One of our little boys was inventive and fearless.
And one day, a stranger came knocking at our back door.
It had been a mild-weather day and the main back door was open to let breezes in and to allow my supervision of our little boy’s outdoor play, while I tended to some laundry. The only separation between me and this huge visitor was the screen door of the back porch.
Over the expanse of his body he wore a grayed t-shirt, overalls with one strap fastened, and grubby boots untied. Some of his teeth were missing. He badly needed a shave and his oily hair flattened in several directions. Something about the urgency of his loud knock startled me. That was before I turned and spied his unkempt estate.
I admit I was beyond distressed. Wild images of countryside kidnappings captured my mind, uninvited.
Timidly, I approached the main door, breaking all my rules about talking to strangers.
“Ma’am, it may be none o’ my business, but did you know y’ur little boy has got hisself a fire a-goin’ in the pine straw out here?”
“Oh, no! Oh, no! Please, PLEASE, stay and help me!”
Funny how outward appearances don’t matter much, sometimes.
I followed that kind and insightful messenger of mercy to the scene, and found that, sure enough, as he’d seen his daddy do countless times, our little son had raked up a pile of pine straw and set fire to it. He never guessed his tiny blaze was only feet away from oceans of pine straw, some of it drifted against our garage, downwind on a breezy day. The fire had already broken out of bounds.
We two adults raked and sprayed water until it was out.
I told the man he had probably saved our son’s life, and surely saved us great property loss. I thanked him until he was embarrassed and left.
I forgot to ask his name.
I guess he was an angel in disguise. Sometimes we need help, and God knows it. Yeh, maybe an angel. I can imagine my asking him his name, and him saying, “Folks jis calls me Gabe.”
On investigation, I learned my husband’s matches were stored high on a wall in the garage, good, but under them was the mower, rolled there by our son in less than five minutes, and topped with a milk crate, making him tall enough to reach. So young, but so brave and inventive.
And so perfectly protected.
Another story in this series here!