Saving Grace

Vinman By Vinman, 17th Apr 2011 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>True Stories

A true story of one old carpenters efforts to save a child from danger, only to be rescued himself.


Several years ago, John-a contractor, was framing a custom two story home, in an upscale neighborhood. Being short a crew-member, he “volunteered,” his old man to help the crew finish out an attached porch.

While nailing off the roof sheathing, the old man delights in the sight of a young child playing in an adjoining yard. Her laughter quickly turns to terror, when she finds herself in trouble. The old man, hearing the screams of a young child, rushes to the rescue, only to be rescued himself.

Cold, but promising

The crew arrived at 7:30AM, on a Saturday. It was late winter. Snow was piled knee deep around the perimeter of the new home. The wind was blowing hard out of the Northeast, and the cold chill, cut through the crew like a knife. It was a miserable start to a miserable day. The only good news, was that the weatherman was calling for a warming trend.

Luke Warm

The main house was framed & dried in. All that was left, was to build the rear porch. The miserable weather was even worse, on the shaded backside of the home. Work progressed slowly, but by early afternoon, the sun was peaking through the clouds and the temperature was rising. In a word, the day was becoming Luke warm.

Some of the crew jumped for joy at the warmer weather, but not the old man. He had been around the proverbial block a few times and knew what was to come. With the warm weather came thawing. Cold, wet, snow on the roof, began to thaw and drip down off the roof eave, and down their necks.

Frozen ground which had been easy to walk on, turned into a sea of mud. Legs ached, from dragging pounds of brown goo, from here to there and back again. Boots became wet, then socks. Feet turned numb from the cold mud that caked their boots.

At noon, the cold and tired crew, retreated to the warmth of their pickup trucks to dry out and eat lunch.
While the young guns finished the trim, the old man was sent up to the roof to nail off the plywood sheathing. He had the better job. Though the temperature was rising, the youngsters, still had to work in the cold of the shade, while the old man worked in the warmth of the sun.

Shirley Temple

The old carpenter, had barely started his work, when he heard a commotion, coming from the backyard, of the house next door. The faint shadow of a female, just inside an open patio door, ushered a young girl outside, onto a small concrete patio. A few unintelligible words were spoken, then the door closed shut with a thud.

John's dad, was a bit taken aback. Although the sun was out, the wind was still blowing and the temperature, couldn't have been much above forty degrees. A bit cold for a young kid to go outside and play he thought. Still, she appeared to be well dressed for the weather.

The child reminded him of a young Shirley Temple. Large blond curls, hung beneath a bright pink floppy rain hat. Her chubby cheeks, were as pink as her hat, and even from his roof location, he could hear, her giggle. White leggings-protecting tiny legs, protruded beneath a bright pink raincoat. Her hands were covered with pink mittens & her feet in pink rubber boots. In one hand, she carried a bright orange plastic pail, replete with a tiny plastic shovel.

Mud Cakes

There was nothing outside to play with, other than a ridge of snow at the patios edge. At any moment, he thought the mother might come back outside and watch the little girl, or at least hand her some toys to play with. The old man continued his work, but also kept an eye on the playful little girl. She was a thing of beauty, in an otherwise dull winter landscape.

After a few minutes, he noticed she was trying to scoop the small mound of snow into her plastic pail, but it was frozen solid. Suddenly she stepped off the concrete, right into the sea of mud, that was an unfinished backyard. She quickly sank, several inches, into the brown goo. He continued to work, but kept watching. Surely her mother, was watching all this, from inside the home.

Minutes passed. The sweet, young thing, loaded her pail with mud and deposited it on the patio. In all, she managed to make five mud cakes. The old man laughed. “Wait till her mother, sees that mess!” He thought to himself.

Off to Explore

The boys, called the old carpenter off the roof, to help with a project. After twenty minutes or so, he returned to the roof. As he climbed up the ladder, he took another glance into the neighbors yard. This time, the young child had made her way, almost to the fence at the rear of the property. The poor young thing, had sunk so deep in the mud, that her boots came off her feet. Unfazed, she continued towards the fence, sans her boots.

Danger Zone

The old man grew concerned and hollered down at the crew, for someone to go get her and take her back to the patio. There was no response. Unknown to him, the boys had gone around front to do some other work, and could not hear his calls.

The old man descended the ladder, and took off across the sea of mud, towards the little girl. He was disturbed that the mother or someone else in the house, was not watching her. Every step, was as if wading through a sea of molasses.

As he slowly slogged forward through the mass of brown goo, he spotted the young girl heading for a series of valves that stuck up out of the ground. From experience, the old man knew that it was a pressure irrigation system, hooked to an underground pipe. He also knew that the thawing weather would make the ditch hazardous, if anyone stepped on it.

A Sinking Feeling

The child reached the irrigation valve, before he did. As soon as she stepped next to it, she began to sink, as if sucked down into quicksand. In desperation, she cried out for her mother. Within minutes the old man was next to her, and also sinking. He found himself knee-deep, in cold, gooey mud, holding the screaming child under her armpits. Unable to free either the girl or himself, he began to holler for help.

To the Rescue

Just as the boys came to the rescue, the mother appeared at the patio. She was screaming at the top off her lungs, for the safety of her daughter. It took all three boys and some wooden planks to free the old man and the child. After fifteen minutes or so, the child was reunited with her mother.

As the mom stripped the child of her muddy clothes she turned to the old man.

“I didn't know what was going on at first...but thanks for saving Grace,” She said.

As the crew started to leave, the mother turned back and added.

“I expect all of you to come back when it dries out, and repair the damage to my yard”

Dejected, the crew left for home, but the old man put a positive spin on things.

“Didn't you guys get the meaning of today’s events?” He asked.

Puzzled, they shrugged their shoulders.

“We saved Grace today!...Saving Grace, SAVING GRACE! GET IT!

Tired, cold and hungry, the old man left for home. As he drove away, he had a smile on his face and a good feeling in his heart.

Copyright © 2011, By R.H. Vincent


Child, Construction, Dangerous, Dangerous Place, Winter

Meet the author

author avatar Vinman
Retired Contractor, 3 sons, 4 grand-kids. Will write on construction, remodeling, kids, personal and humorous stories, military, anything else, that I take an interest in.

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author avatar Denise O
17th Apr 2011 (#)

What a sweet story, with a great message too boot. Well done. Thank you for sharing.:)

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author avatar Vinman
18th Apr 2011 (#)

your Welcome ;)

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