Spiritual Fiction posted December 19, 2010

This work has reached the exceptional level
Its about a Christmas display that changed lives

My Snow Angel in 1965

by harleyangelbrat

It was 1965 and I was ten years old. It was the first year I was able to be a more normal child. I was excited because we were taking a trip to North Carolina to see my mother's family. I was to meet aunts, uncles, and cousins that I'd never met. It was to be the most exciting thing I'd ever done in my life.

You see, I was a sick child with only medical tests and probing by abusive doctors to look forward to. My parents trusted those doctors, not knowing that they were actually barbarians. I was being used as a lab rat and treated like one, as well. My mother turned me over to them to save my life, but instead, they made it a living hell. I thought I was doomed to be in that nightmare for the rest of my life, but something wonderful happened to change it.

In early 1965, a stranger came into my hospital room and wanted to pray for me. He was a preacher that was sent by a mother whose son had been through brain surgery due to a tumor. He was known for his miraculous recovery. At nine months old, they'd given him very little chance of surviving, but this little proved everyone wrong. It was a miracle brought about by the faith and prayers of his mother, church and this wonderful pastor. Now, he wanted to pray for me.

I had been prayed for by many preachers and deacons of the church, but when he entered my room, I could feel the power of God illuminating from his presence. He made sure I knew that he had no power, that it came from God. He placed his hands on my shoulders and prayed the most powerful prayer I've ever heard. I felt a warmth go through my body and knew that I was going to be healed.

My parents had already been told I only had a year left to live, but I informed them that I was healed. The doctors refused to take my word and demanded that I come back for tests in two weeks. I did return to his office and he came in with a very confused expression. He claimed that the tests must have been faulty because nothing came up. I informed the doctor that I didn't need anymore tests or medicine. I was healed. One of my doctors was kind and he swung me around and believed it was a miracle, but the abusive doctors hated losing their guinea pig. It was truly a miracle in more ways than one. I knew God had rescued me from these barbarians, as well.

Now, as Christmas drew near, I was excited that I was going to see snow. It would be my first time for traveling so far and seeing snow. I tried packing my own suitcase, but of course my mother had to do it over again. I wasn't use to cold weather living in Florida, so she informed me that I would need a lot warmer clothes.

I tried to be patient, but my heart was jumping with excitement. When we finally pulled out of the driveway in our blue Chevy, my sister and I were bouncing on the back seat with glee. We drove my daddy crazy asking if we were there yet. He would just laugh and tell us to be patient. We finally fell asleep and slept for several hours, which gave my daddy a nice break.

“Daddy, are we closer now?” I woke up, wiping my eyes of sleep, anxious to see snow. I felt the cold breeze coming from his window. I knew we were closer. I sat straight up and looked around. It was still green, orange and brown. There was no snow. I was told that it would be a few more hours.

As we continued, the car started making a funny sound. I could tell it wasn't good by the look on my daddy's face. He finally stopped at a place that he seemed to know about. They greeted him with hugs and I could see tiny drops of rain coming down, or was it? I realized that it was not rain at all. It was sleet. I became very excited and so did my sister.

We were invited in the people's house. The fire place was glowing from across the room. It was a cozy little cabin in the back of their business. It was obvious that they were mechanics. I stood in front of the window hoping it would start snowing, but the sleet just kept coming down. It seemed to get thicker, but the ground wasn't turning white.

“You wanting to see snow, are ye'?” A young man asked me, picking me up off the ground. He was very kind and told us stories about the snow. As he talked, I noticed it was getting thicker and thicker. He laughed and pointed out the window. “Now, it's snowing!”

We were both elated and wanted to go outside, but my momma said, “No, it's way too cold right now.”

The young man coaxed her into letting us go out, promising to keep as warm as he could. He began putting one coat after another on each one of us. I could barely move, but didn't care. I was too excited about seeing my first snow.

“Come on, let's go,” He took both of our mitten covered hands. “I've got something really wonderful to show you.”

“I want to see the snow!” I gave him my best pouty look. “Please.”

“Believe me, you'll see snow as soon as you step outside,” He pulled us out the door, gently. He was smiling the whole time, as he took us around to the side of the shop.

We both were amazed at the beautiful lights. It was getting a little darker now and he had turned them on just for us. The closer we moved toward this old truck, the more I wondered what he was up to. I didn't really know this guy, after all, so my instincts kicked in and I was a little afraid. I finally realized there was nothing to fear. He was just proud of his work.

There before us was the most beautiful scene I had ever saw. This old truck had been turned into a showplace for the most gorgeous Christmas display I'd ever seen. It was cut in half and made into a beautiful display. He had the Manger scene in the middle with little carved figures that were painted so perfectly. There were little wood cabins with lights and decorations. A Santa Claus was kneeling at the altar of a church he built with an open front so we could see inside. There were people kneeling and sitting in the pews. I had never seen such beautiful work in my whole life. Now, I knew why he was so proud.

He pointed out every little thing that he had carved and built. There were tiny streetlights on every corner of his handmade city. The lights were made from tiny Christmas bulbs. He had constructed the lights from small pieces of scrap metal. They looked like a miniature version of the real thing. Everything was perfectly made.

