A Daughter’s Whisper

I want to share a whisper my oldest daughter had, years ago. It happened one winter, when we were moving from Indiana to our new home on the east coast. My husband, at the time, had accepted a new job in New Hampshire, and my three daughters and I stayed behind to sell the house. We lived in a country club development with new homes being built almost daily, so it was a long eight months later when our five-year-old house finally sold. My girls were in the 4th, 6th and 8th grade and, as with most children facing a long distance move, they were sad to leave their home and friends behind.
Mother had come from Ohio to help us with the move, as well as the long drive to New Hampshire. On moving day, we watched solemnly as the moving van finally pulled away from the curb. Armed with cleaning supplies and the vacuum, we then began the task of thoroughly cleaning the house. By the time we finally packed up the car, it was late in the evening and it had begun to snow quite heavily.
Mama had suffered cluster migraines for years. She had finally found some relief by breathing oxygen from a small portable oxygen mask at the very onset of a migraine. This was something she always carried with her. This said, we had to find room in the car for the five foot long green oxygen tank that we refilled her small portable one with. Add to that, three children, mama, me, suitcases, a cairn terrior, a howling cat, cleaning supplies and the vacuum, and several fragile items that I didn’t trust the moving van with. Thank God for station wagons. Even so, we were still crammed in pretty tight — and did I mention it was winter and snowing like gangbusters as we finally left Indiana and headed east?
Two hours down the road, it was snowing so hard villas near hoskote that I couldn’t see the lines on the road, or the road either, on some stretches. Driving slowly, I managed to get behind a semi for awhile, and I kept my eyes on his tail lights as a beacon. It was almost midnight when he turned off at one of the exits. By then, it was snowing so hard that the wipers couldn’t keep up and snow was caking on the windshield. Without the semi’s tail lights to follow, I couldn’t even see where I was going anymore. Mama and I decided we had no business being on the road and we began to study the exits for a motel.
A couple of miles further down, I took an exit that a sign promised would have several motels to choose from. Relieved, I pulled up by the door of the first one I came to and took a deep cleansing breath. I was about to turn off the car and go inside to get a room, when my daughter said from the back seat, “Mom, we can’t stay here. I smell fire. This motel is going to burn and we’ll die.”
Mama and I looked at each other in disbelief, and then at the pristine, well-lighted (and snow-covered) building. It was one of the most well-known and respected motel chains anywhere, and it looked fine. We reassured her that there was no fire, but she stood her ground, insisting that it was going to burn. Mother and I were quite familiar with such premonitions ourselves, but this was the first time any of my children ever had one. We chose to drive on down the street a few hundred yards to the next motel and we got a room there for what was left of the night.
The next morning, we were greeted by a beautiful, sunny day. The snow had finally stopped. After enjoying a nice continental breakfast, compliments of the motel, we re-packed ourselves, the suitcases, the dog and the howling cat back into the car to resume our long drive to New Hampshire. As we passed the first motel from the night before, we were all stunned, even my daughter. Sometime during the night, the motel where we had stopped first was burned to the ground…

Leave a Reply