It was summer in the small dusty Texas town where Kenny was born. Today is his tenth birthday and after a small but lively celebration with his family he took polite leave to go and do what he did most summer day's. Grabbing up his fishing gear he began the long hike to the river.
The hot morning sun beat down on Kenny as he picked his way between the boulders and crevices along the river's craggy bank. He had come to the river early this morning with hopes of catching enough fish for supper tonight. He would try his luck at a different place today, one he'd heard was fairly teeming with big one's.
Years before his time there had been a large dam across the river here but after days of torrential rain and floods the dam broke sending huge chunks of concrete and steel cascading down the river to settle and is now a part of it's banks. Kenny climbed to the top of a massive piece of concrete to make his way to the fishing hole that pooled on the other side. A feeling of foreboding filled him as he reached the top and stood upright. A sense of danger almost overwhelmed him.
Shrugging off the emotion he gazed along the river's shoreline and saw what he believed was a familiar figure, an old black gentleman he had met once before on one of his outings. From a distance the old man raised an arm and waved. Curiously Kenny waved back, wondering if the old man had recognized him.
Determined to make his way to where the old man was fishing, Kenny began the task of getting across and down the other side of the mammoth hunk of concrete he was standing on. As he gingerly made his way, he came to a fissure in the concrete where it had split leaving a crack several feet wide. He cautiously stepped to the edge and peered over. Below, some thirty feet down was only churning deep water. Up and down, the sides of the opening were almost smooth. He stood upright and judged the distance to the other side. He knew he could leap the distance across but he also knew that failure could spell his doom. There was no way out of the crevice that closed at each end. With a certain confidence he backed up to get a running start at leaping over the crack. Just as he was to begin his leap, he tripped and horrified, plunged headlong into the gapping hole. With a muffled thud he painfully landed astride a steel bar that jutted from one wall of the opening to the other. He grabbed the bar and hung on for his very life. Though bruised he was safe for the moment. But what now? He could not reach the edge at the top and even if he did manage to stand up on the narrow bar, the walls are smooth so there is no chance for him to climb out. He is trapped!
He had told no one where he was going and no one would miss him until evening. By then it would be to late for his rescue. He knew that exhaustion would finally overtake him and he would fall and drown in the churning water below. Suddenly he remembered the old man he had seen, if he could yell loud enough the man may be able to hear him. Kenny screamed until he was finally hoarse and his cries for help became whispers, but no one heard him over the roar of the river, of this he was sure.
After what seemed like hour's and with hope fading, tearfully Kenny began to pray to God for his salvation. He was so very tired and knew he was on the verge of falling. As he prayed he became aware of a shadow over him. Wearily he looked up and saw a gnarled black hand reaching down.
"Grab my hand boy", a voice said. "You can reach it!" With one motion Kenny let go of the bar and with all his might stretched and grabbed the wrinkled hand. The old man slowly but surely pulled Kenny from the jaws of certain death. As he lay on his back staring into the old man's gentle eyes, Kenny asked, "did you hear me yelling?" No boy, the old man replied. I saw you up here earlier and when you never came on down my way, I became curious and wondered if you were all right, so I came to have a look.
After Kenny thanked him over and over the two visited awhile, then the old man pointed Kenny to a safe trail out of there and up to a road that would take him home. Several yards up the trail he turned to wave a final farewell to the old man but there was no one there where the old man had been just a moment ago, there was no one! Kenny walked back down the trail for a better view of the shoreline but could see no one. The river bank was deserted. This shocked him but knowing it was time to go home he left, several times glancing back over his shoulder looking for the old man.
Arriving home, Kenny quickly ran to his mother and excitedly told her the entire story of his rescue by an old man he had met one day while fishing. After she scolded him for getting into such a predicament, she asked him to describe the man. As best he could Kenny began his description and before he had finished his mother interrupted saying, "son, I know that old man you are describing but it could not have been him, he passed away only yesterday."
Kenny's Angel ©Written by: Kenneth J. Ellison 03-06-07