Ruthe's Secret Roses
my 1st novel
An Angel in Coveralls?by Connie Lepovsky
My friend Midge and I were heading for Virginia to visit her husband's grave site at Arlington National Cemetery, the first stop on a four-day trip we had suddenly decided to make the day before. Since her night vision is poor, I was driving her little car which we lovingly dubbed "The Peashooter".
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We had confirmed reservations at a motel on the Maryland/Virginia border, so we wouldn't have far to go the next morning. What we didn't know was that this particular motel was located in a very desolate, out of the way area.
Following the directions printed in the motel chain's book, we got onto a highway going south, looking for exit 4. The first exit we saw was 7, then came 8 and 9. Realizing we must have headed the wrong way, we managed to get turned around. We came to exit 8, then 7 and then 42 and 41. It was almost 11 o'clock that cold November night. The Peashooter was down to only 1/4 of a tank of gas. Since a full tank is only ten gallons, this meant we had less than three gallons left! We had not seen a gas station for miles either.
As we approached the next exit, we saw a sign for food and fuel, so we pulled off the highway there. At the bottom of the exit ramp we spotted a brightly lit gas station less than a block away.
Since it was a self-service station, I pumped the gas while Midge got out to stretch her legs and study the motel book's directions yet again. There was a white car, something like a Bronco, parked some distance away alongside the fence at the edge of the gas station's parking lot. A lady came toward us from that direction.
At first I thought she worked there, as she was wearing white coveralls and work boots. Then I realized how immaculately clean she was and concluded she was just another customer.
She asked, in the sweetest voice either of us had ever heard, "Do you need help finding some place?"
We both started talking at once, explaining our plight. Midge showed the book to the lady, who immediately said, "Oh, that's easy. I've been past there many times and can tell you just how to get there."
And so she did. Her directions were very clear and simple, and it turned out we were just a few blocks away. Without her help, however, we would never have found the place.
Just at that moment, the gas pump clicked off since the tank was full, and, simultaneously all the lights outside the gas station went off and then came back on. I turned to hang up the gas nozzle and, when I turned back only a couple of seconds later, the lady was gone! So was her car.
Midge still had her nose buried in the motel book. I nudged her, saying, "Hey, where did she go?" We both looked at each other, then ran to the edge of the road. Although we could see quite a distance both ways, there were no tail lights anywhere in sight. Neither of us had seen or heard her footsteps walking away nor had we heard her car start up.
Shaking my head in astonishment, I went inside to pay for our gas. "Are you getting ready to close?" I asked the attendant.
"We would have closed ten minutes ago if that other lady hadn't come in," he replied.
As we got back in the car, we began to realize the enormity of our situation. If that gas station had been closed, who knows what might have happened. It is quite amazing how the Lord looks out for us even when we are oblivious to our own peril.
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