I can just see you rolling your eyes if I said I’d met God on a recent most rainy Sunday.
So try this instead: During that awful weather, I encountered one of God’s angels. I think he saved my life.
Driving north on Greenville Avenue from my Dallas home to Richardson wasn’t a problem, even in the downpour. I was headed to the Eisemann Center to meet friends for a matinee performance of Wiesenthal. The problem was my inability to find the center; I’ve always gotten lost looking for it. So when I spotted a building up ahead with a garage next to it, I figured that was it.
There was a parking space I judged to be just about a block away, so I decided to walk. With my bad leg, I always carry a cane in the car, but with the rain, I was afraid I couldn’t manage it at the same time as an umbrella, which was a necessity. So I stepped outside without it.
Things went south immediately. The car door opened on a berm I had to cross in order to get to the street — an uneven, soft, soggy mass of wet leaves and tangled tree roots. I quickly began to lose my footing. But it seemed more dangerous to turn and go back than to move ahead, so I did.
I finally crossed the street and began to walk, cautiously and unsteadily. The pavement sloped upward. The building that had seemed so close before now looked much farther away. The rain came down harder. A fierce wind blew up and turned my umbrella inside out, then back again.
My legs were shaking; I was lightheaded, but I kept moving slowly toward my elusive goal. I must have walked the length of a city block before realizing that the building I’d focused on was not the Eisemann at all. I turned around carefully and started back downward, fearing every tortured step. And that’s when I realized I’d seen no person and no car during my solitary hike in the rain.
By then I was lurching rather than walking, putting all my effort into just staying upright. Falling was not an option; if I hit the ground, I could be there a long, long time before anyone found me.
As I stood, wavering, a cab came down that sloping street. I realized after it had passed me that I should have tried to hail it. But then — it stopped. Backed up. The door opened. A voice called out, “Get in!” With great difficulty, I did. The driver offered to take me to the Eisemann, but I knew I had to get my car there or, later, I would never be able to find where I’d parked it. So he waited while I got my breath and strength back, then asked if I could drive myself to follow him. I could, and I did. Slowly, he led my way back to my car, and then to where I could ask for assistance at the Eisemann.
Thank you to Alamo Taxi
My rescuer was Ashenafi Woldeyejuj, driver of Alamo Taxi 669. I actually had to fight to make him accept a couple of dollars for being a hero.
The next day, I called the company to make sure he’d receive a commendation for looking, stopping, saving me. And now, whenever I need a cab, I’ll call for him. Sure, I know he’s not God, but just as surely, I know it had to be God who sent him driving down that deserted street at the moment I needed help most. (The next day, my doctor removed something small that had lodged in my ear, further compromising my already unsteady balance.)
So on a recent clear and dry day, I took a drive to locate the Eisemann, once and for all. And, yes: I did manage to see Wiesenthal — a most meaningful preamble to Holocaust Memorial Day.
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