I had the pleasure of talking to my dear friend the Melted Crayon Hoarder (MCH) last night and we shared resent events of our lives over the phone. Then she said to me “Do you ever feel like your Guardian Angel is on a smoke break?”
I laughed for the first time in a very long time. It’s true, sometimes it feels like your back up is on a coffee break.
I grew up believing in Angels, particularly Guardian Angels. Being raised in the Roman Catholic Church helped make the Angel concept normal. My Grandfather told me “Every single kid would be dead by the age of 5 if it wasn’t for their Guardian Angel.” That also is true. At least it is for me. I would be dead a 100 times over if mine didn’t put in all that over time.
When I was 4, my aunt in her infinite wisdom at the age of 10, thought it would be a swell idea if we took Grandpa’s boat out for a ride in the middle of Island Lake up near Athabasca. We both had the opportunity to hold the throttle while grandpa “let us” drive the boat. She figured she knew enough to take me out without an adult. After all, she was 10 and her friend who was a boy and my babysitter was going with us.
I remember it was after dinner, grandma was cleaning up and the three of us ventured down to the water to kill time before campfire time. Summer time in Northern Alberta means endless sunsets. 11:30 before it gets dark, so there was lots of time left before dark.
I could hear my grandfather’s words “never go near the water without a life jacket.” My 4 year old me knew well enough to pull out the musty smelling life jacket from the boat house and put it on. My partners in crime were not as wise. We climbed into the boat and decided to head for the island in the middle of the lake. I had never been there before and told my aunt it is NOT a good idea. I was shot down by both of the older and wiser children in the boat. Off we went.
We made it three quarters of the way to the island when the engine either stalled or ran out of gas. There we were, a drift on the lake the summer of ’72, without cellphones. As luck would have it, our boat was beginning to take on water. I began to bail with the soup can that grandpa tied to the boat. For some reason there wasn’t a paddle in the boat. So the older two worked in tandem trying to paddle with their arms back to shore. I was scared but was calling grandpa in my head to come. Obviously my Guardian Angel went to tell grandpa I needed to be rescued because I saw him roaring across the lake in a friends boat. Before I could blink, his big strong arms grabbed me in lifted me into the rescue boat. Not a word was spoken, which is unusual for anyone who knew my grandfather can attest, he was silent. I was was crying into his chest as he held me tight.
That was one of many life risking scenarios I found myself in as a child before the age of 5. I believe Angels saved me that day and all the other times in my life. There is good reason my Angel needs breaks. I am a handful and a half. No one deserves a smoke break more than my Angel, but lucky for me they whisper in the ears of certain friends who always seem to be there for me when I need them. That way I am certain someone always has my back.