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Taking a Fall: The Miracle of the Mall Angel (December 2018)

In this strangest of all Christmas seasons of my life, things keep getting stranger.  Last Thursday, while preparing cookies and coffee for one of her friends my 104-year-old mother took a fall on the kitchen floor and sustained a blow to the back of her head that required hospitalization. After four days in Enloe hospital, she was transferred to a rehabilitation facility in Chico late in the day.

My brother lives ninety miles away so her immediate needs all fall to me to obtain. The result is that I found myself at the Chico mall to get some of the needful things that she had requested. At this point, I am my mother’s sole point of supply for her needs in rehab.

At the Chico Mall, it is a dark and stormy night. I park the car and, wearing shoes I have not worn before, I stride through the rain and the puddles to the entrance.

I step into the brightly lit mall with new, unstable shoes, whose soles are soaking wet onto a concrete mall floor that seems to have been recently waxed to make all things shinier for Christmas. Of course, three steps in both my shoes begin to hydroplane at the same moment and my 240 pound, 6′ 1″72-year-old body starts down towards the concrete floor and a very bad Christmas.

At that precise moment, a hand grips my right arm firmly and breaks my fall. I still land on the floor in a heap but a quick personal inventory of bones and muscles tells me that although “shaken up on the play” I am still good to go. The person holding my arm who saved me from the floor leans over me.

She’s a young woman with strong-looking arms, a pleasant smile, and is wearing a reindeer hat with a reindeer rack of horns on her head and a few blinking holiday lights in a band around her brow.

“Don’t move. Are your legs all right? Straighten out that leg. Good. Now I am a trained and professional caregiver. I know how to break your fall and I know how to get you up. Let me get you up.”

She quickly gestures to someone else who gets on my other side and together they lift me back to my feet. Total time on the wet concrete at the Mall? Less than 30 seconds and I am utterly intact.

It could have been worse. Much worse. I could have, at the very least, wound up sharing a room with my 104-year-old mother in her rehab facility. Or in a body cast for Christmas.

But none of that will happen because, in this instance, there was the perfect person with the perfect skill set waiting to catch me at the perfect instant. I turned to her and said, “You are my perfect Christmas Angel.”

She shrugged and her reindeer hat’s rack gave a slight twinkle. “I just happened to be here. That’s all.”

I once believed in a universe of random events where things happen for no reason; a pure random universe. After these last two months, I am resigning the Church of “Random.”

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Lance de Boyle December 17, 2018, 8:23 PM

    Some angels show up with a sword. Yours arrives at the exact moment of need sporting a reindeer glitter hat, and says, “‘Twas nothing.” Someone’s watching over you and Ma. And we are thankful for that.

  • lendie December 17, 2018, 8:42 PM

    Okay, bubble wrap for you, too, not just Mom.

  • Julie December 17, 2018, 8:45 PM

    As we try to teach our children often, we never know when we will be called upon to be somebody’s angel. Most often, miracles work in just this way. I’m glad yours was on duty.

  • Rob De Witt December 18, 2018, 12:00 AM

    Thanks for the encouragement to have faith that all things work for good. So many things, good and bad, have come along in the last few years that it’s just hard to remember sometimes. Gratitude is essential.

    Prayers and good wishes for you and your mother. Music is coming back to me along with my health.

  • JoeDaddy December 18, 2018, 3:08 AM
  • Phil in Englewood December 18, 2018, 3:57 AM

    Your life seems enmeshed in angels who make themselves apparent when needed. And you share this extraordinary life with us through your outstanding writing. Fascinating and wonderful. Merry Christmas indeed, Gerard.

  • Snakepit Kansas December 18, 2018, 4:10 AM

    An angel indeed.

    Glad to hear you are doing better!

  • DavidB December 18, 2018, 4:55 AM

    To add to R dW:
    Romans 8:28 Amplified Bible (AMP)
    28 “And we know [with great confidence] that God [who is deeply concerned about us] causes all things to work together [as a plan] for good for those who love God, to those who are called according to His plan and purpose.”

  • Doubletrouble December 18, 2018, 5:08 AM

    “For he hath given his angels charge over thee; to keep thee in all thy ways. [12] In their hands they shall bear thee up: lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.”

