Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Write in the MYSTERY genre (04/05/07)
TITLE: The Story of a Stranger
By Marita Vandertogt
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It took place during World War II, in Holland, in a small house on a street where my grandmother lived. She was a young mother at the time, with four children and a run away husband
My aunt told me stories about the war when I was growing up. About the town they lived in, the noise of war planes overhead, the black clouds that blocked the rays of the sun like a big black hand, sliding across its prey.
She was 11 when the war started, and maybe still young enough to accept what life threw at her without questioning the why, at least she never talked about the why. Anyway, to her the events were matter of fact, everyday. To me, they played like a black and white movie in an old, dark theater, unreal somehow, as she read from her script of memories.
But this one event stays in my mind, one that to her, still has no explanation, at least not in the physical realm.
Because of the war, Holland was a hungry place. Just to get a loaf of bread on the table, tulip bulbs were crushed to make the flour. And when the bread came out of the ovens, it was heavy, pasty. And often there wasn’t enough of even that. So they went hungry a lot, my aunt told me, in her thick dutch accent. Until one day, she said.
The war had been going on for a few months, the Germans taking over the tiny country, their brown uniforms and guns monitoring the moves of the people, enforcing an early curfew, making life difficult. This one day though, there was a knock on the door of the tiny house. My grandmother opened it after peeking through the curtained window, to find a tall thin gentleman on the other side. The man held a small wrapped parcel in his hand and extended it to my grandmother. She opened the door and took it and thanked him and closed the door. And he went away with just a smile and nod of his head.
When she brought the parcel over to the table, she unrolled the cloth and out came a loaf of bread, real bread, the kind made with real flour. And, my aunt told me the bread tasted like slices from heaven, and it lasted just long enough for him to come again, with the same soft knock on the door, to extend another loaf. He never explained who he was, my aunt said, or who the benefactor was. Nobody had any extra to give away during those days. Eventually, they would just greet him and take the loaf and thank him. And this, my aunt told me, went on until the end of the war. Every week, the loaf of bread came to them. And every week they ate it without question. When the war finally ended, so did the visitation of the tall silent stranger. They never saw him again, even in later years, to thank him.
Like I said, this is a true story, one, that according to my aunt, was never solved. Though as a believer, I think the answer is obvious.
“Are not all angels ministering spirits, sent to serve those who will inherit salvation? (Heb.1:14, NIV)
God was taking care of a mother and her children in desperate times. The story still gives me goose bumps, and encourages my heart to see, not just how God provides, but His very involvement right here with us.
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