Angels... Once in a While

In September 1960, I woke up one morning with six hungry babies and just
75 cents in my pocket. Their father was gone.The boys ranged from three
months to seven years; their sister was two.  Their Dad had never been much more
than a presence they feared. Whenever they heard his tires crunch on the
gravel driveway they would scramble to hide under their beds. He did
manage to leave 15 dollars a week to buy groceries. Now that he had decided to
leave, there would be no more beatings, but no food either. If there was a
welfare system in effect in southern Indiana at that time, I certainly
knew nothing about it.  I scrubbed the kids until they looked brand new and
then put on my best homemade dress. I loaded them into the rusty old 51 Chevy
and drove off to find a job. The seven of us went to every factory, store
and restaurant in our small town. No luck.
The kids stayed, crammed into the car and tried to be quiet while I tried
to convince whomever would listen that I was willing to learn or do
I had to have a job. Still no luck.  The last place we went to, just a few
miles out of town, was an old Root Beer Barrel drive-in that had been
converted to a truck stop. It was called the Big Wheel. An old lady named
Granny owned the place and she peeked out of the window from time to time
at all those kids. She needed someone on the graveyard shift, 11 at night
until seven in the morning. She paid 65 cents an hour and I could start that
I raced home and called the teenager down the street that baby-sat for
people. I bargained with her to come and sleep on my sofa for a dollar a
night. She could arrive with her pajamas on and the kids would already be
asleep. This seemed like a good arrangement to her, so we made a deal.
that night when and the little ones and I knelt to say our prayers we all
thanked God for finding Mommy a job. And so I started at the Big Wheel. When I got
home in the mornings I woke the baby-sitter up and sent her home with one
dollar of my tip money-fully half of what I averaged every night. As the
weeks went by, heating bills added another strain to my meager wage. The
tires on the old Chevy had the consistency of penny balloons and began to
leak. I had to fill them with air on the way to work and again every
morning before I could go home.
One bleak fall morning, I dragged myself to the car to go home and found
four tires in the back seat.  New tires! There was no note, no nothing,
just those beautiful brand new tires. Had angels taken up residence in Indiana?
I wondered. I made a deal with the owner of the local service station. In
exchange for his mounting the new tires, I would clean up his office.
I remember it took me a lot longer to scrub his floor than it did for him to
do the tires.
I was now working six nights instead of five and it still wasn't enough.
Christmas was coming and I knew there would be no money for toys for the
kids. I found a can of red paint and started repairing and painting some
old toys. Then I hid them in the basement so there would be something for
Santa to deliver on Christmas morning.  Clothes were a worry too. I was sewing
patches on top of patches on the boys pantsand soon they would be too far gone to repair.
On Christmas Eve the usual customers were drinking coffee in the Big
Wheel. These were the truckers, Les, Frank, and Jim,  and a state trooper named Joe.
A few musicians were hanging around after a gig at the Legion and were
dropping nickels in the pinball machine. The regulars all just sat around
and talked through the wee hours of the morning and then left to get home
before the sun came up.
When it was time for me to go home at seven o'clock on Christmas morning I
hurried to the car. I was hoping the kids wouldn't wake up before I managed
to get home and get the presents from the basement and place them under
the tree. (We had cut down a small cedar tree by the side of the road down
by the dump.) It was still dark and I couldn't see much, but there appeared
to be some dark shadows in the car-or was that just a trick of the night?
Something certainly looked different, but it was hard to tell what.
When I reached the car I peered warily into one of the side windows. Then
my jaw dropped in amazement. My old battered Chevy was full-full to the top -
with boxes of all shapes and sizes. I quickly opened the driver's sidedoor,
scrambled inside and kneeled in the front facing the back seat.
Reaching back, I pulled off the lid of the top box. Inside was a whole case of
little blue jeans, sizes 2-10! I looked inside another box: It was full of
shirts to go with the jeans. Then I peeked inside some of the other boxes:
There were candy and nuts and bananas and bags of groceries. There was an
enormous ham for baking, and canned vegetables and potatoes. There was
pudding and Jell-O and cookies, pie filling and flour. There was a whole
bag of laundry supplies and cleaning items. And there were five toy trucks
and one beautiful little doll.
As I drove back through empty streets as the sun slowly rose on the most
amazing Christmas Day of my life, I was sobbing with gratitude. And I will
never forget the joy on the faces of my little ones that precious morning.
Yes, there were angels in Indiana that long-ago December. And they all
hung out at the Big Wheel truck stop.
I BELIEVE IN ANGELS! They live next door, around the corner, work in your
office, patrol your neighborhood, call you at midnight to hear you laugh
and listen to you cry, teach your children, and you see them everyday
without even knowing it!. Send this to someone you think is an angel!
Author Unknown

Peace on Earth, can it be
Years from now, perhaps we'll see
See the day of glory
See the day, when men of good will
Live in peace, live in peace again

Peace on Earth, can it be

Every child must be made aware
Every child must be made to care
Care enough for his fellow man
To give all the love that he can

I pray my wish will come true
For my child and your child too
He'll see the day of glory
See the day when men of good will
Live in peace, live in peace again

Peace on Earth, can it be
Can it be