aka.. The Good Samaritan of Northern Wisconsin
On the roads of ice and snow near Hayward Wisconsin in December 2001 a young mother with her preschool children were heading home to the near by town of Drummond when along the road she spots an older man with the hood up on his car.
This was a typical bitter cold December day, but though she has her young children with her she is impressed to stop and see if she can help.
As she pulls over the old man approaches her car. She cautiously locks her doors and rolls down her window slightly to ask if she can help. The old man does not speak, and tries to open the door, then reaches inside his coat.. making her all the more uneasy.
The old man pulls out a small keyboard from his jacket and types a short message explaining he has ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) so he can not speak, and would appreciate a ride home in Hayward. The young woman opens her car to the old man and drives him home.
This old man was my father Walter Larson, and the young woman was Jen Herricks. Jen was the theGood Samaritan of Northern Wisconsin 2001. I wonder how macho northwoods guys in their 4x4 trucks were too busy to assist this old man in need on a bitter cold winter day? Maybe none, but maybe too many. But no matter, my dad was cared for by someone with a family car, and a kind heart.
Jen later explained to my mom that she thought my dad was an angel. There are a few explanations for this observation but no one before this would have described my dad as an angel. A good man? Yes. An angel.. hmmm, that would be a reach. But maybe there was an angel standing alongside my dad that cold December day. Maybe it was the peace my dad demonstrated in his life just months before passing on to Heaven. Either way there was certainly a divine appointment with an angel that day. What I know was that this day God impressed on the heart of a kind woman to be real Christianity.
Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress (and old men brokedown on winter roads) and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. James 1:27
So Jen gives my dad a ride home. He offers her money, she refuses, and they go their separate ways.
Nice story, but it's not over.. A few weeks later my folks receive a Christmas card from Jen wishing and praying the best for them. This was nice touch too, but...
The story is not over.. My dad passed away from his battle with ALS just a couple months after this 'chance' December encounter. The funeral is a celebration of my dad and the good man he was, and a celebration of his life now in Heaven. In the mean time, Jen and her family began attending my parent’s home church in Cable Wisconsin not knowing yet the connection.
A short time later it becomes clear to Jen that my mom was a long time member of this church. So Jen reaches out again and contacts my mom. This began a friendship that continues today 14+ after my dad’s passing.
Now that my mom is 87 with limited mobility, Jen still visits my mom with her kids probably 8-12 times a year even though my mome moved 150 miles west to an assisted living home in Osseo Minnesota. When Jen comes to visit mom it is with hugs and kisses that are reserved for family, and her kids call her Grandma Nell.
Also.. With this friendship God has provided Jen the friendship of a ‘seasoned’ Christian woman to talk and confide in. My mom does not replace Jen’s real mom, nor does Jen replace my sister or myself, BUT this is to me an amazing example again of God answering prayers that we did not even know how to ask.
So on that cold December road in 2001 God provided my dad a ride, and ever since then He has provided the love and friendship of Jen and her family. This 'chance' meeting in my opinion was one of God's subtle miracles that he does so well.
I am thankful for that divine appointment with an angel in December 2001. Jen thought the angel was my dad, but maybe .. she was the angel.
May each of us slow down at times to realize God’s divine appointments with angels in our lives.
The mutterings on life and faith by cartoonist Jeff Larson