We had decided to take our children for a holiday over the long July first weekend.
It had seemed like a good idea at the time.
But we had made a couple of mistakes.
- We hadn't planned. Anything.
- We hadn't made reservations.
Did you know that you need reservations to camp in Alberta over THE long weekend?
Well, you do.
It was getting late on June 30.
We had been through dozens of campgrounds.
All completely filled with people who were better planners than we were.
Or at least had started out on their holiday a bit earlier in the day.
We saw a sign for yet another campground.
Almost hidden in the undergrowth.
Maybe others would have missed it.
We drove in.
Right away, we saw an empty campsite.
Things were looking up.
The site wasn't very big.
Just down the street was a second.
Forgetting the hours we had spent searching, we decided to do a loop and see if there were any better.
We completed the circuit.
A second loop opened off the first.
We decided to give it the once-over.
We had gone only a few dozen feet before we realized that this was not part of the campground.
The road we were on trailed off into the trees, instantly becoming a small path.
We needed to turn around.
Grant nosed the car into the tall grass on an approach to a farmer's field.
There was a thump.
And the steering on the car . . . quit.
We couldn't turn.
Grant got out and inspected.
A large log had been pulled across the approach.
Presumably to stop exactly what we were trying to do.
The car had rolled over it.
And completely destroyed the power steering.
Grant stared at it, shaking his head.
Finally, he moved the log, opened the gate, and drove our car straight out into the field.
It was the only thing we could do.
And looked at each other.
It was seven pm on Friday, June 30.
The beginning the THE long weekend.
A disabled car.
Six hungry kids.
And no options.
We got out.
“Maybe we should say a prayer,” one of the kids said.
We gathered close and prayed.
For some miracle that would instantly replace our ailing car with a new and pristine model.
Then Grant grabbed a basin and started out for the campground.
A few minutes later, he was back.
Basin brimming with cold, clear water.
But what was even more wonderful was the police car following directly behind him.
The kids and I surrounded Grant, peppering him with questions and turning to stare at the car.
Two officers emerged.
As they came closer, I realized that there was only one officer.
The other man was dressed in 'civvies'.
Grant handed me the water and turned to the men.
“This is the car,” he said.
The second man walked over, lifted the hood and bent over the engine.
Grant joined him.
It turned out that this second man was good friends with the officer. He was a mechanic and the owner of the nearby auto wreckers. He had decided to come along with his friend as the officer ran his evening rounds.
The two of them, Grant and the mechanic, began to converse in 'car'.
Finally, they straightened.
“I'll send someone over in the morning to pick it up,” the man said. “We can fix you up. No problem.”
I could have kissed him.
But there was the fact that we were total strangers.
So I shook his hand instead.
True to his word, a tow truck arrived the next morning at 8:00 AM. Took the car and disappeared.
At 3:00, the car was back.
Driving under it's own abilities once more.
Our prayers were truly answered.
We had been granted a miracle.
My daughter looked at me. “The car's fixed?” she asked.
“It is, Sweetie,” I said.
“It's a miracle.”
She looked at me again. “I wonder what that policeman thought when the mechanic appeared beside him after our prayer.”
I smiled. I wonder, too.
I smiled. I wonder, too.