Part 8 of A True Story by J. C. Corcoran
We arrived in Fort Worth, Texas shortly after the lunch hour and I drove straight to the seminary so we could have a look around. As soon as I pulled into the parking lot of the Student Center, the old car began choking and sputtering and steam started pouring out from under the hood. It was August, 1988 and the temperature was in the nineties and the humidity was close behind.
The second I popped the hood up and the steam hit me, I was drenched in sweat. I saw the break in the hose immediately but everything was too hot to touch so I suggested we all go inside the Student Center for some cold refreshment.
We had only been inside for less than ten minutes when a young man came up to us and asked if that was our car. When I told him what was wrong he said he just happened to have the right tools to pull that hose off. After we removed the hose, he offered and drove me to the car parts store. My wife and kids waited at the Center.
I’m ashamed to admit that I forget that young man’s name, but I have to be honest; and he was extremely helpful and the car was repaired within the hour. We drove back toward the interstate and found a motel. As soon as we unloaded the luggage, Joan started showers and I went looking for a newspaper. We had to get busy looking for a place to live.
The second day, I left the family off at the Student Center while I checked in at admissions. The people there were quite friendly and suggested I begin checking the bulletin boards along several hallways for rentals, cars, and anything else you can imagine for sale.
That day I did find several of the text books I would need but no house. I returned to the Student Center and informed my family that I had just registered for a full load of classes. I reminded them that our check would be arriving soon and my wife said that she wanted to start cutting hair for students as soon as we found a place to live.
I don’t mind telling you that I was a little frightened of carrying a full load of study. I mean, after all, I was 48 years old and hadn’t been in school since I was seventeen. We had a lot of praying to do.
On the third day we found it. It was just three blocks from the Student Center and the owner was a former seminary student, which meant he knew how money poor we were. He allowed us to move in to the three bedroom house with a month’s rent and a small cleaning deposit.
We began unloading the trailer that very afternoon. While we were busy unloading the neighbor from across the road came to meet us and invited us to have some lunch at their home. Again, I have to admit that I do not recall their names except that his name was Orville.
They were retired missionaries from Mexico; both of them now in their sixties. Orville was a strong man who did strong man stunts as a part of his ministry. One of his stunts, that I recall them telling us about, was how he would tug a full sized vehicle an entire block by tying his hair with a strap, hooking the other end to the car’s bumper, and pull it the length of a full block.
Orville had suffered a severe stroke a few years earlier and they retired and moved here to fort Worth. His once strong body was now all crippled up but his mind was still as sharp as a tack. They were a marvelous couple; with a great sense of humor and compassion.
The old car finally gave up. Just a few days after moving in, it quit and a neighbor, who was a mechanic, told me it was beyond repair unless I wanted to invest in a new motor. I knew the check from the insurance company would be arriving soon and I was more interested in buying a good used one.
But what would we do until then? How could we go for groceries, or any shopping for that matter, without a car? The nearest church was too far to get to with 4 young girls, so how would we get to church?
It was the second day of classes and I always started my day with a word from God and prayer. So this day, before leaving for class, I prayed and asked God to provide a way. And then it was time for me to leave for classes. As I walked out onto the porch, I noticed Orville limping towards me.
I stepped down to the sidewalk and we shook hands and Orville handed me a set of keys. He didn’t ask me if I wanted them or if I needed them; he just handed me the keys to his big Chrysler and said; “We are waiting for a cab; we are leaving for a visit to Mexico, and I don’t want to leave my car sitting there for three weeks. I would like you to use it, keep it running; don’t worry about the mileage, use it for whatever.” Just like that, God had answered my prayer and provided a vehicle.
The three weeks passed quickly and, just two days before Orville and his wife returned, our check arrived from the lawyer. We drove to the used car lot which we had already decided on and bought a car. Remember now, this was 1988 and we were able to get a nice small sized station wagon for just a little over three thousand dollars. The rest of the money would last until the end of the semester and I could find a job.
That was the plan anyway but, apparently, God had other plans and if you come back next week you’ll see what I mean. Believe me, what happened next is something I never would have expected.
Have a good week and may God bless you and keep you in the palm of His hands