I was in Halifax in the winter of 1965, visiting, and I convinced my brother, Bob, to loan me his car to go see our family about 200 miles distant. He had a 1959 Chev Impala S.S. Convertible, white with black top and red leather interior. It was a 283 Automatic and he’d won a few races when he dragged it, down in The States. This was one fine looking machine! I figured that it had enough gas to go. I would worry about getting back once I got to “Good Old Yarmouth”. I left just before dark, lightly dressed, but with the car’s heater on full blast. It would have been warmer had I dressed better or if the rear window in the ragtop would zip closed. When you’re 20 and driving a cool car, however, warm doesn’t count.

It started snowing so heavily around Annapolis Royal that I decided to cut across country to Liverpool and continue on to Yarmouth via the south shore. I didn’t realize I was driving straight into the storm. Soon I could not turn around as the road was unploughed and I was afraid of getting stuck. A little north of Caledonia near Kejimkujik National Park I finally bogged down just shy of the crest of a hill. The snow was falling like a blanket and the visibility was near zero. I didn’t see any houses and I hadn’t seen another vehicle since just south of Annapolis Royal. The only thing to do was to wait for a snowplough.

I was warm enough until I ran out of gas. To save the battery I turned off the lights and radio. I could whip the lights on quickly if a vehicle approached—but I would be a sitting duck if the battery were dead. No vehicle came.

I got cold and then I got colder. I banged my feet on the floor and rubbed my arms and legs with hands that were getting numb. I sang and I prayed and probably promised The Lord that I would never sin again if He would save me. The hours drug by as the wind whistled snow into the open back window. I don’t think I would have made it much longer, as I believe I was starting to hallucinate, and feel warmer. Finally the dawn arrived and I thought I could see the outline of a building up on the crest of the hill. I waited a while to see if there was any light or other sign of life. As the sky lightened, I saw smoke coming from the chimney of the unpainted gray house. I blew the horn but I couldn’t get the car door open. I climbed through the window and fell into the snowdrift.

I could now see the window curtain close and the porch door open. They were coming for me! I tried to stand up but kept falling down.

The old couple rushed to me, getting dressed as they ran, and half carried, half dragged me to their house. It was set kitty-corner to the road and a big set of steps went right up at the corner. They got me inside and sat me on a chair over a big furnace register in the kitchen.

The man made coffee as his wife rubbed my hands and feet, wrapped me in blankets and fussed over me like a grandmother. Before long I felt better and after eating breakfast, I went into their parlour and passed out on their Chesterfield.

When I awoke it was dark again but there was a kerosene lamp on and another in the kitchen. The room was warm. I soon realized that the whole day had passed!

The couple who were at least in their 60’s had dug out the car, put some gas in it, and had moved it into their driveway after the plough had gone through. They offered me to stay the night, but the storm was over and I was anxious to get to Yarmouth.

I asked what I owed them and, thank God, they were insulted that I would ask! —as I only had a couple dollars in my wallet.

I went on to Yarmouth without further incident and returned to Halifax via the South Shore a couple of days later, with gas money from my mother.

About 2 years later, on a summer afternoon, I decided to drive through highway #10 to stop in and thank these good Samaritans. I hadn’t been alert enough to remember their names or get their address the day they, without a doubt, saved my life. I had no trouble finding the spot where I had bogged down. I looked up the hill and across the road but the little gray house was gone!

I pulled over, stopped the car and got out. When I closed the car door a man picking blueberries in the field across the road stood up. I wandered over towards him, still looking in disbelief to where the house had been.

"Wasn’t there a house right yonder?” I asked the elderly man.

"Why yes, there was,” he replied as he pulled out his hankerchief to wipe his face. “Right up there, at the top of that ridge. An old couple lived there. That house got tore down about 25 years ago.

You can just see the foundation through the bushes.

It sat sort of corner to the road. See the high part there at the corner? A big set of steps went right up there to the front door---but how would you know about that house?”

A chill ran up my spine and I felt the hairs on my neck stand up.

“I don’t know”, I told him, my head swimming. “It just seems like there should be a house there.”

“I expect it don’t matter much where you put a house”, he said, as he went back to picking blueberries, “just as long as it’s there when you need it, eh?”

When I moved back to Nova Scotia from Ontario in 1975 I went through that road again. It was now over 10 years since that snowy winter night. This time I had forgotten the turns and hills and couldn’t even find the spot.

I have been left to wonder what really happened that night. I’m still not dead, so someone saved my life. I don’t know who, or how, or why, but I know I was sove, so to them and to the divine Providence that put them there, I am eternally grateful.

 

More Stories...