My grandfather taught me how to whittle as a wee lad. Sadly, shortly after he passed, I broke the jackknife he gifted me with. I ‘made do’ with a paring knife from the kitchen drawer. I industriously keep my eye open for interesting pieces of wood to whittle, and no matter where I went, I faithfully carried that paring knife in the back pocket of my britches.
One day, my brother and I went over to a friend’s house to play, but nobody was home. We amused ourselves on their backyard tire swing, played on monkey bars, slides, etc.
An idea from school captured my curiosity and had been percolating in my little brain. Whenever I learned something new or fascinating, I would always pass that lesson on to my little brother. Having recently learned about electricity from a teacher, I decided to show him what I learned. The teacher had earnestly cautioned us that water and metal are conductors of electricity, and assured us that wood in not a conductor of electricity. In order to provide evidence to my little brother that electricity cannot travel through wood, we walked him over to a 220-Volt socket to conduct my own personal ‘seminar’ or Show & Tell.
Since my paring knife had a wooden handle covering the metal, I believed I could safely insert it into the socket. I pulled open the grey metal safety guard from the socket and drew the paring knife from my back pocket. I told my brother to watch me, as I began explaining the laws of electricity.
I boldly went where no bright boy had gone before, and confidently plugged my knife into the socket. My lecture ended as I experienced 220-volts of electricity coursing through my body.
Suddenly, I became terrifyingly aware my lesson went awry. My young mind hadn’t considered that metal rivets held the wooden handle of the knife together, and I was touching them. The powerful current coursed through me, holding my entire body frozen in place.
My brother must have sensed something was wrong, (maybe because for once because I was not talking). He said, “Are you alright? Are you alright?” Unable to move my lips, I said, “I ant oove! I ant oove!” (‘I can’t move, I can’t move’). I could not pronounce the words correctly. He then said, “Do you want me to pull you away?”
I quickly told my brother, “Oh! Oh! Own ush e! Own ush e!" (that is, ‘No! No! Don’t touch me! Don’t touch me’!) I remembered the teacher warning us about the dangers of touching a person who is being electrocuted, that they be victim to a bigger jolt than the person being electrocuted.
At this desperate point, I thought a silent, frantic prayer for help, thinking, “God, help me.” Just then, I felt two large, heavy hands pressing down firmly, one upon each of my shoulders. Those hands yanked me backwards away from the plug, freeing me.
Stunned, I turned around to see who helped me. Only my wide-eyed brother was there. While I knew my brother could not have been the one that saved me, I was befuddled by what happened. I gave my brother a stern parental look and firmly demanded, “Did you touch me?” With quivering fear in his voice, he said, “No”.
Perhaps the two strong hands on my shoulders belonged to my guardian angel. Maybe it was my grandfather.
In later years, I once sensed that my grandfather was helping me. I was on the way to the hospital for a biopsy and was afraid I would die. I read that a small number of people die from the biopsy needle piercing a vein, and the patient dies. On the way to the hospital, I was praying hard for comfort and protection. I then heard a gentle male voice say in my ear, “You’ll be OK”.
The voice possessed a peaceful love that poured through my soul. And the voice seemed familiar, somehow. I wondered at the time if it was my grandpa. Maybe he is an angel?
Through the years, I have had miraculous experiences that have literally saved my life. What does it mean? Who knows for sure? But for me, I believe in Guardian Angels.