Making breakfast for my children is a pleasure for me every day of the week, but we had extra time that morning so I fixed their favorite—real Southern cooking with eggs, butter grits, biscuits and sausage. It was the day after New Year’s, 1997.
My 18-year-old son, Tony, was off from school, and his older sister, Stephanie, didn’t have to be at her job till evening. While the kids ate, I poured myself another cup of coffee. I was still absorbed in a mysterious dream I’d had. “Dream” wasn’t quite the right word for it, though. It had seemed more like a vision.
Then I noticed that Tony was hurrying through his food like there was no tomorrow. “What’s your rush?” I asked. He grinned, and his big brown eyes sparkled. I can tell what’s going on in my son’s mind. He couldn’t wait to get to the telephone, that’s what. He wanted to call his girlfriend, Shanna, and confirm their plans for the evening.
“It’s Shanna,” Stephanie said. She knew her brother’s mind too. “He’ll take all day getting ready for their date.” I smiled. Tony sometimes stayed at the mirror longer than I did.
Excusing himself from the table, Tony mussed his sister’s hair. “Handsome is as handsome does,” he said with a grin. While Stephanie cleared the dishes, I sipped my coffee and thought about my dream. What can it mean? I wondered. It was unlike anything I’d ever experienced before. I’d seen three angels, as bright as the sun on the snow outside. Three young, beautiful angels, gliding down on beams of light from a cloudless sky—the picture of peace.
“Their eyes were closed,” I said later on the phone to my mother, “and they were smiling. Their skin shone like copper.” They seemed to be coming to earth for a mission, but I didn’t understand what it was. “Pray on it, honey,” Mama said. “What you saw was given to you for a reason.”
We talked for a while longer, and when we got off the phone, I followed her advice and prayed for an understanding of my dream. The wonderment of it stayed with me. I could still see those three young faces in the glowing light.
I had lunch that afternoon with my friend Mildred McCarter, who had for a long time been like a second mother to me. “My spiritual encourager,” I called her.
“The angels’ faces were so peaceful,” I told Mildred, describing my feeling that they seemed to be on a mission of some kind. Mildred clasped my hand. “This could be a revelation of joy, Glendora,” she said. “For you or for someone you love. God knows the right time to reveal the meaning to you. Just be patient.”
That evening the house was quiet. Stephanie was at work, and Tony and his friend Herbie had gone to pick up Shanna for a movie. After the conversations with Mama and Mildred, I prayed more than ever for understanding. Around 9:30 P.M. the telephone rang, but there was no response when I answered. I waited a moment, and then I heard Herbie’s shaking voice. “Be calm . . . ” he began. “I have something to tell you.” I took a deep breath. “We had an accident in the car,” Herbie said. “Shanna and I are okay, but Tony’s in the hospital.”
My heart was racing. I rattled question after question. Herbie could barely get a word in. Finally, he blurted out, “Tony’s hurt, but they told us he’s okay.”
“Where is he?”
“The ambulance took him to Community Hospital on South High Street. Shanna and I are waiting for her grandmother to pick us up. We’ll meet you there.”
I hung up the phone. How badly was my son hurt? Was Herbie keeping something from me? I immediately left for the hospital. It was about 10 miles from our house, and I prayed every bit of the way there.
As soon as I ran into the emergency room I knew the groans I heard were Tony’s. I hurried to his bed. His eyes were closed, but tears rolled down his face. “I’m here,” I said, and he reached out for me. “Praise God,” I said. My son was alive.
There was a wound above Tony’s right eye, and he held a bloody towel over his mouth. He wasn’t able to talk. After a moment, he removed the towel to show me his injury. The sight took my breath away. Tony had braces on his teeth, and his lip was horribly cut and wrapped around the upper braces. I started crying, and I had to look away for a moment. Then I looked at my son again. “You’re going to be all right,” I whispered in his ear.
Tony opened his eyes, and moved his head from side to side. I knew he was afraid. I squeezed his hand tight.
The doctor informed us that Tony’s X rays showed no signs of serious head injuries or broken bones. The doctor said he would cut Tony’s lip from the braces, and then do minor surgery to repair it. “Tony’s lucky to have those braces,” the doctor added. “Without them, he would have lost his teeth.”