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Story ID:11368
Written by:Frederick William Wickert (bio, link, contact, other stories)
Story type:Story
Location:Gilboa New York USA
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By Fred Wickert

I have a large yard and this evening was mowing the grass in front of the house. I noticed a car had stopped a short way in to my driveway. I drove the lawn tractor to the car and shut off the mower and then the engine.

A woman behind the steering wheel lowered her window and asked me how to get to the Thruway going South. I immediately told her to continue the way she had come on route 30. I told her just beyond the village of Schoharie she would come to I-88. I told her to take the ramp to the right for I-88 and proceed to the end of it. That would be the entrance to the Thruway and the signs would tell her which way to go South.

The lady seemed to have trouble understanding and following the directions I gave her. She then thanked me and asked the name of this town. I told her Gilboa. She said okay, and then rolled up her window.

It so happens there is some construction going on at the front of my house. On one edge of my property is a small stream which runs under the road through a large culvert. They are in the process of replacing the culvert. They are replacing one side at a time. They have reduced traffic to one lane . They have placed concrete barriers known as Jersey Barriers on both sides of the lane and have installed traffic lights to control the one way traffic.

The traffic lights on one end of it are positioned at the end of my driveway. There is a red light facing my driveway and they have positioned a sign saying no turn on red. They have placed a post to the left side of my driveway with a large button on it. To get out of my driveway, one must reach out the window and press the button and then wait. Soon the light will turn green and I can exit my driveway in either direction I choose.

The lady asking directions, as soon as she rolled up her window, backed straight out in to the state highway, turned the direction she was going and went on. She never looked at the lights and could not have seen them from where she was. Fortunately for her, there was no traffic at that moment in either direction. I shook my head in disbelief and then started up my lawn tractor. I returned to the lawn, put the mower in gear and resumed cutting grass.

I had only gone a few feet before it suddenly came to me what I had just dome, and I asked myself why? Why did I do such a thing? Am I getting senile? She had asked me how to get to the Thruway going South. I had just sent her North. She will still get to the Thruway and she can still go South when she gets there, but I had just sent her about 70 miles out of her way. It will take her an hour and twenty to thirty minutes longer. Why? What was I thinking? Am I losing it?

I was asking myself these questions out loud as I was driving across the lawn with the lawn tractor. Suddenly some thoughts strongly popped in to my mind. I began remembering very clearly several episodes I had experienced during my life in which, for no special reason, or at least no reason that could be explained, I or other's had suddenly deviated from some particular way we had always done things. We didn't know why we did, but we just did, or perhaps had some strong feeling pulling us to do it.

Often times when these things happened, we later learned that there had been some sort of tragedy that had occurred the way we usually went, and chances were very strong that if we had gone our habitual way, we would have been right in the middle of that tragedy. We always concluded that God had told us to do differently this time, and because we did, we came out of it unscathed.

I wondered if God had caused me to give that lady directions that would take her so far out of her way, to save her from a catastrophe? I will probably never know. I am sure that if she ever figures out what I did to her, she will be furious with me. For her sake, I hope I caused her to avoid a catastrophe.

I can't help wondering, am I going senile? Or did God tell me to do it? I suppose that if I am senile really soon, I won't know the difference. If not, I will assume it was an act of God, and then I will feel better.