Art Pierpont was my Grandfather’s youngest brother. Grandpa died over thirty years ago in the fall of 1980. His brother Art is from New York state. A couple summers ago we had a long talk. He told me some things about my grandfather I had never heard before. It was a fascinating conversation.
He could tell I was a story-gatherer. Before we ended our conversation he said, “Kenny, sometimes truth is stranger than fiction, you know?” I could see he had a story to tell.
“Tell me more,” I said.
This is the way he told the story:
“ ‘I have a son who works in a Christian School in Anchorage, Alaska. I was going to spend some time with him and there were a few things he wanted me to bring him from the lower 48, so I planned a road-trip in my van. I travel with my dog. We drove from our home in Beaver Falls, New York to Newark, Ohio. It was a 600 mile trip. All went well. The trip from Newark would take me across the continental United States and up the ALCAN Highway into Canada.
In Newark I stopped to visit some family and schedule an alignment for the van. He started out of town at nine o’clock in the morning.
The Lord was with me. I was as if I didn’t miss a single traffic light all the way across the northern US and into Canada. About three-hundred miles south of Anchorage things started going wrong.
I had to wait in line for a shower and breakfast then I forgot to get a biscuit and egg for my dog. I had to wait in line again. I was over an hour late getting out of town. Driving north on the highway I just told the Lord about it. “Lord, I know you are in control of everything. What do you have in mind for me today?”
As soon as the payer escaped by lips I drove over a rise in the road the there was an airplane sitting in the middle of the road. It had made an emergency landing just minutes before and the pilot was getting out of the plane. He came walking toward me. I got out of the van and walked toward him. Now what do you think the chances would be that I would know the pilot?
I said, “Well hello, Jim.”
“Art Pierpont, what brings you out this way?”
“Looks like the Lord arranged our little meeting here. Could you use some help.”
“Well, our prop broke and I had to make an emergency landing. I am flying these two young women from Canton, Ohio to Alaska to teach in the Christian school I have all their luggage here and I’m not sure quite what to do.”
“Well, let’s get the luggage over here in the van and I can take the women from here. We can take a look at that prop and see if we can get your plane off the highway here.”
We all drove back to town for a hacksaw and I sawed off the good prop to match the broken prop so Jim could get the plane off the highway to where it could be repaired.
I took the women to school in time for them to start their new jobs.’ ”
The world is full of people who read about adventures, watch documentaries and read books and watch movies about adventures. They plan adventures and dream about adventures and talk about adventures, but most people lead pretty ordinary and uneventful lives. I can tell you from personal experience that serving the Lord is an adventure, even if you don’t live in Alaska. You never know what God is going to arrange. Even when things go badly his plans cannot be frustrated.
Uncle Art seemed to be in good health when we talked. We planned to talk again but we never would. Within a month he died. We’ll trade adventure stories one day.
January 24, 2011