Then, he sat us down on his handmade benches surrounded by a tarp to keep the wind off of us. It was also neatly made into the best tent I'd ever seen. He turned on this heater that was sitting in the middle and began to tell us his story.

As he began, I realized that his face was scarred very badly and he walked with a limp. As he settled down beside us, it amazed me how I'd never noticed his scarred face until now. I knew it was his kindness that covered up those marks. I just hadn't notice. Even when I did see them, I didn't feel afraid or shocked at all. It really surprised me. I listened to his every word.

“You see this old truck?” He smiled, widely. “It is here to remind me of how God saved my life one night.”

We both waited, patiently, for him to explain. “I use to be a real bad boy. I drank alcohol all the time and drove like a crazy man. I didn't care about anything or anybody except myself. I really hurt my family a lot. I even did some drugs and fought in bars just for fun. I was bitter and angry because my mother was taken from me.”

His face changed a little. There were tears in his eyes. It was obvious that he missed his mother very badly. I wondered who the woman was in the house, but I didn't question him. I waited for him to finish his story.

“It happened one night when I was only nine,” He continued. “My mother loved Christmas, so we all went out to do some shopping. It was in that old truck that we placed all the presents neatly in the back and covered them with a thick blanket. Daddy was still working real hard at the shop, so he wasn't with us. It was my momma, two brothers, a sister, and me. We piled in the cab and drove to another store to finish our shopping. We were all excited about Christmas coming. It was the day before. Momma always waited until the last minute, but we didn't care. I'm Johnny, by the way. I don't think I ever told you my name.”

We told him our names and waited for him to continue. The woman came out with a tray. She had made us all hot chocolate with marshmallows melting on top. It was yummy and warmed us right up. He waited for us to take a few sips before going on with his story. We thanked this woman he called Annie.

“So, we finished our shopping and headed toward home. The snow was coming down harder than ever and momma was worried that we might get stuck. She finally had to pull over and wait a while. It was just too thick to see. We sat there on the side of the road with our emergency lights on for quite a while before someone stopped. It was a man I'd never seen. I only caught a glimpse of him as she opened the door. Momma got out to talk to him and we waited. The windows were so fogged we couldn't really see anything. Finally, after waiting for several minutes, my big brother decided he needed to see what momma was doing. She was gone.”

“That's awful!” I said, feeling as if I wanted to cry. My sister was wiping a few tears from her face, as well. “What happened after that?”

“Well, we were all frantic, of course,” He said, biting his upper lip. “I mean, we knew something terrible had happened, but we kept hoping she went to get help. My big brother knew in his heart that wasn't the case. She would have told us. We just kept hoping. He ran up to a house about a half mile up the road to get help, making us lock the doors behind him. He returned with the sheriff and he made sure we got home safely, with my brother following him in the truck. It's a small town and a lot of young kids drove from time to time.”

The snow had slowed down, but was still falling. I marveled at the beautiful decorations on the truck. He had them covered with another homemade tent so that just a little snow fell onto the truck. It made it look even more marvelous. I wanted to hear a happy ending, but he had already told us that he lost his mother. I waited for him to finish his story, wishing I could change the ending.

“My daddy was a nervous wreck after we arrived home. We all cried and begged the sheriff to look for her. He had already dispatched several officers to search for her and was headed out the door to do the same. My daddy went with him, ordering us to stay home with our big brother and lock up.

One of the officers found her body only a mile from where the man took her. She had been, you know, well, I don't want to say.”

Even though I was barely ten, I knew what he was talking about. It broke my heart just thinking about it. I waited for him to collect himself and continue.

“She was in terrible shape and daddy wouldn't let us look at her. We had heard on our CB radio and disobeyed him. My brother piled us into that old truck again and we made our way toward the spot they had found her. We knew the area well, so it wasn't hard to find the flashing lights surrounding where she was found. My dad stopped us, scolding us for disobeying and trying to hide the tears in his eyes. We knew it was bad and I wanted to see my momma. I couldn't make myself believe that she was dead. I finally ran past my daddy and stopped in front of her covered body. That was when I realized they had a man in custody. He was sitting in the back of a police car, staring out at me. I tried to open the door, but it was locked. I beat on the window, cursing him, which is something I'd never done. Momma didn't allow cursing. I had only heard a little bit in school, but I still didn't recognize some of the words that came out of my mouth. I was bitter and angry and wanted to kill this man.”

I placed my small hand on his. I wanted to comfort this kind man, but I was only a child and didn't know what to say. I just told him how sorry I was.

“I became bitter and hated everyone and everything,” He sighed. “I jumped in that old truck and started driving toward that police car. I rammed it before anyone could stop me and rammed it again. I smashed the side where he was sitting until they finally stopped me. He must have been looking away because he didn't see me coming. I hurt him really bad. I was glad.”

“The sheriff had compassion for me and let me go,” He stated. “Everyone understood why I was so angry. This man was wanted for several other murders, so no one had pity on him. I knew life would never be same for me. In fact, those gifts were never opened. My dad placed them in the garage and we didn't even celebrate Christmas that year.”

