CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The year was 1970 and it was New Year's Eve. I had never taken a trip by myself before, and for some strange reason I decided to take this route on my way to Missouri.
It had all started the day before. I had packed enough food to feed the five kids on our trip. I was going to Missouri to look for a place to live and hopefully attend Bible college there. The marriage had ended and I wanted to make a new life for the children and myself.
My 14-year-old daughter did not want to go, so she called her dad to come get her. When I tried to stop him from taking her, he shoved me against a block wall, dislocating my shoulder. The neighbors took me to the hospital and the children to their dad's mother.
The doctor took care of the shoulder and gave me pain pills for the night. No one was home when I got there. The neighbor brought supper to me, and I tried to sleep but couldn't. It was about 4 a.m. and I decided to make the trip by myself.
I drove for a few hours and, getting tired, I parked in an empty schoolyard and took a nap in the car. I then drove to the West Virginia Turnpike. It was a sunny day when I left, and I never dreamed there could be a snowstorm.
God was with me. Just before entering the Turnpike, I decided to stop and fill the gas tank. As the day went on, the weather began to set in. At first, it was just a light snow. Then it got heavier. I remember looking at the rock cliffs of the side of the road and how they looked like monster faces with the rocks showing through the snow.
Traffic began to slow, then it would stop for long periods of time. We fellow motorists would get out of our cars and visit while we waited. There was an electrician in the truck behind me, and in front was a lumber truck -- Moore's, I think -- driven by a young black man.
The snow was coming down really hard, and it had gotten much colder. There was word that some of the large trucks had slid off the road up ahead. Cars had run out of gas and were stranded. The electrician managed to go around some of us.
The young black man was very concerned about the stranded cars and the children in them. He asked if I had any food we could give them. Again, God took care. We took the food I had packed in the cooler for my kids and passed it out.
As the weather got worse, this young man hooked a chain from his truck to my car and pulled me to get through. I don't know how I would have made it without the Lord sending him to help all of us. It seems like his name was William Scott, or maybe the other way around. I tried over the years to find him, but I wasn't sure of the name, so I had no luck.
I arrived in Charleston on New Year's Day 1971, and I will always be thankful for my West Virginia Turnpike Angel.
Gail Holt is a resident of Galena, Mo.