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Good Morning Nanty Glo!
               Wednesday, December 11 2002 

Jon Kennedy, webmaster Encounters with angels - 2

I promised to recapitulate some of my angelic encounters. The first time that Dale Evans registered in my consciousness as anything other than Roy Roger's wife was learning as a child that she had published a little book about losing a child in infancy. It was titled Angel Unaware (1953) and I learned that's a reference to Hebrews 13:2, "Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares." And since reading that verse I've occasionally wondered if I've ever entertained an angel unawares; it seems to occur to me whenever someone helps me and I hardly notice until it's too late to thank them.

The first such memory that's stuck is one from my year as a clerk at the Parkhill Acme. I helped a customer to a car and when I went to load the bags into the trunk, one of them fell, spilling everything in the parking lot. Thankfully, nothing broke. But I was so embarrassed I didn't even want ot look at the customer. While I was putting everything back into the bag, a man came over and helped me, and disappeared as soon as the bag was refilled. I was too red-faced to even turn and thank him, and at that instant I thought maybe he was one of those messengers from God.

But the most memorable incident of an encounter with a divinely sent (I think) helper is uncannily similar to Mary Ann's story of yesterday, yet different enough to be worth telling. Like her, I was driving the Pennsylvania Turnpike, not far from Carlisle in the mid-1970s. But the car I was driving was a drive-away Cadillac, an old one, that I'd contracted to deliver to New Jersey in order to get free wheels for a vacation with the family across the country. We were on our way to their "other" grandparents near Philadelphia, after visiting my parents at Belsano. The kids were all small, sitting in the back, Kevin still in an infant seat.

Near Carlisle, just after an interchange, I saw a hitch-hiker. Hitchhiking was illegal on the Turnpike then as it is now. But I recognized this hitch-hiker! I'd seen him earlier on the trip, at least a day earlier, probably several days more likely, somewhere farther west on I-80 or I-70, before it merged into the Turnpike. On an impulse, I said, "Let's give him a ride." It wasn't that long since I'd done some hitching myself, but this is probably the only time in my life that I picked up a hitch-hiker with the family in the car. Having seen him earlier had something to do with the decision; I knew he hadn't killed his previous ride, as he was still hitching! Silly, of course. But even more strange, these drive-away cars come with contracts on which you put your signature promising not to pick up any passengers other than those in the contract! Still, I slammed on the brakes and invited him to ride with us.

He was probably about 20 and looked typical of the college students I was ministering among in those days. He was appreciative and friendly without being at least scary. He was going to one of the Philadelphia Turnpike exits, so the ride was much appreciated. Within an hour, a tire blew out and we were forced to park on the side of the highway. He immediately jumped to the opportunity to help, doing almost all the work of taking off the blown-out tire. Then we discovered that the spare was also flat. Immediately, he offered to take the spare back to the closest exit and have it fixed. This was preposterous! For one thing, it meant my trusting him with probably all the cash I had in my pocket in the days when having a $30 balance in my checking was "comfortable." But after insisting that he'd do it with dispatch and it would be safer for the family for me to wait with them, he was off. An hour later he was back. He'd gotten a ride on part of the way. The tire was fixed and we got to Granma's house without more incidents, leaving him at a Turnpike exit after being profusely grateful. I'm sure we learned where he was from, where he was going, and probably even his name, but all that is gone.

—Webmaster Jon Kennedy

On-the-job dictionary

"COMPETITIVE SALARY": We remain competitive by paying less than our competitors.

"JOIN OUR FAST-PACED COMPANY": We have no time to train you.

"CASUAL WORK ATMOSPHERE": We don't pay enough to expect that you'll dress up.

—Sent by Mike Harrison

Thought for today

We are taught you must blame your father, your sisters, your brothers, the school, the teachers—you can blame anyone but never blame yourself. It's never your fault. But it's always your fault, because if you wanted to change, you're the one who has got to change. It's as simple as that, isn't it?

—Katherine Hepburn

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