  • AesopFan December 18, 2018, 7:33 AM

    Dear Gerard,
    Thank you for this post, and especially for your essay, “The Star”.
    The stories that you share are giving me an uplift every day; even though so many come out of a dark place at this time, they are like the stars breaking through the clouds at night to give us hope.
    I “met” you at Neo’s place, and I try to keep up with politics there and at a few other sites, but it is so depressing, especially in the Yule season. However, it occurred to me yesterday that, although it is important to have the joyful and cheerful celebration of the birth of the Christ Child, his incarnation as the Mortal Messiah was for the purpose of redeeming us from our wretchedness. We cannot separate the one from the other, although we separate the holidays (holy days) that commemorate them.
    As Julie said, God’s miracles very often consist of prompting someone to do something or be somewhere so that they can be an instrument in his hands for good. I have experienced both being the giver and the receiver of those “little things” that are actually quite big and important to the one needing that particular help at that particular time.
    May God bless you and your Mother always, and keep putting Angel Caregivers in your path.
    Merry Christmas!

  • Terry December 18, 2018, 7:48 AM

    I am very happy you made it out of the crash to floor uninjured. The girl was truly a God send.
    Send those shoes to Jerry Brown. He knows how to skate well, the slippery clown.

  • bgarrett December 18, 2018, 8:12 AM

    I read it twice. AWESOME!

  • Kevin Dickson December 18, 2018, 9:09 AM

    Luck or grace?

    Was there ever a difference between the two??

  • AbigailAdams December 18, 2018, 9:32 AM

    As your elder sister in Christ, Gerard, the question I have is: What will you do with this abundance of blessing? Your cup seems to be runneth-ing over.

    The “church of random”? 1 Corinthians 3:18: Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise.

    Countdown to fool: 3…2…1!

  • ghostsniper December 18, 2018, 11:21 AM

    Dear Santa,
    All I want for Christmas is my very own double size roll of bubble wrap.

    PS, and a box of chocolate covered cherries.

  • Vanderleun December 18, 2018, 1:04 PM

    My cup of blessings does seem to be full to the brim and running into the sea of faith. What will I do? I’m not sure as yet in the long term, but in the short term, my focus must be in helping my mother to become independent once again and to return home as she wishes. All other plans or needs are subordinate to that.

  • Kerry December 18, 2018, 3:05 PM

    Holy mackerel! Perfect timing and skilled competence are a wonderful combo. That’s a nice lady right there. Glad you’re alright.


  • Bill in Tennessee December 19, 2018, 6:02 AM

    Continuing to keep you and your mom in prayer. This was a nice entry in your ongoing compendium of your life. Thanks, I’m sharing it with others of our ilk.

  • Anonymous Strangeness December 22, 2018, 2:10 PM

    In your times of need you are a blessing to others who have a chance, taken, to assist you.

  • Mary Ann December 17, 2019, 7:37 PM

    That's all I can say this year.

  • ghostsniper December 18, 2019, 4:42 AM

    You’re now a year older, so up that list to TWO layers of bubble wrap AND a full face helmet.
    And stay outta them glass floor malls!

  • Rox December 18, 2019, 2:01 PM

    Wishing you Peace and positive Possibilities this holiday season,
    and if you have to skate again on a slippery surface, at least dance!

  • Linda S Fox December 18, 2019, 3:18 PM

    I’ve long since stopped marveling at the non-randomness of our world.
    I used to fret over being late. I generally plan ahead, and leave plenty of time to get somewhere.
    Fact: EVERY time I’m running late while driving, I find that there has been an accident on my path. If I had been on time, I might easily have been in it.
    I’m taking it as a sign that God has plans for me that need me to be in one piece. Or, that he is saving up for a really boffo finish to my life.

  • The Old Salt December 19, 2019, 12:39 AM

    Abagail writes “As your elder sister in Christ, Gerard, the question I have is: What will you do with this abundance of blessing? Your cup seems to be runneth-ing over.”

    He pours it out to the rest of us through his extraordinary writing!

  • John December 21, 2019, 10:07 AM

    You are obese
    Lise some weight like 50 pounds

  • Papijoe December 21, 2019, 5:21 PM

    The reindeer getup is a dead giveaway. Real angels always mis-direct from their actual appearance. My guardian angel showed up after a bike accident pushing the exact bike I rode as a kid in the 70s. While I registered her stunning and unusual features, I fixated on the bike, and of course when I went to look back at her she was gone.