Snow Angel (Bill Dighton)
Published on Sunday, January 1, 2012 in Guest Columns, News & Updates
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It was like a scene in a Hollywood movie; a trip that probably shouldn’t have happened, a near death experience and a renewed faith in humanity. On a trip last February, Rich Murray and myself had all these things happen to us and here is the story.

The first two days of our trip were enjoyable but relatively uneventful, the third day turned out to be anything but. We left from Medway, Maine on our way to Milo and ran into a blizzard. As avid snowmobilers we knew better than to ride in such bad weather, but our enthusiasm and arrogance got the better of us. As we rode that day, we were following a trail across a potato field with snow so deep it blew over the windshield. Suddenly, I lost sight and drove off the trail and buried my machine. It took the two of us about a half hour to dig my sled out and exhausted us both. In my younger days this wouldn’t have been such an issue but now that I am 61 and on an insulin pump, it became a very serious issue.

At the time I had only been using the insulin pump for about two weeks and didn’t fully understand how to use it. After digging my sled out, I was exhausted and my sugar level was dangerously low. I needed food quickly or I could have gone into diabetic shock while riding, and died on the trail. Thankfully, God provides us with angels and I found one in the nick of time.

Rich and I followed signs that led us toward food, and as it turned out, our angels. We arrived at the Wildwoods Trailside Cabins, Lodge & Restaurant in Brownsville, Maine but they were closed that day. My heart sank as I stood on the front porch and checked my blood sugar level to see it was at 37, a number I will never forget, because it is supposed to be between 80 and 120. As we stood there for a moment and tried to figure out our next move, the owner Paul Szidat, came toward us and said, “Sorry guys, we’re closed on Mondays.” I explained to him that I was diabetic and in bad shape. Fortunately for me he was well aware of the dangers of diabetes because his wife Cheri is also a diabetic.

Paul ran to his wife and explained what was happening and they both rushed back and opened the restaurant. They started giving me orange juice and crackers to help raise my blood sugar level. She immediately started heating up fish chowder and bread to make sure Rich and I warmed up and help my situation improve. If she hadn’t done that I surely would have gone into shock. We sat and talked for a while. I was still a little spacey but was starting to feel much better. They explained that they opened in January of 2008 and have done a lot of work to prepare for their second season. They showed us around and we were impressed with what they have done. In fact, my club has a trip planned there this coming March.

By now it was getting a little late and Rich and I needed to hit the trail if we were going to make it back by dark. Cheri gave me a bag with food and drink in case I started feeling bad again, and I thanked her for all that she had done. Just as we were about to leave Paul asked us how we were doing for gas and we said we needed to fuel up in order to make it back. He informed us that all the gas stations on the route to our motel were closed. He told us to hold on for a minute and ran to the barn, when he returned with two cans of gas and said, “This will get you back”. We thanked him and started back to our motel. If it weren’t for Paul and Cheri there’s no telling what might have become of us.

We made it back to our motel without further incident and continued our trip the next day. When we started to head out the next morning, I asked Rich how much I owed him for paying for the gas and food we had been given. “I didn’t pay them anything, I thought you did,” he said. “I didn’t pay them, I thought you had!” We both laughed and I said I would send them a thank you note and a check once we returned home.

The following day we ran into Paul and Cheri out on the trail. I went and gave her a big hug. By now, I was finally feeling much better and got the chance to tell them how much I really appreciated what they did. I am convinced that without their help, my life surely would have been in danger. I paid them for our gas and they reluctantly accepted. They said they would have done what they did for anybody because it was the right thing to do and hoped someone would do the same for them if Cheri were ever in the same situation.

I found my snow angel on that trip and will never forget her.

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