Madge Kruger had qualms about their plans, a sense of foreboding about their parting, but Matt and Kelly hardly ever got away. They were a career couple, with three kids ranging at three, six, and seven years old. With a beautiful home in a quiet cul-de-sac and near great schools, they had dedicated their time to spending with the children and saving money. They also had re-dedicated their lives that year to God and had become really active at church. Their tenth anniversary loomed on the horizon. Matt received the perfect invitation from a good friend there, to spend a whole weekend at a cabin in the mountains. Even if his mother warned him of danger, that the snow can sometimes be ripe for avalanches at that time of year, he ignored it and packed up the car that Friday morning.
His wife Kelly looked over the brochure with her mother-in-law.
"I can't wait to get there!," she said in an excited tone, "Look! Two mountain ranges with cozy cabins nestled in the trees in isolated spots. There's one resort near the bottom ridge with a great restaurant. By Saturday night, we'll be grubbing on perfect steaks!"
"We must get going!" Matt sang out as he hustled into the kitchen with a suitcase, "We want to arrive in plenty of time to get really settled in."
He kissed his kids, "You guys be good for your grandma!"
"We will," they promised and Kelly hugged them all goodbye. She turned to Madge.
"There's a number on the brochure, just in case," she added for good measure, knowing that Madge always liked having alternative numbers and not just their cell phone numbers. Outside, Madge watched the car pull away, with that nagging feeling in her heart.
That Saturday morning, she took the kids to the grocery store and spoiled them with extra treats from the cookie aisles. They stopped by the post office and then returned to unload the car. The kids helped and then ran upstairs to play. She prepared a hearty stew for their supper, allowing the crock pot to do most of the work. Then she joined the kids for awhile to play, color, and to share a good book together. Sometime that afternoon, she decided to watch a movie on television as the kids had taken an impromptu nap. Instead, she tuned into an urgent news bulletin. Her worst fears had come true . An avalanche had occurred, near the area where Matt and Kelly had gone.
For hours, she tried their cell phone, but all she got was a robotic voice telling her the circuit was out of service. Trying the number on the brochure, she had left a message on the answering machine. Alone in her worry, she constantly prayed. She didn't want to alarm the kids, so they ate their supper and played a board game. Later, Madge helped them with their baths and scooted them off to bed at an appropriate hour. Sometime around ten that evening, the phone finally rang. It was the manager of the cabins. In a grim voice, he told her what he knew.
"People are trapped inside cabins, some at the resort. Crews went up with equipment, doing their best to dig them out, but the snow is hazardous on the mountain range. We had to stop for the night, but will get going again when we have daylight to guide us. Just pray that everything will turn out fine," he said and in her heart, she agreed. The night passed slowly by and Madge tried to sleep, but couldn't. Deep worry set into her mind like a winter chill. She looked over the sleeping children. What would they do without their parents? Again, she prayed, "Lord, please let Matt and Kelly be all right!"
She went into the living room and rested in the recliner, reading her bible for comfort. Around three, she finally dozed off. At six, she woke with a start, hearing the sound of a car pull into the driveway. Was it the police coming to bring her bad news? Then she heard the sound of keys jingling and the door lock becoming unlatched.
"Mom? Mom?" she heard Matt and Kelly's voices sound out. She bolted out of the chair and flew to embrace them, every inch of her arms holding them tight.
"We're ok, mom," Matt said in a comforting tone.
"What happened?" she asked as tears came to the surface,"How did you escape danger?"
"I guess you can call it a miracle for us...somewhat," Matt explained but had looked at his wife in a funny way,"Kelly has terrible food cravings! She couldn't wait to get to the restaurant. We had gone skiing and in the wind, the aroma from the grill tempted us."
"By lunch time, my tummy roared. I couldn't stand it anymore," she explained and her eyes grew wide, "So we ditched our skis and went inside. As we sat in there, we could see out the windows. We took our time eating. Another couple sat nearby and we got to talking to them. We had a lot of same interests....bible studies, Sunday school classes.... and then they joined us. We talked and talked, sharing our love and commitment to God. We exchanged addresses, phone numbers, pictures of our kids. Time really escaped us."
"The next thing we know, we heard this horrible sound and we looked out. All that snow came tumbling down the mountain, going faster and faster, a bulk of it heading straight for the resort. People were outside screaming and running, trying to get in on their skis. I think everyone made it somehow. By some strange fluke, the angle turned at the last second. We did get hit, but most of the snow deflected away from our side of the building. We were spared from being pelted with glass as I am sure it would have smashed with terrific force. Elsewhere, I heard a loud ka-pow! Yet we were safe."
"Wow!" Madge gasped.
"The avalanche crews went near the cabins. Some stayed behind to concentrate on digging us out, as all the doors were covered to the roof with snow. Afterwards, we saw that the cars in the parking area were spared and we decided to drive straight home. We would have called sooner, knowing you'd be worried, but the avalanche had knocked down towers, so there was no satellite connection to our cell phones. Even the local phones were out. All the crews were talking to each other by walkie-talkies. We just wanted to get straight home...to you and to our kids."
"I had tried your cell," Madge said and grasped their hands, looking them over in total appreciation of their safety, "I'm just so happy you are all right. I prayed all night for your return."
"I guess he listened, mom," Matt replied and squeezed their hands, "We should give him thanks. We are safe, alive, and are able to spend more anniversaries."
"This is one I'll never forget. He totally blessed our little family," Kelly added and with that, they bowed their heads to pray.