It was an early Saturday morning when my cousin, Joanie and her boyfriend, Tom picked me up so we could go to band practice at our high school.
It was bitterly cold and it had snowed the night before. We lived in a small rural community in the Midwest. It was a 20-mile drive to the parking lot where we practiced.
Tom offered me a thermos lid of coffee he was drinking as Joanie explained that she was going to take a brief detour from our destination. She wanted to visit the local graveyard where her brother Johnny was buried. Sadly, Johnny her younger brother, had died in an accident the year before.
As Joanie drove into the cemetery the road was covered in ice and snow. She drove up a steep incline and stopped the car on the top of the hill, she got out. We watched as she walked over to Johnny’s grave. Tom glanced back to where I sat, “It is way too cold to be doing this today.”
Joanie must have agreed because she hurried back to the car and turned on the engine. But when she put the car into reverse in order to turn it around the back wheels just spun.
Tom and I got out and pushed but the car didn’t budge. We were stuck. Ellen always the drama queen got out of the car and started to argue with Tommy. I huddled in the backseat freezing.
I gathered from their argument that Ellen didn’t want to call her parents for help. They had not visited the cemetery since their only son’s funeral and she didn’t want to upset them.
Seth leaned against the passenger side door. Joanie walked back over to her brother’s grave. We heard her state loudly, “Tommy, send help.” S
I looked over to where she stood and was surprised to see a boy with long brown hair standing between her and the car. I looked around but didn’t see any other cars.
Joanie told him “My car is stuck, we can’t move it…” The man quietly smiled and replied, “ I know.”
Before we could protest this stranger got in the car and turned on the engine. Noticing me in the back seat he turned and smiled, “It’s okay.” He then backed up the car and turned it around without the wheels spinning.
He got out of the car and left the engine running and the driver’s side door open. I heard Joanie thanking him profusely. “You asked for assistance–glad I could help.” He then walked around to the back of the car.
Everyone got into the car quickly. The three of us sat for a while in stunned silence. We then drove the car slowly down the hill. I looked out the rear window and the man was not anywhere in sight.
More odd was the fact there were no footprints in the snow near where he had stood at the back of the car. Joanie looked at Tommy and stated, “Did you notice he didn’t have a coat on?”
We agreed that he must have been a guardian angel that Johnny sent.
It has been years since I was in high school but I still remember this man’s gentle blue eyes as he looked at me with reassurance.