I feel blessed. I know that is some families’ siblings don’t get along or more so, show physical attachment to one another. Our children, even to this day as adults, hug each other in their greetings and departures with a short “love you” as they embrace. It creates a warm glow inside my chest as it swells with pride and thankfulness. And it brought to mind an incident of a rescue that happened between Hunter and Sierra several years ago when they both were in High School. I call it the Big Brother Rescue.
For a couple of summers, Sierra was one of the lifeguards at the Copeland swimming pool located in town. Since the indoor pool was inside the elementary school, the weather outside didn’t play that much of a factor unless there was severe lightening in the immediate area.
On this particular day, an afternoon thunderstorm had rolled into our lives. The sky turned murky and threatening with the promise that it would open up at any minute with a downpour and possibly hail stones. But strangely enough, no real lightening to mention.
I began supper with basically most of the lights on where I was working since it was so dark already due to the building storm. I glanced at the clock on the kitchen wall. 5:30pm.
“Okay, that’s good. Sierra will help close up the pool at 6:00pm and then be home in time to eat with the rest of the family for the evening meal.” I said out loud talking to myself as I pulled some pots and pans out of the cabinets to begin my preparation.
In a few minutes, I heard the light patter of raindrops hitting the windows. At first they were sporadic but quickly intensified into a regular pattern of the music of moisture falling from the heavens. At that same moment, the recognizable sound of a tractor’s diesel engine shifting down gears bellowed through the rainstorm. Two separate tractors, one behind the other, hustled into the yard and made a beeline for the big round top shed out beyond the closest outbuildings.
“Okay dokey. Hunter and Bear are home”. I thought as I again glanced up at the nearby clock. 6:05pm. I continued the conversation with no one but myself –“Sierra should be home in about ten minutes. B.J. is gone for the evening, so that just leaves her to worry about.”
As was the custom with the men in our family, if it rained in southwest Kansas, they would stand out in the big shed and listen to the sound of the raindrops pelting the metal building. A sound they rarely heard. It was some sort of ritual I didn’t really get.
In a moment, the clouds opened up with a deluge of water coming down in sheets. I could barely see any of the farm buildings from my vantage point in the house. I went repeatedly to the south living room window that faced the direction of town, watching and waiting for headlights to be seen coming up the blacktop. Nothing.
“Where is that girl?!” This mother hen started clucking audibly with hands on her hips. I turned around and looked again at the clock. 6:35pm. I walked over to the phone on the wall and dialed her cell phone number. It went straight to her voice mail. I left a brief message and then hung up. Next phone call was to the swimming pool. It rang and rang with no answer.
“Something is wrong. She should be home by now. She better not have went to Kat’s or Sammie’s (her best friends) house without first checking in with me!” Now I’m getting stressed and not a happy camper by the moment.
I stepped over to the intercom that links the house to the big shed.
“Barry? Hunter? Can you guys hear me?” No response. Great.
I knew that inside that huge steel structure the guys would have to be yelling at each other to be heard over the raging weather outside, so there was no way they could hear my call.
“Ah geez!” I complained as I slipped on my muck boots, slicker, and grabbed an umbrella I kept in the back porch closet.
I sloshed out past the other buildings to see Bear and Hunter, sure enough, standing in the gap between the large doors that were partially open, staring up at the sky and enjoying the outburst. They both get a puzzled look on their faces as I approach. They know from my track record that I do not join them typically in this ceremonial adoration of water while in a large metal lightening magnet.
“What ‘cha doing Mom?” Hunter was the first to greet me loudly at the top of his lungs.
I have to yell also now to be heard over the deafening sound of pounding rain on the roof and sides of the Morton building.
“Something is wrong! I can feel it! Sierra should have been home by now!” My voice cracks with concern and worry as I strain to be heard.
“Did you try her cell phone?” Bear hollers back at me.
“YES! It went straight to her voice mail!”
“What about trying the pool . . .”
“YES! . . .” I interrupt his meaningless questions as I am running out of patience here. “No one answered! Go find her!” I point out into the storm.
“Let’s go Dad.” Hunter signals with a quick nod of his head to the nearest pickup parked a few feet away.
At the stop sign about a half-mile from the farm, they could not see any oncoming traffic. So they pull away and continue heading south on the blacktop, barely able to make out the sides of the unmarked gray colored road.
“Maybe mom is overreacting. “ Hunter begins, “Sierra may have had to stay late or . . . WAIT! WHAT’S THAT?!” He leans forward closer to the front windshield trying to see between wiper blades and the layers of rain.
In the flooded ditch.
On the opposite northbound side of the road.
It’s Sierra’s car.
Before Bear could even get the truck in park, Hunter bails out leaving his door wide open, runs around the front of the grill and into the foot of water surrounding his sister’s vehicle.
He jerks open the driver’s side door to see Sierra sitting there with water seeping into the floorboard. She is hysterically crying with fear. She starts screaming that she ran off the road ‘cause she couldn’t see the edge of the highway and she was stuck and couldn’t get the car out, plus now the engine died . . .
“NOT NOW! It’s okay! I’ve got you!” He reassures her as he scoops her entire body up into his arms fireman-style with one motion. He kicks her driver door shut with a free foot and carries her into the waiting cab of her father’s truck. She collapses into Bear’s warm and comforting embrace sobbing with relief. Hunter gently strokes her arm and back letting her know that she is safe now.
I am so glad that the LORD gives us those promptings that we need to be sensitive too. But everything worked out for the good.
Supper was just a little later than I planned that evening.