Angel at Midnight

by | Jun 4, 1999 | Angels, Thanksgiving

One year while awaiting to move into our own home, we rented an older house in town. It had bedrooms that our children could share and a nice kitchen, dining area and large spacious living room and enclosed front porch. Our bedroom was at the front of the house and the children’s were next to the kitchen near the back.

As many older spacious homes have, this one had a large attic that had been converted into a small studio apartment. The young man who lived there, was always polite but would soon be moving to another area and new job.

The children walked to their schools across the street, and the stores and library were close by. The apartment upstairs remained empty for some time.

With the coming of Thanksgiving, I was busy with preparations for the children and the activities they were involved in. And among my daily rounds didn’t notice the young mother and her little girl until after they had moved in. I immediately placed some cookies on a plate and took our eighth grade daughter up the side stairway to greet our new neighbors.

A young girl in her middle twenties stood in the doorway and stepping back, asked us to come in. Her young daughter spotted the cookies and gave us a bright cheerful grin! You could tell they were Mother and daughter each had lovely blond hair and kind smiles.

I introduced myself and my daughter and we talked about the area for a few minutes, and before leaving, Jennifer volunteered to watch the little girl if her Mother was in need of a baby sitter. It turned out that she had her daughter enrolled in daycare while she was at work, but Saturdays she might need to call on her. We assured her that was fine.

A few days before Thanksgiving, I realized how much I missed our own stove and oven, which was packed away while we were renting. And I made a mental note to clean the oven before baking my pies the next day. It was a gas stove, and although I liked cooking over gas I’d always had an electric stove before.

We were planning on grandparents, aunts, uncles and other family members to come and share the day. I also sent a note up to the gal in the apartment and invited she and her daughter to join us. She stopped by later and thanked us but said they would be going home that night to visit her family for the holiday.

That evening after the children were in bed, I remembered the oven and asked my husband if he would spray the oven cleaner inside and lay papers under it. He took care of it while I busied myself with other things, then we went to bed.

A little after midnight we awakened to someone banging at the front the door, and while grabbing our bathrobes, realized there was smoke all over the place. I ran to the children’s rooms as my husband went to the door. There stood our new neighbor and her little girl. They had just arrived home, and she smelled smoke and called the fire department. Within minutes they came with the siren on and burst into the house. I had gathered the children onto the front porch, wrapped in blankets, far away from the kitchen area.

Immediately the firemen realized where the smoke had started and what had happened. In my haste to have a clean oven, I forgot that paper to catch the grease doesn’t go under a gas oven, and although it had taken a few hours, it had caught fire and the smoke was spreading around the house. We felt awful. The damage was minimal, but the most important thing to us was our three children who had been sleeping nearby were safe. After airing the house out, with the help of our friendly fire department, we went back to bed, thankful everyone was okay.

Thanksgiving came and we enjoyed pies baked in a clean oven! A turkey, roasted in a clean oven and sweet potato soufflé, cranberry sauce, other vegetables and favorite dressings and trimmings. We were truly grateful for the Lord’s protection over us and for a kind neighbor upstairs.

As we looked forward to the Christmas holiday, I watched for our neighbor and her little girl, having made some eggnog and cookies, I wanted to invite them in. I also had a special gift for each of them. But, the truth was, after that evening when she came and knocked on our door, I hadn’t seen them. I made a trip up to their door and peaked in through the window, the place was empty, as if nobody had even been there. I tried contacting the landlord, but he didn’t know anything about them. It seemed incredible, I wanted to thank them again. And the more I thought about it, the more I realized their short stay had possibly saved us all in an old house that could have gone up in flames so quickly.

A Thanksgiving Day doesn’t go by but what I think of the young mother and her entrance and exit in our lives. I will never know why she was coming home at all that night, as she had been going to visit her own family for Thanksgiving. I know God brings many people into our lives for various reasons. An Angel? Perhaps. What I do know for certain, is that each Thanksgiving I remember an old house with young children, and I especially give thanks for the messenger He sent, allowing us to celebrate many more Thanksgiving Days, and that is my special blessing from Him.

(c) 2001 Diane Dean White

Diane is a former newspaper reporter and freelance writer. She and her husband Stephen are the parents of three grown children and two grandgals. They make their home on the Carolina Coast where Diane continues her love for writing.


Angel at Midnight