He cleared his throat and sipped his hot chocolate. “I stayed angry even though my daddy started going to church and tried to reach me. I wouldn't listen. My other siblings worked through it by prayer and good friends. I stayed bitter. I drove that old truck out to that spot almost every night, cursing God.”

“The night that man was executed, I got really drunk,” He hesitated. “I wanted to watch and they wouldn't let me. It had been about five years. I was old enough, or so I thought. They disagreed. I just kept drinking and drinking all by myself. I didn't have any friends and didn't want any. I got so drunk I drove out to that spot through a blizzard and just sat there staring at where they found my mom. I kept seeing it in my mind and started crying like a baby. I finally leaned on my steering wheel and prayed this angry prayer. I asked God why he took my momma and why she had to suffer. All of a sudden a bright light flashed and I couldn't see anything. I heard this whisper that sounded like my momma's voice warning me not to drive. I just kept hearing it over and over again. The voice said, “Don't drive, son, walk. Go home, it's not far.” I figured I had to be really drunk to be hearing her voice. It didn't stop me. I barreled out of there, sliding everywhere. I got on the main road and intended to just drive until I ran out of gas. I couldn't see anything in front of me, but I didn't care. I lost control of the truck and smashed into something. The truck started tumbling over and over. I could feel my body being torn and broken apart. I knew I was going to die. I screamed out, “Please, God, I'm sorry.” That's the only words I said.”

He wiped the tears from his face. We did the same and waited for him to finish his story. It seemed like several minutes before he spoke. We both finished our hot chocolate and snuggled together to stay warmer. He glanced in our direction and asked us if we were all right. We both nodded.

He finally continued. “The next thing I remember was someone picking me up in their arms. There was a bright light just like the one I saw before. This person or whoever it was had such a warmth that my pain went away for a while. I thought I was already dead. His voice was like thunder and I could see fire surrounding the truck. It was completely in flames. I should have burned up and died, but this person that I know was an angel, lifted out and placed me on the soft ground. I could hear sirens in the distance and then I passed out. Right as I was passing out, I looked in his face and it was the face of an angel.”

Our eyes widened and we both were amazed at his story. We had chill bumps, but it wasn't from the cold. I believed in angels because as a child, I had seen them when I needed comfort, but had never told anyone. Now, I knew it wasn't just a dream. I smiled to myself as he went on.

“I woke up in the hospital,” He pointed to his face. “I had several bad cuts and my leg was almost torn off. They had to do a lot of surgery on it, but I was able to keep it. Everyone asked me the same question; how did I get out? I didn't tell anyone at first, but God spoke to my heart while I was out cold. He spoke in the most loving voice I'd ever heard. I knew God had saved me from dying. Everything became clear. Hearing my momma's voice was no accident or dream. Either God allowed her to warn me or some angel appearing as her came down to save my life. After that, my life changed. I accepted Jesus into my heart and started going to church with my family. I wouldn't let daddy destroy that old truck. I had plans for it. I wasn't able to get around very well, so I was kind of stuck here with nothing to do. So, that's when the idea came to me, like a voice out of Heaven. I started making this years ago, right after that Christmas when I had my accident. I've worked on it ever since.”

“It's beautiful,” My sister said, softly. I nodded in agreement. “How long have you been doing this?”

“A while,” He smiled. “I add to it every chance I get. I have four new people to add.”

“Really, who?” I asked.

“Your family, of course.”

We finally left the next morning. We had a wonderful time with Johnny and his family. The woman was his stepmother and she was very kind. His daddy had met her at church only a year ago. We drove on to our Uncle's house and many other family members. It was awesome. I got to meet so many cousins and family that I'd never known.

Daddy made a point to stop at Johnny's house on the way home. It had been a week since we dropped in on them. We were excited to see them again and even more so when he ushered us to his beautiful display. There, sitting on a handmade bench by a make believe fire, was my sister, Johnny and me. They even looked like us. We were thrilled and showed our parents. He also had them standing on the porch of what looked like his log cabin.

As we left, we waved out the back window until we couldn't see Johnny and his family anymore. I was so thankful that I met him. He had really touched my heart with his story. It was one of the most memorable Christmases I'd ever experienced. As we headed back home, my thoughts stayed on this young man and the impact he had made on our lives. His testimony would be remembered for the rest of my life. I told his story to a lot of people. Of course, he told it better and longer, but it still touched the hearts of many people.

I've never gone back there, but I've heard that his special display has touched many lives. It tells a story if you look real close. It begins with that sad night and ends with a new man who gained many friends after changing his life. They say he's added more and more over the years, details that only he remembers. He still sits out there at Christmas and tells his story to passing strangers. It wasn't until I grew up that I realized he was my uncle. He would always be my favorite. He left me with something beautiful that I'll never forget and gave me one of the best gifts I could ever ask for; the gift of another miracle and the realization that my angels were real, as well.


Writing Off the Page in 1965 contest entry


This story is based on some true events. Some details have been added to make the story more interesting.
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