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Rated: E · Fiction · Drama · #2240132
We encountered a pesky crow on our way to deliver community supplies.
Every year, during the holidays, Art and I fill our pickup with love. There are cans of food, fresh produce, a dozen hams, candy and lots of brightly wrapped toys. There are also blankets, clothes and various needful things to take to the Goodwill, a local food pantry and the Salvation Army.

This last year has been one like no other. With the Covid crisis, we have also included disinfectants, gloves, and boxes of disposable masks. People are always so generous that we seldom have to spend our own small pensions to supplement. Just let your neighbors, friends, and family know and they never let us down. It just takes some organizational skills, the Internet, a phone and a big mouth, which I always provide. I talk way too much anyway and this is for a good cause.

The hubby and I are packed and ready to move on.

“Is that everything, babe?”
“I think so, we're packed so tight I don’t think anything else will fit.”
“Let’s hit the road, we’ll pick up some barbecue at The Pink Pig on the way back.”
“Sounds great!”
The place is famous around these parts, just an old building with a huge screen porch they cover with vinyl sheets for winter with electric heaters. It has picnic tables and the same family has run it for years. The pink pigs are wooden cut outs with family names on them. If you make over 100 visits, they make one to place in the hill behind the restaurant. They keep track but I wonder if they cheat for VIPs because there sure are a lot of recognizable names that don't live around here.

We climb in the cab and crank up some Christmas tunes on the stereo. It really isn’t very far, maybe a thirty minute drive. The weather is nice for Blue Ridge, Georgia. We live in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains, north of Atlanta. There are fluffy snow clouds in the sky that promise a white holiday. The sun is trying to peck through as much as it can. It is windy but tolerable.

I put my head back and relax after all the physical work, thinking of the time I was in need. Had no idea of what to do when my first husband walked out, leaving me with three little kids, all under the age of ten. Never even saw it coming, He cleaned out our joint bank account, ran up the credit cards, and my salary couldn’t begin to pay for our home mortgage. There was no family to turn to, the police weren’t much help and my pride kept me from asking for “welfare”. I had always looked down on those who took help, my parents always told me, “You made your own bed”.

I found out then that everyone needs help at some time or another. Funny how you examine your opinions when it happens to you. Ever since, I try to do my part to help.

Suddenly, I hear a strange noise coming from the road side. I look out, see a black crow that is “screaming” above our stereo. Probably found some road kill and we had run over it, was my first thought.

‘Something is wrong, someone is hurt” I hear these words scream in my head. I am not very spiritual but this was a incessant inner voice.

“Honey, stop the truck! Pull over, please!”
“You’re kidding! Why? There's a gas station up here if you gotta go.”
“Just humor me, okay?”

We stopped, pulling over on the side. All was quiet except for that shiny black crow. Maybe it was hurt! I walked toward it slowly. It stared at me with onyx eyes that drew me in.
"Sue, have lost it? That damn bird might attack you!"

The bird flew off and then circled back several times. There was a thicket of woods and I walked through bramble as the crow flew low over me. It was trying to show me something. I tend to act on instinct which has been known to get me into trouble. But this felt different.

Then I heard someone crying, a weak frightened cry of a child.

We found a young girl in tattered clothes, no coat, bruises on the skin area I could see. Her large brown eyes were full of tears. Her face and tangled brown hair was filthy. Art went to get a blanket as I was calling 911. She wouldn’t speak to us at all. When we tried to move her, she screamed. I noticed she clutched her right arm to her chest. I knew it might be dislocated as I tried to check her over without scaring her too much. She would barely let me touch her. She was pale and shaking but didn't seem to be in immediate danger. Her breathing and pulse were rapid but normal. Art had a bottle of water. He instinctively drank first from it so she could see it was safe. She let him pour small amounts into her mouth.

We made soothing talk, "You're going to be okay, honey. Someone will find your family."
No response but a terrified look.

Help arrived and as the EMTs dealt with the whole situation, I was relieved. I knew she was in professional hands. I would eventually find out what had happened here.

Suddenly, I remembered the crow. I looked around. Nothing!

I will never feel the same about crows, believing they are ugly scavengers. That one was a lovely messenger from on high and I am glad I listened. Special messages come in many forms.

By Kathie Stehr
word count 748
Edited 2021
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