The Glasgow Courier - Serving Proudly As The Voice Of Valley County Since 1913

By Helen Depuydt
Saco Stories 

All This and Angels Too

 


The headlines read: "Well-Known Educator Killed in Car Accident."

But there was much more to that. Russell Grandel, geologist, his wife, Mary Ellen, R.N., along with their nearly 2-year-old son, Frazier, were hit by this man who came at them from the opposite lane.

The Grandels were just moving into their newly-purchased home in the valley of Palmer, Alaska, and had decided to take a break by driving to nearby Wasilla.

Russell, my son-in-law, saw the vehicle coming at them, but couldn’t completely avoid it. The impact was terrific. All the Grandels wore seatbelts, yet injuries were serious. Russell telephoned here to Montana to let us know that Mary Ellen, our daughter, was seriously injured – losing her unborn baby, also requiring her femur replaced by a steel one. One of her hands painfully sustained injury which required surgery, plus extensive physical therapy. Her head was scalped.

One can imagine the screaming during the bloody onslaught.

Russell sustained a broken jaw and leg injuries, which left him limping, even in later years.

Surprisingly, little Frazier, who had been sitting next to the passenger door, sustained only scratches on his forehead.

Sometime after this event, Frazier was telling his dad about the angels in the trees and also mentioned his guardian angel’s name.

Russell asked, “Where did you see this, Frazier?” Frazier answered, “It was where the fire trucks were and our truck was hurt.” This all in his limited vocabulary.

When Frazier was out of hearing distance, Russell inquired of Mary Ellen, “Have you been telling Frazier about angels and his guardian angel?” “No,” she admitted, “but I suppose I should have.”

Members of both sides of the family alternated in assisting the Grandels in the period of recuperation. An aunt from Montana relates the following incident when she was with Frazier outside while he was doing as little boys love to do, play with their miniature dirt-moving equipment.

Aunt Colleen asked Frazier, “Aren’t you afraid to be out here by yourself?” (This is Alaska, with an abundance of trees and moose a plenty.) “No, I’m not afraid, cause there are angels in the trees.”

“Well,” Aunt Colleen said, “I sure don’t see any angels!” Frazier would become most frustrated because nobody, but nobody, ever saw the angels – then Frazier no longer, nor anybody else, recalled the name of Frazier’s guardian angel.

Surely, the good Lord had his hand in this – sending angels when the Grandel family was undergoing a very traumatic accident.

P.S. The driver of the other vehicle had a record of blackouts and therefore should never have been driving.

Helen DePuydt is a regular contributor to the Courier and a member of a homesteading family in the Saco area. All of her stories are true.

 

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