I Believe in Angels

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In September 1960, I woke up one morning with six hungry babies and just
75 cents in my pocket. Their father was gone. The boys ranged from three
months to seven years; their sister was two. Their Dad had never been much
more than a presence they feared. Whenever they heard his tires crunch on the
gravel driveway they would scramble to hide under their beds. He did manage
to leave 15 dollars a week to buy groceries. Now that he had decided to
leave, there would be no more beatings, but no food either.

If there was a welfare system in effect in southern Indiana at that time, I
certainly knew nothing about it. I scrubbed the kids until they looked brand
new and then put on my best homemade dress. I loaded them into the rusty old
51 Chevy and drove off to find a job. The seven of us went to every factory,
store and restaurant in our small town. No luck. The kids stayed, crammed
into the car and tried to be quiet while I tried to convince whomever would
listen that I was willing to learn or do anything. I had to have a job. Still
no luck. The last place we went to, just a few miles out of town, was an old
Root Beer Barrel drive-in that had been converted to a truck stop. It was
called the Big Wheel. An old lady named Granny owned the place and she peeked
out of the window from time to time at all those kids. She needed someone on
the graveyard shift, 11 at night until seven in the morning. She paid 65
cents an hour and I could start that night. I raced home and called the
teenager down the street that baby-sat for people. I bargained with her to
come and sleep on my sofa for a dollar a night. She could arrive with her
pajamas on and the kids would already be asleep. This seemed like a good
arrangement to her, so we made a deal. That night when the little ones and I
knelt to say our prayers we all thanked God for finding Mommy a job. And so I
started at the Big Wheel. When I got home in the mornings I woke the
baby-sitter up and sent her home with one dollar of my tip money-fully half
of what I averaged every night.

As the weeks went by, heating bills added another strain to my meager wage.
The tires on the old Chevy had the consistency of penny balloons and began to
leak. I had to fill them with air on the way to work and again every morning
before I could go home. One bleak fall morning, I dragged myself to the car
to go home and found four tires in the back seat. New tires! There was no
note, no nothing, just those beautiful brand new tires. Had angels taken up
residence in Indiana? I wondered. I made a deal with the owner of the local
service station. In exchange for his mounting the new tires, I would clean up
his office. I remember it took me a lot longer to scrub his floor than it did
for him to do the tires. I was now working six nights instead of five and it
still wasn't enough.

Christmas was coming and I knew there would be no money for toys for the
kids. I found a can of red paint and started repairing and painting some old
toys. Then I hid them in the basement so there would be something for Santa
to deliver on Christmas morning. Clothes were a worry too. I was sewing
patches on top of patches on the boys pants and soon they would be too far
gone to repair.

On Christmas Eve the usual customers were drinking coffee in the Big
Wheel. These were the truckers, Les, Frank, and Jim, and a state trooper
named Joe. A few musicians were hanging around after a gig at the Legion and
were dropping nickels in the pinball machine. The regulars all just sat
around and talked through the wee hours of the morning and then left to get
home before the sun came up. When it was time for me to go home at seven
o'clock on Christmas morning I hurried to the car. I was hoping the kids
wouldn't wake up before I managed to get home and get the presents from the
basement and place them under the tree. (We had cut down a small cedar tree
by the side of the road down by the dump.) It was still dark and I couldn't
see much, but there appeared to be some dark shadows in the car-or was that
just a trick of the night? Something certainly looked different, but it was
hard to tell what. When I reached the car I peered warily into one of the
side windows. Then my jaw dropped in amazement. My old battered Chevy was
full-full to the top with boxes of all shapes and sizes. I quickly opened the
driver's side door, scrambled inside and kneeled in the front facing the back
seat. Reaching back, I pulled off the lid of the top box. Inside was a whole
case of little blue jeans, sizes 2-10! I looked inside another box: It was
full of shirts to go with the jeans. Then I peeked inside some of the other
boxes: There were candy and nuts and bananas and bags of groceries. There was
an enormous ham for baking, and canned vegetables and potatoes. There was
pudding and Jell-O and cookies, pie filling and flour. There was a whole bag
of laundry supplies and cleaning items. And there were five toy trucks and
one beautiful little doll.

As I drove back through empty streets as the sun slowly rose on the most
amazing Christmas Day of my life, I was sobbing with gratitude. And I will
never forget the joy on the faces of my little ones that precious morning.
Yes, there were angels in Indiana that long-ago December. And they all hung
out at the Big Wheel truck stop.

I BELIEVE IN ANGELS! They live next door, around the corner, work in your
office, patrol your neighborhood, call you at midnight to hear you laugh and
listen to you cry, teach your children, and you see them everyday without
even knowing it!


This story was sent to me by a few friends in email.....author unknown




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