Sunday, May 02, 2010

Steve and Buford, Warrior Angels

I don’t believe in wimpy angels. I believe in warrior angels. You notice in the Bible when an angel appears to someone, the first thing he says is, “Do not be afraid.” Think about that a little bit! Those are the kind of angels I want protecting me!

Here’s the story.

Two directionally challenged little old ladies awaiting a morning flight out to Houston, were stuck overnight in a strange city (Atlanta), following a three day conference. But we (me and friend, Stephanie) discovered a wonderful thing – the Astros were playing the Braves that very night at Turner Field... with Friday Night Fireworks to follow!

Sooooo….adventuresome duo that we were….we decided to save ourselves a twenty dollar taxi ride and catch all sorts of mass transit (hereto after called Marta) to the stadium…both ways. Praying first for protection, and the company of angels, off we went. First take the hotel shuttle to the airport. Then hop on Marta, some sort of partially underground express bullet light rail train thingy, to the hub at 5 Points station. Then disembark and wind our way through Underground Atlanta with its mixture of tattoo and piercing parlors (a little bit scary even in daylight), faithfully following the “Braves Shuttle” signs to a Marta City Bus that deposited us at the corner of Abernathy and Pollard…right in front of the stadium. PIECE OF CAKE.

On our grand adventure we saw, stalked, got a picture of, and actually touched the Braves legend Tom Glavine as he departed from the press box; Stephanie, cheering enthusiastically, almost got punched out by a punk 20 year old Braves fan in need of anger management classes; and I almost caught a t shirt thrown into the crowd by Jane, the blond and overly smiley Braves drill team personality. So after a wonderful time, but not so wonderful game, it was quite late and time to head home. In the dark.

PIECE OF CAKE IN REVERSE. Quick prayer for protection and company of angels. Uh…find Abernathy and Pollard. Board Marta City Bus. Pray we don’t have to walk through the Atlanta Underground alone. Board the Marta light rail thingy at 5 Points station. Return to airport. Board hotel shuttle back to hotel. PIECE OF CAKE, sort of.

Sitting on a concrete bench in the subway, or whatever it was, with 19 minutes until arrival of the Marta train, we began to notice there weren’t many little old ladies like us in the neighborhood. 18 minutes to go. We looked up and there stood two tall, very muscular, gentlemen sporting crew cuts and Braves t shirts a few feet from our bench. They weren’t really talking, just sort of standing there very straight and tall. 17 minutes. 16. 15. 12. Never flinching or moving, not even their heads, they occasionally appeared to be scanning the area as they stood there. They literally never moved. Just their eyes scanned, side to side, as a variety of neighborhood characters strolled by. 3 minutes. 2 minutes. 45 seconds. Stephanie and I stood up to move towards the expected train. They followed.

The door we were headed for was pretty crowded, so I turned quickly and headed to a different one. Stephanie, seeing the gentlemen heading a different direction, said out loud, “We just lost our angels,” then turned around and they were boarding the train immediately behind her. By this time we were smiling.

The train was so crowded, we had to stand. They stood behind us.
After a few stops, people got off and we found seats. They sat behind us.
We were still smiling.

The very last stop was the airport. It was just about midnight. We were kind of just dumped out on a platform and left to figure out where in the world to go from there. We went one way, then circled back, when one of our angels (I’ll call him, Steve) asked us how to get to the hotel shuttles. (Asked us? HA!) Redirected, we followed him down an escalator and chatted briefly. His friend, (I’ll call him, Buford, in honor of the Buford Highway that we passed everyday on the way to the conference), never said a word. Not one word.

Told him we were from Houston and had been to the game tonight. He said they were from San Antonio. We asked, “Military?” He said, “When you’ve been in as long as we have, it’s hard to hide it.” Asked him what hotel he was staying at, so we could help find the right shuttle. Hmmmm…he couldn’t remember at all.

At the bottom of the escalator, we turned to find the restrooms. They stood there watching until we disappeared. We still haven’t stopped smiling.

Psalm 91: 11 – 12 For He will give His angels charge concerning you, to guard you in all your ways. They will bear you up in their hands that you do not strike your foot against a stone.