Have you ever had an experience with a Good Samaritan? Maybe an angel in disguise?
It was 1976; I was nine years old. The family had just pulled up to our camping spot at Trinity National Park in California. Funny how a name could mean something more now than it did then...Not until this moment did I realize that I had written 'Trinity' without meaning the Godhead. Hmmm...Something to ponder. Anyway, my parents started setting up camp and I really wanted to go on a bike ride. None of my sisters wanted to take me and my parents would not allow me to go alone. Thinking back, this was a good thing. At the time it seemed utterly unfair.
Margie made a deal with me. If I would brush her hair for half an hour then she would take me for a ride. I know that seems a bit mean but really, she didn't want to go and I liked making funny hair-dos in her hair.
Although I was not allowed to go 'alone', my parents did think I was old enough for a three speed bike. It was huge. I looked like one of the seven dwarves (Dopey) trying to balance on the thing. This was before helmets and pads for the kids...I was so stupid that I actually wore my leather Mexican flip-flops instead of sensible tennis shoes (sneakers...Running shoes or whatever you say for those things.) The ride started off great. Fresh mountain air, insects buzzing about, and birds tweeting merrily in the pine trees.
We didn't figure on the gravel or the steepness of the road.
Talk about head over heals! I flipped over the handle bars when I errantly hit a large piece of gravel. Gravel and face don't mix. Neither do teeth and rocks. I smashed my head into the dirty rocky mix and slid a few feet. I don't remember much after that...I blurrily recall Margie screaming for help. Next thing I knew, an old man was carrying me. My face, shirt and feet covered in blood. I had one sandal on. The other one must have stayed with my teeth on the pavement. The man's wife helped Margie and our bikes back to the campsite.
I never found out the names of the couple but will always remember their kindness.
My face was a mess. I lost three permanent teeth on my bottom row and had somehow created a mouse-hole shape in my two front teeth. The teeth had exited my mouth through my upper lip which was dangling open. Sorry, I know. It wasn't a pretty picture.
The nearest hospital/doctor was an hour away. My sisters and mom tore down camp as my dad tried to wash me off and stop the bleeding.
I ended up with a bunch of stitches, some false teeth (they were my permanent ones that I lost), and a good patch up job on the mouse-hole. For a long time I kept my torn and bloody sandal; the only souvenir I had from the trip that wasn't attached or lost from my body.
I thank God that Margie was there.
I also have some hugs for those two souls that helped me when I was in need.