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Shannon Bardwell: Serendipity or supernatural?

 

Shannon Bardwell

 

"There oughta be an easier way," I hollered down at him. He looked up and smiled, "It's OK, I could use the exercise." 

 

He slowly lifted his foot while bracing himself with a crutch clasped onto his right arm. He held the other crutch in his left hand and struggled to pull himself up the rail. I looked down from 16 concrete steps and a landing. He was on the fourth step. 

 

"You know, there's a handicap entrance on the side over there ... but it looks like you're kind of committed here. Is there anything I can do?" 

 

"Yes, young lady, you can hang this crutch on the end of that rail up there." 

 

As he nodded up, I thought I might like him 'cause he called me "young." 

 

He continued, "Been getting around like this for 22 years. I was in a bad accident and they said I wouldn't live." He hoisted another foot up another step. 

 

"When I lived they said I'd never get up; my neck was broken and my spine was shattered." 

 

I told him I'd been talking to a friend about that kind of thing. The friend said they'd end their life if there was no hope they'd get better. 

 

"Thought about it. 'Bout three days into it, I started crying. I wanted to die if I'd never be no better than that." He paused. "Things changed when late one night this nurse asked if I knew Jesus. Told her I'd joined the church when I was 13 years old. She said, 'I didn't ask you that. I asked if you knew Jesus.'" 

 

"I got to thinking and that night I told Jesus if he wanted me to stay in that bed the rest of my life, I would. I had a 4-year-old granddaughter; least I could give her some advice. Yep, I told Jesus that, and the next day I could move my legs and two weeks later I went home." 

 

By now he'd made his way to the landing but I still couldn't leave him. "What's your name?" 

 

"Junior Andrews," he answered. "I got a motorized scooter but I need the exercise. Where do you live young lady?" 

 

I told him my name and said I lived in the Prairie, not quite Columbus. He pointed where he lived, and then he started bragging. 

 

"I can do lots of things. I keep up my yard. I got an electric chainsaw and one of those gadgets that you can pick up things. Sometimes I have to get out of the chair and pull over to the flower bed," he laughed. "You wouldn't believe how many folks stop and ask me if I fell out of the chair. Folks are real nice like that." 

 

As we were parting I said, "You know, if you had used the handicap entrance I never would have met you." 

 

"Some things are meant to be," he grinned, "like that nurse. I never saw her again." 

 

Shannon Rule Bardwell is a Southern writer living quietly in the Prairie. Her email is msdeltachild@msn.com.

 

Shannon Rule Bardwell is a Southern writer living quietly in the Prairie.

 

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