This will be the first in a series of articles that will illustrate a large number of exciting, and sometimes miraculous, events in my life. I have often looked back and noticed what I call a “golden thread” through my existence that is reflective of the hand of God… things that have happened to me that would not normally be expected to happen, people who have appeared at various key times for my benefit.
I was born in Nevada, Missouri, and currently live a half-block from that place, originally Nevada City Hospital. I grew up on West Cherry Street right across from Main Hall of Cottey College, a fun place for a young boy to be. (The location of my boyhood home is now a parking lot.)
That house had an enclosed back porch, with glass windows that one could open outward. I recall the time when I was around 7 or 8 and was climbing up into one of those windows when the glass shattered and I fell outward. The door to the basement was open and I fell headfirst down onto the concrete steps, with broken glass preceding me. I remember there being some blood, but no serious injuries
Now I will tell you of a time that I nearly killed the whole family! I’m guessing that I was around 10 years old when my brother and my parents and I went to see my grandpa’s coal mine, the Thornhill Coal Company near the Kansas state line. It was a nice sunny day and we were walking around and climbing over rock boulders when I noticed a length of orange dynamite fuse sticking up. Well, I had a book of matches in my pocket, and what is a fuse for, anyway? Dynamite fuse is considerably harder to light than firecracker fuse, fortunately. Though I tried several times to light it, there was just enough breeze to prevent ignition; otherwise, our family line would likely have ended right there.
The time I knowingly came the closest to death was when I was age 14 and I went on vacation to South Dakota with my family and a good friend, Fred. We stayed in Spearfish Canyon and visited Iron Creek Lake. Fred was in better shape than I at the time, and a better swimmer. We both swam across the lake to a dock on the far side, and I was somewhat surprised when he suggested that we swim back across! We were perhaps a third of the way back when I realized how tired I was and made the wise decision to turn around. Shortly thereafter my legs began cramping and I had to roll over on my back and use my arms to continue the struggle. I was pondering how sad my mom was going to be when they pulled my body out of the lake when my feet contacted weeds growing on the bottom. That gave me strength to make it the rest of the way back to the dock.
There was also the time when I was at Nevada High School as the senior pole vaulter. I had the very first fiberglass pole used at NHS. (Before that we used aluminum poles). The new one was white, and I noted that it did not have near the flex that the chocolate brown poles did that other schools used. At a meet in Springfield as I planted the end of the pole and began my upward swing I was in a near vertical position when the pole snapped in two and I landed almost on my back. I am thankful that I did not break my neck, and perhaps an angel help lower me down, as when I landed on those basement steps years earlier.
At one time I owned a Triumph GT6+ sports car with its famous Lucas electronics. I was returning from Osceola on a moonless night on highway 82, and was enjoying traversing all of those curves at a fairly high rate of speed. Just as I entered Eldorado Springs my lights went out! I broke out in a cold sweat, realizing that if that had happened just a short time earlier on one of those curves, I may well have ended up in a rollover with serious injuries or worse.
Many don’t know that I have owned two airplanes. The first was a low wing 2-seater, a Grumman AA-1. Valo and I had flown into Gaston’s Resort on White River for a regional meeting of the American Yankee Association, and enjoyed a great trout dinner. Afterward, we were on the takeoff run and upon lifting off, the yoke (“steering wheel”) froze! I could not turn it, and we were heading straight for the trees to the left of the grass runway. This would likely have resulted in fatalities, but after about 5 seconds, the yoke released and returned to normal function, and I decided to land. I was not able to get stopped at the end of the runway, and we took a ride down an incline that resulted in a collapsed nose wheel and bent propeller (and firewall damage and a “totaled” airplane). More angel action?
As a Christian, I am aware that God knows the end from the beginning, and He is outside of both time and space. He also blesses us with His favor, love, and mercies (which are new each day). And the angels are described as ministering spirits to help us. The next several articles will show how “all things work together for our good,” how blessed I have been, and how God has sent people (and angels?) to help in other special situations.