[This is a portion of a Grandma Cary story for the grandkids. Since being with Patti in Clatskanie, Oregon, during this last couple weeks, this grabbed at my heart, so sharing it with you.]
...“Let’s get out of the kitchen and go up and hang out on my bed. Your folks are hanging out on a movie in the living room, but I have a story to tell you.”
The girls headed for the doorway as Grandma Cary took one last glance around the kitchen and turned out the light. The three of them headed up the stairs and climbed onto Grandma Cary’s bed, plopping down in the middle of the pile of pillows and pulling the comforter up around their chins. The girls snuggled up against Grandma Cary, one on each side.
“A very long time ago, more than fifty years now, our family was traveling from Portland, Oregon, where we were living, to Tacoma, Washington, where we had relatives and had lived there before. It was a trip of about 150 miles. In those days, it took longer than it would today. There wasn’t a road system like we have now, and, generally, cars weren’t able to go as fast and, even if they could, speed limits were lots lower.”
Makayla popped in. “Mom sure would have had a harder time driving then,” she laughed, and Grandma Cary shook her head and laughed along with her.
“Back to the story, Makayla.” Grandma winked at her. “We were going to Tacoma for Christmas, and it was a dark, rainy and foggy evening. I was 8, Niki was 3, and Patti was 2, Teri was about 8 months old, and Mom was expecting my sister Betty. In those days cars didn’t have seat belts or safety locks on the doors and there weren’t car seats for babies. I were sitting on the back seat and that I was holding the baby, Teri, and Niki was sitting there, too. That's what I remembered. Patti, the 2-year-old, was playing around in the back, and had been hollered at to stay away from the door. Suddenly, Patti leaned on the door handle and disappeared out of the car on the passenger side. I screamed about it and Dad hit the brakes. It took a few seconds to get stopped, especially since – and this is the scary and strange part – we were going over a metal and concrete bridge. There wasn’t anywhere to pull over.
“Not long ago when we talked about this for the first time in many, many years, Mom told me that somehow Patti, instead of flying outward from the car, and hitting the concrete side of the bridge, she bounced along the road and into the lane behind them. A man saw her fly out, and he stopped. At first they couldn’t see her -- it was dark and foggy -- and then they heard her whimper. The other man found her in the middle of the road and he stood over her and protected her until Mom and Dad could reach her. Mom says that Patti had been wearing a heavy snow suit, heavy shoes, and a stocking cap. The cap was gone, and her head was badly hurt and she had a wound on her neck. The man told Mom and Dad that his wife worked in a hospital near there, so Mom held Patti in her lap and they drove to the hospital as quickly as possible. No ambulance. Niki remembers Patti being all bloody. and screaming all the way to the hospital and in the emergency room. We left Patti there with the doctors and all the rest of us went on to Tacoma about 50 miles away and stayed there with our aunt and uncle so Mom and Dad could go back down to be with her. Patti was in the hospital overnight, but, even though she was pretty scratched up and had a concussion, they couldn’t find anything else really wrong with her, so the doctors sent her home. Mom said Patti had bandages all over her head, and that she was really hurting. She didn’t want anyone to touch her and had a headache for a few days. That’s really hard on a Mom, because when your baby is sick, let me tell you, you want to hold them and rock them and make it all better for them.”
Grandma Cary looked at the girls. For once they didn’t have much to say. They looked back at her with big, serious eyes.
“So, Grandma,” Miranda asked, thoughtfully. “Where do you think the angel was?”
“Over the years, as I’ve thought about this accident, I’ve realized an angel must have been there to ‘aim’ Patti away from the bridge wall and somehow under or around our car and then softened her landing. To land in the middle of a highway like that, and not have a car hit her, and to find her in the fog, and the guy to stand over her to protect her -- all that is pretty amazing. When my Mom and I talked about this she said there must have been an angel, and believe me, and I can tell you for a fact, my Mom was not an angel-believing kind of person for years and years, just changing as she was turning to heaven a few years ago. But when we wonder, sometimes, whether angels can see us and know what we’re doing and what could happen if they weren’t paying attention, all I have to do is take a look at this one incident.”
At that moment, the Twins’ Mom stuck her head into the bedroom. “So this is where you disappeared to. I realized it was too quiet in the kitchen, so I’ve been wandering the halls. You ready to head for home?”
"Yes, Mom," Miranda said, "But we sure want to tell you the story about your Aunt Patti when she was a very small kid."
The girls jumped off the bed and ran out the bedroom door and ran down the stairs and headed for the car. Grandma Cary ran behind them to get a hug and grabbed her daughter for one, too.
Smiled and waved all the way down the driveway.
|Niki's son's wedding, July 4, 2013|
|Me leaving Oregon last week.|