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The Rest Stop That Saved Them

God’s grace stepped in just as we were about to crash.

A few cars on a scenic highway illuminated by soft sunlight

Driving through an icy rainstorm, we were headed to a mountain resort for the weekend. Wipers slashing, shoulders tense, I focused on the winding six-lane highway ahead. A dozen cars zipped past us, but I held my speed down. With my wife, Kathy, and 13-year-old son, Jeff, in the car, I didn’t want to take any chances.

As I approached a sweeping right-hand curve, the car suddenly skidded. We spun across the highway, hurtling straight for the steel guardrail. I glimpsed the fear in Kathy’s and Jeff’s faces. I said a prayer and braced for the crash.

It never came. The car came to a screeching halt. Now we were turned completely around, and stood directly in the path of oncoming traffic. A bank of blinding headlights raced toward us. I had to get out of their way!

I saw an off-ramp behind me. I shoved the gearshift into reverse and backed onto the ramp just as the cars whizzed by on the highway. That was a close one, I thought.

At the bottom of the off-ramp we came upon a quaint whitewashed general store with a wide front porch and stenciled lettering on the windows. An antique lamppost and old-fashioned gas pumps stood outside.

“Everybody okay?” I asked, looking around. My wife squeezed my hand and Jeff nodded.

We sat for a while in the soft glow of the lamplight. No one seemed to be around but the atmosphere itself calmed us completely.

After a few minutes, when our nerves were settled, we drove back to the highway and continued our trip.

A few days later on the way home we took the same highway. Thinking we’d stop for a bite to eat we looked for the off-ramp and little store. But they weren’t there. Since that weekend, we’ve traveled the same stretch of highway scores of times and never found that off-ramp or store again. But when we had needed them, they were there.

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