Thanksgiving Memory

A daughter recounts a remarkable story from her father's point of view, with a miraculous conclusion.

Continued from page 1

Somehow I managed to get my face above water. I was on the downstream edge of the hole. The current had me in its grip. One more inch and I would be swept away from the hole, my only escape from the frozen trap that awaited. Bracing my elbows on the ice, I tried to heave my body out of the water. I didn’t have the strength. I couldn’t fight anymore. Pain shot up my arms. Down my legs. I was utterly helpless. There was nothing I could do to save myself.



I slipped into the water. God, I prayed as darkness swirled around me,

please help me get out of this! Please.

Somebody grabbed me. Somebody strong. I felt myself being lifted up out of the water and laid face down on the ice. I crawled to the snowy bank and collapsed. I’d rest here for a while. But before I could close my eyes I heard an urgent whisper in my ear: “Get up! Go!”



My rescuer? I was too exhausted even to look behind me. How could I ever find the strength to stand up and walk?



God helps those who help themselves, I reminded myself. You have to try.

I pressed myself up on my hands and knees, and a strange strength filled my muscles. I managed to stand and take a few shaky steps. I turned and scanned the barren terrain for my mysterious rescuer. I was totally alone. But something told me I could walk the two miles home in below-freezing weather, even in my wet clothes. After all, didn’t I have an angel looking out for me?

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Wendy

But that wasn’t the end of Dad’s story. The day after Thanksgiving, Dad and Jim, my husband, hiked down to the hole in the ice with some equipment to search for the snowmobile. “No need to trouble God with this,” Dad said. “We can handle it on our own.”



The hole had already frozen over, so Jim drilled through it. Dad lowered a long pole into several spots, expecting to hit the top of the machine. Nothing. “Just have to drill in different spots until we find it,” Jim said and set up the auger. They spent the afternoon searching, but came home empty-handed.



That night at dinner he asked us all to bow our heads over our turkey leftovers. “Lord, it looks like I can’t find the snowmobile on my own,” Dad said. “I’m trying to get used to asking for help.”



We were all taken aback, even the children. No one was used to hearing Dad admit defeat so easily. Little Doug, six, sat quietly for a moment, then lifted his head. “You’ll find the snowmobile tomorrow, Grandpa,” he announced.



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Vern Stanton
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