Rain pelted the car in torrents as we drove on and on. At each motel, in the little town of Long Beach, Washington the sign was the same: No Vacancy.
My Dad had reservations for a campground, but how would he pitch a tent and give his wife and two young daughters any shelter in this unrelenting storm? Yet where else could he go?
Finally he pulled into the campground and talked to the owner.
“You and your family can’t sleep out in this weather!” she said. “I have an old dining hall that isn’t used anymore except to store hay. You must sleep in there tonight,” she urged.
We hoped there were no mice among the bales of hay. Perhaps our hostess had cats, for we heard no signs of any mice. We slept peacefully, snug and dry, my Dad grateful to have shelter for his family.
Years later, in a different part of the state, on a lonely stretch of highway in the Columbia River Gorge, my Dad was once again driving on and on. This time he was making a long commute home from work. On the side of the road he saw a car pulled over, with a flat tire. In it were two women. Always the Good Samaritan, he wanted to stop, but the fact that there were two co-workers with him made him hesitate. Would they mind the delay?
“I hope you don’t mind if we stop to help these ladies,” Dad said to his companions. “We’re miles from the nearest phone. If we don’t help them, I don’t know when someone will.”
“Would you like me to change your tire?” he asked as he came up to the ladies’ car. They were very grateful.
“Now I remember who you are!” exclaimed one of the women when he had finished. He looked at her more closely and then he, too, remembered. He remembered one dark night when he needed shelter for his family and she had given him a hand. And now, providentially, he had come along at the right time and place to give her a hand on a lonely road.