This story is not mine. But I’m going to tell it anyway. And our story begins at night.

Nighttime in the countryside can feel eerie to city folk. They aren’t prepared for that level of quiet. Many city dwellers have never seen so many stars at once. It makes them jumpy.

Don was feeling jumpy. This was the wrong place to have his car break down. He had hours left to travel, and this was the Georgia boonies. He was about to have a panic attack here in the middle of nowhere. He tried calling a tow truck, but he had no cell reception.

He slammed the phone onto the dashboard and used colorful expletives often heard in barroom brawls and major motion pictures.

He was exhausted, hungry, and scared. What he needed was rest. So he crawled into his backseat and curled into a ball. He had never noticed how comfortable the backseat of his Nissan was. It actually wasn’t bad provided you didn’t mind having seat-belt receptacles jammed into your vital organs.

He awoke the next morning to lumbar muscles that were sore, and a neck that was kinked with the charley horse from hell. His stomach was rumbling like a bowling alley.

He stepped out of the car, caffeine deprived, headachy, famished, and disoriented. He checked his phone. Dead battery. He’d tried recharging it, but it wouldn’t work unless the car was cranked.

This just kept getting better and better.

Don looked in all directions, but there were no vehicles on this dirt highway. So he started walking. Before long he was covered in sweat, foot blisters, and he was half lost.

Finally, in the distance, salvation cometh. He saw a camper. It sat perched on a sprawl of acreage with cattle grazing near it. In the yard were cheap lawn ornaments, gaze balls, and a satellite dish.

A saintly old woman answered the door. She was slight and smelled like Virginia Slims. He explained everything to her and she reacted the way all grannies would. She covered her mouth and said “You poor thing.”

She invited him in. She doted on him. She fed him a huge sandwich, cookies, and a heavenly host of other delicacies that all elderly women all learn how to prepare in Elderly Woman Cooking Class 101.

The lady didn’t have any coffee, but she did have Swiss Miss hot cocoa. She served it to Don in a decorative Christmas mug even though it was not Christmastime.

The trailer was crowded with old-lady junk. And she had a lap dog named Pete who was friendly, and used a litterbox just like a cat. A TV was playing 24-hour news in the background. There were porcelain figurines everywhere.

When Don finished using her phone, he was about to leave, but he could hardly keep his eyes open. He fell asleep on her sofa.

When he awoke several hours later he was covered in a flannel blanket. She refilled his mug with more cocoa.

“You sure live a long way from civilization,” Don said, sipping his Swiss Miss with freeze dried marshmallow pellets that were the same shape and flavor of extra-strength Tylenol.

“Oh, I live here so I can watch my girls,” the woman said.

“Your what?”

“My girls.” She gestured out the window to the cows. “Wanna meet my girls?”

Don saw a congregation of heifers loping up the hill toward the camper. He blinked a few times to make sure this was really happening. Because for a moment Don wondered if he were dying and this was a convincing hallucination that accompanied clinical brain death.

“Sure,” he said.

The lady led him outside. She had named the cows. She stroked them and spoke to them like toddlers. Dozens surrounded the trailer, groaning in low moans, waiting their turn for affection.

Once Don got over the weirdness, he petted a few of them. And he was really beginning to fall in love with this old lady’s spirit.

The woman offered to give Don a lift to meet the wrecker. For the trip she insisted that he bring along some sandwiches and his mug of hot chocolate.

On the ride she told him all about herself. About how she’d beaten cancer, and about how she’d lost a husband to the same disease. She told him about how difficult life can be, and about how the most beautiful parts are sometimes the worst ones. Mostly, Don just nodded and listened. Sipping.

The woman dropped him at his car and offered to wait with him, but Don said he’d be fine. He thanked her for her kindness, waved goodbye, and watched her tail lights disappear into a cloud of pink dust.

He spent the rest of the day getting his car fixed, dealing with mechanics, and draining his bank account. He was about to leave for the interstate when he noticed something sitting in his console. The coffee mug.

He decided to return the cup to the woman since it was the polite thing to do. He aimed his car toward the desolate dirt highway and tried to retrace the path back to her place.

He drove through hours of backroads, acres of peanut fields, and miles of fescue pasture. But he found no trailer. No cows. No satellite dish. And no old woman.

Don was convinced he was losing his mind. He still isn’t sure he hasn’t.

Either way, he still has that mug. He still uses it, even after all these years. He describes it as a nondescript coffee cup. Hand thrown pottery. Red and white.

With an angel painted on the outside.

32 comments

  1. Sarah Hunt - October 22, 2020 7:18 am

    She sounds like an angel that showed up when needed Sean. They come in all forms. What a lovely story . I love your stories and they always make me laugh or often cry sometimes both. I know this I always want to read them and look forward to the rest of the story. Good day. Kudos to Paul Harvey. And if you dont like Paul Harvey tell me why. Keep telling your stories please always a bright spot whether I laugh cry or both. Thank you and never surrender. Sincerely, Sarah

    Reply
  2. Tawanah Fagan Bagwell - October 22, 2020 8:55 am

    I love that story!

