It was the Christmas holidays of 1966 and I was going to visit my girlfriend who lived in Louisville, Ky. I planned to drive the “Grape”…. a recently purchased ‘55 Chevy for which I had paid $85. When my sister first saw the purple & white two tone coupe, she said, “it looks like an “Electric Grape”… later shortened to “the Grape”. It was a 6 cylinder, three speed on the column, somewhat rusted out classic. I later added some nifty snow tires on the front and new white floor mats. It was pretty impressive.
Well, I made it to Louisville for a nice visit and we’re heading back on New Years Eve. Her dad was not impressed with the Grape and said goodbye to us with rosary in hand as we left for St. Louis. A couple of miles from her home, there was a loud noise, the right front of the car collapsed and the car skidded to a stop. Yikes…. I was very happy that her dad didn’t happen to drive by. Quickly a man stopped to see if we were okay and said his uncle had a junk yard down the road and would help us. Well before you know it, we’re sitting in the junkyard office while Uncle Freddy is out removing an “A Frame” from one of the cars and replacing the one in the Grape. He charges us $25 and we’re on our way. I think Uncle Freddy was an angel. Wow, I’m still out of breath thinking about this. If this had happened at 70mph on the highway, there may have been no wedding, no children, no grandchildren. God had his hand on us.
How many times has the Lord saved my life over these almost 76 years. I can think of several times, but there has to be many other times that I didn’t even notice…. plus all the times he simply has kept my heart beating. We often ask each other, “how’s your health”…… replying, “oh, it’s good, just got a physical, my cholesterol is down, I’m working out…I’m ready for another 20 year of life at least….I’m even jogging …..bla,bla,bla. Well the truth is that our health may be good, but we can slip on a banana peal, or not see a car coming, or “be at the wrong place at the wrong time” and that can be the end for us.
So, truly our life is in the hand of God. He’s the one watching out for us. As the psalmist says, “LORD, let me know my end, and what is the measure of my days; let me know how fleeting my life is! Behold, thou hast made my days a few handbreadths, and my lifetime is as nothing in thy sight. Surely every man stands as a mere breath! (Ps. 39:4-5) Knowing this truth, let’s always be prepared to stand before the Lord at our time of death. Today, as we hear his voice, let us not harden our heart.(Ps. 95) God stands ready to pour out his mercy and forgiveness on us, so let’s say yes to his great love….right now.
P.S. You may be wondering what happened to the “Grape”. Well it lasted a bit longer, but an oil leak dealt her a lethal blow. I was monitoring the leak by adding a quart of “reprocessed oil (10cents/gal.) whenever the oil light went on. But one time I was a bit tardy with the oil and I heard a big CLANG and ……. But, I’ll always remember the Electric Grape, my first car.