Catching Mr. Terrell

One afternoon, during the summer of 2009, I was returning from running errands when I suddenly got the urge to go a different route home. I had my daughter with me and I apologized to her for going the long way, but I explained that I was being led by my intuition. I knew that something important, special, or exciting (maybe all three?) would be happening on this now not so routine drive home.

As I drove along the country roads of my beautiful community I watched carefully because I knew “something” would be happening that I didn’t want to miss – exactly what I didn’t know. Then I noticed what looked like an elderly man kneeling on his front porch, apparently painting the railing. The house was set off of the road, and because I wasn’t really sure what I was seeing, I slowed the car down. Then it hit me, he wasn’t painting the railing, he was hanging onto it! But why was he on his knees? Something wasn’t right.

I parked the car and began walking towards him and as I got closer I could see he was clearly in trouble hanging onto the wrought iron railing for dear life. I began running towards him and was horrified as I watched him drift off the concrete porch and slip down the steps all the while hanging on. It appeared he just couldn’t get his legs to work. His upper body was tumbling down off the stoop and his legs were dragging behind him as he held onto the railing in desperation. The more he slid down the stairs the further away his legs and hands became until he was almost in a horizontal position. He was sliding off of the porch like this in slow motion when I arrived, just in time to catch him before he hit his head on the concrete stairs. I had my arms hooked under his armpits holding his limp weight. With much effort, I propped him up as best I could so that his legs were once again underneath him, although, at this point the dear man was exhausted and wasn’t able to stand or support himself at all. So here we were. He turned his head and looked at me perplexed, and in a shaky voice he asked, “Where did you come from?”.

I was relieved to hear voices at the neighbor’s house because it was difficult to hold his limp weight this way and I knew I couldn’t do it for long. I started calling for help and quickly a woman appeared. This woman was his grand-daughter and she was on her way over, as she did each night, to help him walk the short distance to her house for dinner. This night he forgot to wait for her assistance and that’s why he got into trouble. I was so delighted that I had followed my intuition, the whisperings into my heart, and was able to help this man who I learned was 99 years old! And even more amazing was that his family used to own the land that my home now sits upon! What an honor to have helped the man whose ancestors once farmed our neighborhood and home. What a wonderful way to show my appreciation to a man, who an hour earlier, I knew nothing about.

Our backyard, remnants of Mr. Terrell’s family farm

Our backyard, remnants of Mr. Terrell’s family farm

Months later I noticed in the local newspaper that Mr. Terrell was celebrating his 100th birthday and that his clan of loving relatives and friends were there to celebrate this centennial event. In fact, Mr. Terrell lived to be almost 105, passing just 9 days before. I will be forever grateful, and astonished, that I was clearly led to help this dear man at a time when he needed my strength and support.