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A Christmas Snow Angel - Part 1
The young lady's car slowed to a stop ... As she pulled as far off the highway, (onto the shoulder), as she could (Allowing for any snow plow that might come along). She had chosen poorly this time Believing she had enough gas to get to the next fuel stop But the car had run dry already A few miles short of her plan. The storm was now brutal and in full form Snow swirling and drifting on her windshield already Changing her car's color from candy-apple red to white. So she turned her emergency blinkers on And reached under the seat for her bag and the phone inside It was not there ... As soon as she realized this the horror struck her: She had left it on the counter of the ladies room at her last stop (She remembered now getting in the car without it) And that was over a hundred miles behind her!! Trying very hard not to panic The tears nonetheless swelled in her eyes And blazed a trail through her makeup and down her cheek Dripping onto her blouse where it made a stain. How in the world would she get out of THIS one? She had tempted fate many times in her seventeen years And it seemed like fate was now expecting payment. Her mind spinning with worry and fear She sat and tried to think of her options Though none seemed viable or remotely safe As the storm was raging and few cars were on the road. It was early Christmas morning, after all And she had only seen two cars going in the opposite direction. She felt another tear running down her cheek And looked in the rear-view mirror to wipe her face with a tissue 'Oh, my god!!' she thought, heart jumping to her throat, taking her breath There was a man standing behind her car! He was bent over doing something at first, but then stood up! Rather poorly dressed and unkempt, with a long, scraggly beard And not the type she would EVER speak to or associate with Let alone want standing behind her car in a snow storm! He was waving at her, a big smile on his dirty face. Slowly, he came around to her driver's-side window (While she made sure the doors were locked). Still smiling and waving, he yelled through the glass at her to open the window. Trembling now with fear, but having few options, she cracked the window Her desperation overcoming her fright "I'm out of gas!" she said, tears streaming now, despite her "Wait here" he said calmly. "I'm going for help." "But I have no money - nothing! I lost my bag ... well, I left it by mistake!" "No worries", he said, still smiling, "Just hold tight ... are you warm enough?" "Yes" she said, "I have a sleeping bag in the trunk." He gave her a thumbs-up and left in the direction behind her. She noticed then how ragged and old his clothes and shoes were As he disappeared into the white swirl of the storm. She had almost given up hope by the time he returned, tears dripping again And had tried waving down a couple of cars in the meantime But she had pulled a bit too far off the highway So they hadn't seen her in the heavy white-out of the snow. He was alone, and her immediate thought was more horror and fear There should have been someone with him A tow-truck, she had hoped But just the scraggly man, walking alone out of the whiteness Carrying a can ... a GAS can!! He emptied the contents of the can into her tank Then went to stand behind the car and waved at her The same unworried smile on his face. She turned the key and the car wouldn't start ... She pumped the pedal a few times then tried again And the engine roared to life A flood of adrenaline filling her blood with joy ... She was going to be OK! Her fear now assuaged in a surge of warmth and safety She keyed the window down and yelled for him to come there ... Still, he just stood waving and smiling, motioning for her to drive off. She jumped out of the car and walked back to him. It was clear he was homeless, and she wanted to repay him ... "I have no money with me, but I want to repay you ... please!" "No worries" he said, "Merry Christmas!" "But please, how did you get the gas? Aren't you homeless?!?" "Oh, yes" he replied, "But some folks at the shelter gave me twenty dollars for Christmas ... I've been troubled since then, wondering what on earth I was going to do with it, then you came by ... the lord provides!" "Yes, He does. Where did you go?" she asked him then "Oh, I just walked to the pantry back there ... only a few miles" "A few MILES?!?" she exclaimed "Oh, no worries - I needed the exercise," he answered "But I HAVE to repay you! Can I take you to a shelter or something?" "Oh, no, thank you ... I have a warm fire going under the bridge back there" "Are you sure? If so, I'm going to come back and repay you at the least!" "Oh, no worries", he replied, "I had no use for it anyway" He stood, smiling, a twinkle in his eye And she knew by his expression that it would do no good to argue Even so, she made a promise to herself That she'd come back as soon as she could and repay him. She gave him a hug, which, by his reaction, surprised him quite a bit Then kissed him on his dirty cheek and thanked him kindly Making a note that the tears now seemed to be on HIS face ... She got in her car and drove off His smiling face and waving arm disappearing into the white. That late afternoon, after the storm had stopped And the party at her family's house was over She had her older brother and father drive her back to the overpass The one that the man had talked about as his safe place ... They brought clothes, a down sleeping bag, some hot food A new thermos filled with corn chowder, some coffee A down jacket, new boots, and even a tent and backpack Along with a Master Card with $200. They parked beside the highway and climbed down the embankment But when they got to the underpass where he and his fire should've been Nothing. No scraggly man. No fire. No camp. Nothing. Not a single sign that anyone had ever been there. They drove back AND forward many miles that evening ... (continued) * SIXTH PLACE in "The Good Samaritan" Poetry Contest, Craig Hawkins, Sponsor. *
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