    Reply
  3. Becca - October 22, 2020 9:41 am

    I absolutely KNOW there are Angels here on earth to help us when we need them! Some wear wings and some have wings underneath their clothes! Either way, God sends his Angels because God loves us all! Thank you!

    Reply
  4. Nan - October 22, 2020 9:50 am

    Sometimes we just never know…

    Reply
  5. Teresa Blankenship - October 22, 2020 10:52 am

    So needed to see this this morning ❤️

    Reply
  6. Ann - October 22, 2020 11:56 am

    Truly…. those angels DO exist❤️

    Reply
  7. Steve - October 22, 2020 12:03 pm

    Treat everyone as if they have been sent to you by God, and you can’t go wrong…..

    Reply
  8. Steve - October 22, 2020 12:09 pm

    Live as if everyone you meet has been sent to you by God, and you will never go wrong…..

    Reply
  9. Betty F. - October 22, 2020 12:12 pm

    Nice, Steve.

    Reply
  10. Jan - October 22, 2020 12:30 pm

    Love this story. Gave me goosebumps. When you start a story on a back road with no one and nothing around, I know it is going to be great! Thanks, Sean!

    Reply
  11. Jackie SIMM - October 22, 2020 12:49 pm

    I’m smiling. Angels are truly blessings that help us through our daily lives. Beautiful story.

    Reply
  12. Jo Ann - October 22, 2020 1:12 pm

    All I can say is what everybody else has posted-I loved this story & all the other ones you’ve told us about unexpected miracles. Thank you, Sean. You bring a ray of sunshine into my life, & to others, also.

    Reply
  13. Kathy - October 22, 2020 1:25 pm

    All I can do is smile and nod.

    Reply
  14. Mary McCarthy - October 22, 2020 1:45 pm

    HE is always with us. Thank you for the reminder.

    Reply
  15. Eddy - October 22, 2020 2:21 pm

    He couldn’t charge the phone in the car unless it was cranked. I love it! Yankees don’t know what “crank”the car means. If anything they think back to when the manual hand crank was in front of the engine. It was a constant misunderstanding when I lived in New Jersey and worked at a gas station having grown up in Mississippi. I enjoyed your story as always!

    Reply
  16. Angie Metcalf - October 22, 2020 3:08 pm

    Excellent story—yours or someone else’s!

    Reply
  17. Howard - October 22, 2020 3:12 pm

    Nice story.

    Reply
  18. carol0goodson - October 22, 2020 3:53 pm

    What a beautiful story! Thank you so much for sharing it!

    Reply
  19. Linda Moon - October 22, 2020 4:02 pm

    My family says I must have flunked that Cooking Class, so I’m sure glad Don found a cooking woman. The mug proves that his mind was not really lost…just misplaced. My family’s been misplaced on lots of adventures, but never lost. My gingerhead’s adventuring on a trail in the boonies, so I hope if he gets misplaced he finds something seen or unseen that will bring him back home. There’s another novel in this story, Sean!

    Reply
  20. Susan Kennedy - October 22, 2020 5:17 pm

    I’ve got glory bumps!! And tears!! Awesome story!!

    Reply
  21. MAM - October 22, 2020 7:04 pm

    Angels are there when you need them!

    Reply
  22. Celia Harbin - October 22, 2020 9:32 pm

    Hallelujah, that was a wonderful story! God is so good and I believe things like this happen all the time. Sometimes we get an affirmation of the event to keep us aware of His presence and sometimes we just know by faith.
    Thank you for the story. It is full of hope and uplifts the weary soul.
    God bless you.

    Reply
  23. Nell Thomas - October 22, 2020 9:55 pm

    Great story. Thanks for passing it on.

    Reply
  24. Robert M Brenner - October 22, 2020 11:24 pm

    Great story! ❤️😇

    Reply
  25. Bonnie Vines - October 22, 2020 11:46 pm

    I love it, so sweet. Wonderful story. Please continue writing your stories. They make our days sooo much more meaningful

    Reply
  26. Patrick Williams - October 23, 2020 2:34 am

    Finally an apt description!!
    …..freeze dried marshmallow pellets that were the same shape and flavor of extra-strength Tylenol.

    Reply
  27. Jane - October 23, 2020 3:23 am

    Perfect

    Reply
  28. Nancy M - October 23, 2020 5:17 am

    I loved this!
    Where can I sign up for Elderly Woman Cooking Class? I need some fresh ideas, it’s been several years since I’ve cooked as much as I have this last 7 months! No nouvelle cuisine though.

    Reply
  29. Hazel Barber - October 24, 2020 6:23 am

    Angels walk among us! Thanks for another great one!!

    Reply
  30. Chasity Davis Ritter - October 25, 2020 9:40 pm

    I really like this one. Leaky eyes as always. I think my allergies must be getting worse!!

    Reply
  31. Terrie Streed - November 20, 2020 2:29 pm

    My husband had a very similar experience many years ago!!

    Reply
  32. Dawn Bratcher - November 20, 2020 6:53 pm

    Terrie, you have got to tell Vic’s experience!

    Reply

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