My Granny was right when she named my aunt, as
Opal is a gem full of fire!
Sadly the rare blood disease she was fighting took her from this earthly plane on 9/2 (11). But she lives on in my heart and through her book, Bread for Life.
I recently reconnected to my aunt after losing touch, as we sometimes do in life with our loved ones, for most of my grown life. She was not one for social media, but fortunately, her sister, Ada, is. I was able to catch up with both of my wonderful aunts last year. I can’t tell one what a hidden treasure it has been for me to reminisce over my fathers’ family with my two aunts!
My Aunt Opal became our family’s first ordained Minister, although she preferred the term Parson. It was a joy to speak to her about Christianity and knowing that not only did she have the ‘book’ knowledge, but she also had the Proffer ‘gift’ as many in our family have answered the calling of the Lord. And it was, appropriately, with this aunt that I had my first experience with our Creator.
I was with her when I met Him.
I was 11 (funny how those numbers work!) and it was a sunny afternoon, we had just been to the San Diego Zoo. My Aunt Opal was visiting from Missouri and Dad wanted to show her a good time. My step-Mother, Helen, was driving the 75 mph speed limit on the 405 freeway when all of a sudden the ‘suicide door‘ on the new 1966 Lincoln opened and sucked me out into Saturday afternoon traffic. I remember seeing the huge towers of San Onofre Nuclear Power plant while an inner voice was telling me to stay away from the ocean. You see I felt like and saw myself flying like Superman, it was my aunt that later told me she saw me tumbling. The next thing I remembered was looking at the undercarriage of a car. As I lay there I saw that Lincoln, some distance away still driving off. I got up in a panic, thinking that they were going to leave me. As I started to run, I was grabbed by strong arms and pulled into his body, at the same time I felt a ‘swoosh’ by me … It was a car in the fast lane that this stranger had just saved me from. As I saw the brake lights on the Lincoln come on I looked at the man and saw he wore a clerical collar and sitting in the car was two nuns.
As my father came running towards me I realized the distance I had traveled, approximately two football fields and I could see the traffic backing up on both sides of the freeway. He grabbed me from the parson while my step-mother backed up the vehicle. We got off on the first exit so we could get directions to the nearest hospital. As we got back on the freeway, we were immediately pulled over by the police. Helen started to tell them what had happened when the officer asked my Father to take me to the backseat of his vehicle and told Helen to follow him to the hospital.
I remember the lights flashing and the siren screaming as it seemed a dream. It felt good to be in my Dad’s arms, I knew I was safe. But when he told the officer to hurry and that he could feel bones sticking out of me, I took a physical inventory and started to panic. Just days before our trip our Mother had gotten matching outfits for me and my sisters. The last thing she said to us as we left on our weekend with Dad was to not get our new clothes messed up. Well, I certainly did! My new outfit was in shreds. But just then I was distracted by the officer’s speed as we were going well over 100 MPH!
When we got to the hospital, my Dad had to also be admitted as that was his first stroke. All of the doctors and nurses were amazed by me and the fact that I did not have one broken bone, although my clothes showed a different story. The holes showed that I had several punctures with bloodstains around them. The only blood I had was from my left foot, ironically the same as my current ‘drop foot’ … I had lost my shoe in the fall.
I believe my life was spared that day because of the power of prayer and my wonderful pray warrior aunt!
Oh and the Priest and Nuns … My Dad said it was an old man in a tweed suit and his wife.
Rest in Peace, my sweet Aunt!