The Angel Hike
I never miss an opportunity to tell the angel story. I can point my friends to it and say, "See, and you thought I was a devil." On the other hand, the devil was an angel also. Hummmm?
Let me point out quickly that I'm not religous, but that's not a story for this page. On with the tale....
The hike was moderately long for a day hike. Approximately five miles back into the hills and, of course, where you hike in you must hike back out, so it would be about 10 miles by the time I got back to the parking lot. I was tired. There had been a lot of ups and downs, and coming down hill never seems to make up for the energy expended climbing up. In addition, I always carry too much junk in my pack, and the straps had my shoulders aching. Anyhow, I was about a half mile from completing the hike when, coming down a long slope, I saw a couple ahead.
As I came upon them, I saw that they were old. The woman had silver hair and was dressed rather richly for walking in the woods. She seemed very relieved to see me.
"Could you help us? My husband can't get to his feet," she asked?
"Has he had a heart attack," I asked?
"No. His legs just gave out from tiredness."
I bent over the old man. "Hello, sir. How do you feel?"
"I feel fine. It's just that my legs won't cooperate."
"How old are you?"
"Dang! I hope I can get this far up the mountain when I'm that age." He chuckled. I noted that he had a belt on. Even though he was on the small side, the belt would make it much easier. I also noted that he kept peering at me rather intently. "Okay, if you are absolutely sure that nothing is wrong except your legs, I can take you down. But if you've had chest pains, or anything like that, I'll want to leave you here and get help."
"It was just my legs. They just petered out. I'm fine except for that."
"Bit off more than you can chew, hey? I've been there. I thought a couple of times I was going to have to spend a night in the woods." I grinned at him. Suddenly he reached up with one hand and grabbed my shirt."
"I know you."
"You know me," I asked, puzzled?
"Yes. You are an angel."
I laughed. "I'm no angel, sir."
"I know you are. It is getting late, and I got scared. I prayed to God to send me an angel, and I opened my eyes, and there you were, coming down the mountain. You're my angel."
I laughed again. "Well, let's get you out of here." With my help he got to his feet, and I looped his left arm about my neck. I grabbed his belt at the rear with my right hand. Thankfully, he was able to move his legs with me taking the weight off. We made our way slowly down the slope, his wife following.
It was not until I heard a cry, and his wife fell heavily against us on a small down slope, almost sending all of us to the ground, that I realized she was very tired also. So I bade us all to rest, and when we restarted I told her to hang onto my left arm.
"But that is such a load for you," she protested.
"Not a problem. We've only a few hundred feet to go. Take my arm."
I was tired as hell, but I didn't let it show. It would have caused the woman needless distress. Soon, we came out of the trees and into the parking lot. The old guy had never let up talking about his angel. I got all kinds of instructions, like to tell God that it wouldn't be long before he would be joining him, etc. I didn't humor him, but I did give up arguing with him.
Once we got the old guy strapped into the passenger side of their car, we said our goodbyes. They wanted to take me to a restaurant, but I demurred. I shook the old man's hand, and finally was waving goodbye as they drove out.
I still get a warm feeling, and I'll never forget the glowing look on that man's face as he looked back at me for as long as he could. And why not? He firmly believed that he had been helped by an angel. If you're religous, that has to be a great experience, true or not. It made me happy that I had a hand in it.
Some days later I was in a restaurant, sitting across the table from a dear Christian friend of mine. I told her the story, and she, putting her elbows on the table and her chin on her clasped hands said, with a twinkle in her eyes, "God does work in mysterous ways."
THE TREASURE OF BLACKLOCK
A History of the Society (3036)
by Princess Alexandra