Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

From the 50s and 60s to today . . .

Sunday, July 29, 2012

July First Miracle

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.
  1. We hadn't planned. Anything.
  2. 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.
Also tiny.
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.
Grant turned.
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.
We stopped.
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.
Good idea.
We gathered close and prayed.
For help.
For guidance.
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.”
“It is.”
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.


  1. Oh Diane. I am tempted to tell you yet again how much I love visiting you here and your style and your stories . . . but I think I'm skating on the verge of being creepy if I say all that again :). How I love this. It reminds me of the famous Williams Family Labor Day Trips of the mid-80's that my family took. When even planning didn't necessarily inspire smooth sailing into family trip bliss-dom. But gave us some fabulous stories. Thank you for this lovely moment and the smile this morning!

    1. Thank you so much, Amy. You can't know how much your good opinion means to me! I'm so happy when my memories inspire other's memories! Blessings to you!

  2. What a wonderful post :)

    Yes, prayers work!

    I´m happy I just found your blog! New follower :)

    Smooches from Germany and have a blessed Sunday!

    1. Thank you so much for stopping by! It's wonderful to make new friends! Blessings to you as well!

  3. I remember putting a new battery into my motorcycle just before setting out on a trip around the Olympic Penninsula. Made it as far as Stanton Creek, which is between East and West Glacier, MT. The battery gave up the ghost and I had to stop for the night. Camped off the highway and about 50 feet away from the railroad track that night. Battery actually rejuvinated itself the next morning and was able to make it to West Glacier before it died; this time for good. But my friends rode to Kalispell and came back with a new battery; we were up an running again. Although that happened during my rebel years, I still think I uttered a prayer or two.

    1. Yep. Even rebels pray! :) And thank goodness for good friends!

  4. I once stopped along side the road as well. I don't remember why but this nice fella drove up and helped us in 100 degree weather.I think they have people watching farm land so strangers don't come and do something they aren't supposed to.I was very impressed because he went and got his tools and came back. I offered a tip but he refused.I was very impressed.My Mom was with us and she was hot not to mention sick. So she slept through the whole ordeal.Oh ya . It was hot and I had a tire blow out.
    There was a big Daddy truck following close behind us and he swerved almost killing us and I was pulling a trailer. Scary stuff.

    1. It makes you shiver to remember some of your close calls, doesn't it? And it is so heartening to know that there are people out there who will help. Thank you for sharing!

  5. What a great lesson for the kids to see you in prayer rather than in pieces!
    I, too, never knew you had to call ahead for a campground. My hubbie and I made that mistake once going to the coast of Maine for a weekend. I think we finally found a space at about 10pm at night. Thank goodness for patience!

    1. It was a very near thing, though. The pieces, I mean. :)

  6. Thanks for sharing that miracle Diane, that is awesome;)

    1. I'm so glad you enjoyed it, Launna! Blessings you you today!

  7. Diane, You made me smile again! What a great hand you have for turning a phrase.

    Love you to pieces!


    1. You're an angel, Chris! Love you, too!!!


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