How long does it take a 1953 grey Plymouth station wagon to break through the ice and sink to the murky bottom of a pond? That fearful question engulfed our hearts as we filled the car with screams. The wailing voices belonged to my two sisters, mother and myself. The one not shrieking in fear was the madman at the wheel, my smirking father.
THE STATION WAGON ON THE POND
It was a cold winter afternoon and we were out on a family drive. We made a side trip to the family farm. I am clueless how my dad persuaded Mother that he needed to drive down the lane behind barn. Daddy then proceeded to drive off the path, continued up and over the bank and landed on the frozen surface of the pond. How could the ice support the weight of a 3,019 pound station wagon?
LAVERNE, GET OFF THE ICE!
My mother yelled at my father, “LaVerne, get off the ice!!!” My sisters and I pictured the ice cracking and our car sinking into the frigid depths. I was a little girl bundled into a bulky cumbersome snowsuit and not dressed for swimming through icy waters! He must have braked the car at that point because I remember Mother, my sisters and I shoving open the car doors and running for our lives to the safety of the pond’s bank.
EASY TO DRIVE DOWN BUT NOT BACK UP
My father would normally have been celebrating his feat of reckless courage, however at that point he realized while it was easy to drive down the bank onto the ice, it was another matter to drive the car off the ice and up and over the bank of the pond. The wheels of the heavy car struggled to gain traction. After repeated tries, somehow Daddy managed to find enough momentum to drive off the pond.
NOT SPOKEN OF AGAIN
Alongside his now traumatized family, my dad celebrated his bravery by building a fire on the pond’s bank. We roasted hot dogs and drank hot chocolate and didn’t speak of it again.
I grew up in a household in which we were religious, but not trusting. Cared for physically, but not necessarily, emotionally. There were a great many things never spoken of, never shared, and never given. In other words, I never quite knew where I stood as a child, a daughter.
I wish I had known where to find the kind of love my heart longed for. I needed Isaiah 26:3 You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!
Or better yet: Psalm 121: 1 I look up to the mountains—does my help come from there? 2 My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth! 3 He will not let you stumble; the one who watches over you will not slumber. 4 Indeed, he who watches over Israel never slumbers or sleeps. 5 The Lord himself watches over you! The Lord stands beside you as your protective shade. 6 The sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon at night. 7 The Lord keeps you from all harm and watches over your life. 8 The Lord keeps watch over you as you come and go, both now and forever.
These are promises needed when the waters run cold and deep and the shore seems so very far away.