When she met her dad, he had almost finished, but the wagon was full--225 bails. "We decided to take the wagon back to the barn to unload," Joanie says. "But as I drove the tractor, the bailer, and the full wagon of hay towards the barn I started to get nervous. It was a huge load, and I didn't want to damage anything. I asked my father to take over."
Joanie and her father exchanged places, and she went around the front of the tractor to say "hello" to her father's girlfriend, Ann, who was standing near the fence. "I started to trip, and Ann tried to grasp me, but she lost her grip," Joanie says. "I grabbed the corner of the wagon, and the next thing I knew, I was under it!"
Ann screamed, but Joanie's father couldn't stop in time. Before anyone could react, the wagon---all one-and-a-half tons---rolled over Joanie.
Joanie lay on the hard ground, as her father bent down to touch and reassure her. "Keep calm, honey, Ann went to call the doctor..." He sounded like he was crying.
She was bleeding from the mouth, and could hardly breathe. What parts of her had the wheels crushed? "God," she whispered, "please don't let me be disabled..." Weakly, she turned her head to the side, and saw her sister running across the fields toward her, in bare feet. Right behind was the doctor. He must have gotten here very fast. Or perhaps she had been lying here for a long time... Ann was running too. And suddenly there was another woman, standing right next to Joanie. Joanie looked up. She must be hallucinating, probably dying. For the woman was her mother, who had died almost twenty years ago, when Joanie was just a small girl.
"Everything is going to be fine, Joanie," her mother said quietly. "You will not be hurt."
Oh, Mama, I do hurt...please don't go away... But now the doctor was here, and people were beginning to reach toward her, to move her out from under the wagon. The vision of her mother was gone.
Despite the exhausting day, Joanie's father went to church that evening, and lit a candle in thanksgiving. For although the massive wagon had rolled over her chest, his daughter had no broken bones, no damaged organs, no injuries at all. The doctor could not believe it. But to this day, Joanie knows that she was given a gift from heaven.
"We are not alone in this world," she says. "Angels and saints are out there to help us, and all we have to do is ask."