During the time that Betty and Donnie (our son) and I were living with my parents, one of those things happened that has an unexplainable conclusion. After the story is told I am sure if anyone does read it there will be those among the readers who can find a purely logical explanation. God’s hand was on us that night or it was just not our time or any of the number of reasons that are given by people for things that are hard for us to explain. Over the years since I have thanked God over and over again for this and other happenings in life that had a favorable outcome for me and mine. I will just tell the story and let each of you come to the answer that makes you comfortable.
I was going to trade school two nights a week and National Guard drill one night. What had become a regular part of our routine was that on some of the days that I would be in town late, Betty would get up with me and pack all of Donnie’s bottles and baby supplies and ride with me to town and spend the day with her Mother. I don’t recall if it was a school night or guard night it makes no difference in the story, at any rate we were all in town that night.
It had been raining for a few days, nothing out of the ordinary, just a couple of days of Louisiana rain. During this day it rained and rained and rained. After I picked Betty and Donnie up from her Mother’s house and we had started home it seemed as if it was beginning to clear up and before long the stars were shining. We drove home without any thought that there was trouble ahead but unbeknownst to us there had been a lot of rain above home for the last several hours.
To get to the house after you turned off the blacktop it was about a half mile down a narrow dirt, gravel road that went up a big hill and then down the other side into a big creek bottom. In the bottom there was a little narrow bridge that had been built in the days of wagons and it was just barely wide enough for a car or truck to cross. That night when we topped the hill and started down into the bottom it didn’t take but a minute to realize that things were not right. About three quarters of the way down we began to run into water and the headlights allowed us to see far enough ahead to see that the creek was out of its banks and running very hard and fast.
We stopped the car and turned on the high beams. All we could see was water. But after looking closer we could make out the other side of the flood and could see trees and the road going up the hill toward the house. It must have been about 11 o’clock or later by this time and we knew that it would take the water most of the night to go down to allow us to drive across the little bridge.
There we were no baby bottles, no clean diapers, nothing. It was either try to get to the house, sit in the car until daylight or drive back to town. The house was a hundred yards away so we decided to wade across the bridge and walk to the house. We were facing North and the water was running from East to West, so the force of the water would be on our right side. I got out of the car and walked to the edge of the water and shined my flashlight across and picked out a big gum tree for a point of reference and came back to the car to get Betty and Donnie. Our plan was simple enough. Betty would go first carrying the baby bag and the flashlight. I would walk behind her carrying Donnie.
The water across the bridge was about knee deep and with the force of the current it was not that easy to walk so we found ourselves taking little, short shuffling steps. About half way across I noticed that the current was pushing on the back of my legs rather than on the right leg. This realization made the hair stand up on the back of my neck because I knew that this was wrong. I knew then that we were walking with the current and that this direction would lead us off of the side of the bridge into about 12 feet of water and with the force of that current there would be no way that I could hold onto the baby even if Betty and I somehow managed to get out of the water.
I put my hand on Betty’s shoulder and said, without trying to scare her, “Stop don’t take another step. Just be still and hand me the light.”
Without any hesitation she handed me the flashlight and I shined it around trying to see why the water was coming at us from the back, it took only a few seconds to see what had happened. With the force of the current we had naturally just let it take us with it until we were going with it rather than across it. The road, instead of being in front of us, was to our right and we were about to walk off the edge of that little bridge. I shined the light on the big gum tree once more and said to Betty, Don’t take your light off of that tree. Don’t worry about looking down, just shine that tree. And that’s what she did and after just a few yards we were on the road walking home.
I will not take credit or blame. What happened is what happened. I haven’t thought about it a lot since that night. Betty and I did what we thought was the right thing to do. Maybe it was not our time or maybe God does watch after fools.
If you have miracles to share, we’d love to hear them.