written by Debbie Williamson
"Come on Heather!" Mother called from the back porch. "Hurry up with your shoes. We have to go!"
"I'm coming, Mom," said six year old Heather. "I can't get my shoes tied. There's a knot in this one."
"Daddy's going to be upset if we are late picking him up," said Mother. "Grab your shoes and bring them with you. I'll see if I can get the knot out while we wait for Daddy at the bus stop."
Heather picked up her shoes and ran outside to the car. Mother started the engine and pulled out onto the road.
"How come we have to pick Daddy up tonight?" asked Heather.
"Oh Heather, how could you have forgotten that we have the car?" asked Mother, irritably. "Daddy took the bus to work this morning."
"Oh yeah," said Heather. "Now I remember. You had to go for your job interview today. Mommy, how did your interview go? Are you going to get a job?"
"Well, I just don't know," said Mother. "The man that interviewed me was a very nice man. However, I don't know if he is going to hire me or not."
"Oh," said Heather.
Mother pulled into the parking lot of the gas station.
"Oh goodie," said Heather. "Can I get a chocolate bar?"
"We are only getting gas, dear," said Mother.
After the service attendant pumped the gas, Mother tried to start the car. It wouldn't start.
"Oh no!" cried Heather. "How come the car won't start, Mommy?"
"Heather, I just don't know," said Mother.
A very kind man stood beside the window of the car.
"Having problems?" he asked, as he peered inside the car and winked at Heather.
"Yes, I am," said Mother. "The car just doesn't want to start."
"Lift up your hood and I'll take a look," said the man.
Mother lifted the hood.
"Who is that man?" asked Heather.
"I don't know," said Mother.
"You shouldn't talk to strangers," said Heather.
"Yes I know," said Mother. "However, this man seems so kind. I don't think that he would ever hurt us, do you?"
"No," said Heather. "Besides, I've seen him before. He's done some work at my school."
"Well, there you go," said Mother.
"Ma'am, start the engine," said the man.
Mother turned the key and the car started up immediately.
"Thank-you so much," said Mother.
"You're quite welcome," the man said. "It was just a loose wire."
Mother and Heather were at the bus stop long before Daddy's bus came in.
"Daddy, Daddy!" cried Heather, hugging her father. "Guess what happened!"
"What happened, dear?" asked Father.
"We were at the gas station and the car stalled," said Heather. "Mommy couldn't get it going but this nice man came along and helped us."
"Yes, he's our guardian angel," said Mother.
"What's a guardian angel?" asked Heather.
"A guardian angel is someone who is always there to help you in times of trouble and will also help to protect you," said Daddy.
A few months went by and one sunny day Mother and Heather were driving along, toward the village. Mother stopped at the gas station to get some gas and when she went to pull away, the car stalled. Once again, her guardian angel was there to help her. Within minutes he had the car fixed and they were on their way again.
"Thank you," said Mother.
"No problem," said the man.
A year or two went by. Mother had, in that time, found out that her guardian angel's name was Steve Peterson. Mother and Heather saw Steve several times in that time and had come to think of him as a friend as well as their guardian angel. He always had a joke or a smile for them.
Then one sad day, just after Christmas, Mother and Heather saw Steve and his wife, Ellen in the gas station. Steve had just been diagnosed with cancer. He looked very weak and very ill. Both Mother and Heather were quite upset.
"Mommy, why does Steve look like that?" she asked, later that evening as Mother was getting her ready for bed.
"Steve is very sick, dear," said Mother, holding the tears back that were forming in her own eyes. "He has cancer."
"Is he going to die?" asked Heather.
"Oh Heather," said Mother. "I sure hope not."
"Me too," said Heather. "Besides, he's our guardian angel and guardian angels can't die, eh, Mommy."
Mother left Heather's bedroom with tears pouring down her face.
"How could someone so kind be stricken with such a deadly disease?" she asked herself. "Why Steve?"
Steve's cancer worsened with each passing day. As much as he was obviously suffering, he always had a smile on his face.
About four months later, Mother heard the devastating news. Steve had died!
"How am I going to tell Heather?" she thought to herself. "How is she going to be able to understand that her guardian angel is gone?"
"Heather dear," said Mother, that afternoon, when Heather had gotten home from school. "Do you remember Steve? You know, our guardian angel?"
"Yes," said Heather. "Of course, I do. I saw him just the other day and he really looked sick. He was doing some work at school. Mommy, is Steve ever going to get better?"
Mother couldn't hold back the tears this time.
"Mommy, what's wrong?" asked Heather.
"Steve died, honey," said Mother as gently as she could.
"What!" cried Heather. "He couldn't have, I just saw him working the other day! Besides, he's our guardian angel and guardian angels don't die."
"Well, our guardian angel did die, honey," explained Mother. "But, do you want to know something? Just because Steve died, that doesn't mean that he still can't be our guardian angel."
"But how?" asked Heather, tears streaming down her face.
"Steve will be able to watch out for us from above," said Mother. "Why, I bet he's watching us right now."
"Mommy, I'm going to miss him," Heather cried.
"So will I," Mother cried, too, hugging Heather tightly. "So will I!"