ll tell it as I recall it; several seasons have passed since then.
It was cold, and there was snow on the ground, and as I recall it was dark. The highways were mostly clear, but the shoulders still had not been completely cleared. I was in my old 1966 Chevy pickup (which a contractor had sold to me for $200 out of the goodness of his heart) and I was on my way to another town to get a job.
Again, as I recall, it was either in Sullivan County or Grundy County, Missouri , next to one of those little towns along Highway 6. Might have been Humphreys, might have been Galt, I’m not sure. I do remember it was at an intersection where a street connected to the Highway.
Just before the intersection, a car has pulled off onto the shoulder. I don’t know why, but it was a woman and her child (maybe elementary age? Son? Daughter? ). And since the snow plows had not yet completely cleared the shoulders, there was enough snow and ice on the shoulder that as the car set there, I guess the heat of the tires melted down into the packed snow and ice, and the car became stuck. The lady had tried rocking the car back and forth a bit to no avail.
And I happened along.
I got out and looked the situation over. I didn’t have a tow strap or a log chain with which I could have easily pulled her back onto the highway. But I knew if I pulled in behind her to give her a nudge, I’d end up just like her, stuck on top of the ground so to speak. When I pulled over, I left my two left wheels on the highway.
The banks at that intersection were not terribly steep, the one next to the highway a bit steeper, but the one going up to the street – which ran parallel to the highway for a hundred feet or so before turning and connecting to the highway – that bank was sloped fairly gently and was shorter, since the street was lower than the highway at that point. It came up to intersect the highway level.
Now, somewhere I got the idea that I should walk those slopes, especially the bottom where they met and see if there was a ditch washed out under the snow, or holes, or a culvert, anything that would throw a wrench in the plan working in my brain. I checked, and walked, and walked and checked, and it was really smooth all the way from the highway shoulder to the street. No curbs, etc.,
Now I don’t remember if I told that dear lady what I had in mind, but I got behind the wheel of her car, turned the front wheels off the highway and down the bank. I gave it as much gas as I dared without making it spin or slide, and went down off the highway, across the bottom, and up the slope with enough momentum to carry me out onto the dry street.
Success! I drove the car up to the stop sign at the highway where the lady was standing. I don’t know who was more relieved, me or her!!
Now, I don’t really recall if she offered me money (I don’t think she did) but where I come from when people need help, you help them just because of that: They need help. If she did offer me money, I’m going to trust my upbringing to say I didn’t take it.
But the bearhug she gave me and the look of relief on her face was more than enough payment.
She and her child went on their way, and I went on mine. And at the time I was in a rough spot. Between jobs, my marriage on the rocks, and not much hope in the way things looked. God and I weren’t on the best speaking terms, either. Yet, I believe God used that backslidden young man to help a woman and her child when they needed it most.
I never saw them again, didn’t get a name; that wasn’t necessary to help them, just being there was what was necessary and needed.
And God took care of that.