I'd planned to go to Canton today to get a Georgia Driver's License. Just after Luke died, I stood in a line in Woodstock for over half an hour only to be told they only do renewals here and I would have to go to Canton. I was told to take my original birth certificate and a paid utility bill with my name and address on it. For good measure, I took two paid utility bills and a copy of Luke's and my marriage certificate.

The first time I went to Canton, there were 30 to 40 people lined up outside and who knows how long the line was inside the building? I assumed that the line was so long because it was on Friday afternoon. The next time I went was on a Tuesday morning. I got there just after 9:30 am and the line was longer than it was the first time. After talking to a friend of mine, I found out that the wait is from six to eight hours in that line! There really was no urgency in getting a Georgia license because the Kentucky one is still valid for more than two years.

I decided yesterday that I was going today to get my license, but woke up after only about an hour's sleep with a terrible headache. I nursed it all day and decided about three o'clock that it had eased up enough that I could go to Canton. I got there just before four and there was only one person in line! I couldn't believe my luck.

I gave the man my paperwork and after looking at it he told me I needed a copy of our marriage license. I told him I had just stuck that in the envelope as an afterthought and I was glad I did. Then he told me it had to be a certified copy. Even after I explained how many times I had been there and that no one in their office told me I needed to bring it, he still wouldn't budge. I knew I didn't have time to go home, get the certificate, and make it back there before they closed at five.

I was so upset, I cried all the way back to Woodstock and the tears burned my eyes so bad I almost had to pull over. I said out loud, "Lord, please send me somebody to talk to." When I stopped the car in Woodstock, there was a song on the radio about angels in disguise. It was about 4:45 by then and I had to pick up my prescriptions before the pharmacy closed at five. I very rarely leave the house and when I do I always have several things to take care of. I was hurrying to the pharmacy, and heading toward me were two of my dearest and closest friends, Jimmy and Susan Merrill. Because we were in Kentucky so much of the time, I hadn't seen them in over two years. Susan has a health problem that keeps her housebound most of the time and this was one of the rare occasions that she had gone out. She told me they had been already finished their shopping and were just walking around when they saw me.

We arranged to meet in the deli after I picked up my prescriptions. It was so good to see them. Susan and I have been close friends for about twelve years and worked together at the cable company. We talked (and cried and hugged) for over an hour and a half. After I left them, I went to the hardware department to buy a padlock. I was standing there and heard a man ask if he could help me. I looked up and it was the man from the paint department who had befriended Luke and me just before Christmas when he had mixed some paint for us. We had talked with him a long time that day. He had gotten a five-gallon can of paint for Luke to sit on while we talked. While they were still talking I had gone to pick up a couple of other things. When I got back to the paint department, Skip told me Luke had been telling him about how we knew each other in high school and had met again forty years later. I felt so proud.

God said he would never leave us nor forsake us, but I have felt lately like He has forsaken me. He never answers when I ask him why He took Luke from me so soon, and when I ask for His help in pulling myself out of this terrible hole of depression, I never feel His presence. I believe with all my heart that God sent those people to me today. No, I still don't know why God took Luke from me, but He did answer my prayer today about sending me somebody to talk to.

Luke told me after we got married that I had been his guardian angel for a long time. He said that in 1981 when he was almost killed in the mine accident, he willed himself to live so he could find me someday. Luke said he really believed that was why he pulled through. Maybe I have a guardian angel, too. Maybe his name is Luke Eldridge.

Kathleen McCoy Eldridge© May 18, 2002 All Rights Reserved