“Isolated, but Not Alone,” Ensign, Oct. 1987, 41
I had been working in the Hayden, Arizona, telephone office in 1920 when I heard that my father, who lived alone in the Animas Valley of New Mexico, was not very well. My sister Cora and I decided to go there to help him.
We had been with him for more than a year when his arthritis got so bad he couldn’t get out of bed. He had twenty cows and ten horses, but no windmill to draw water for them from a twenty-five-foot well. After he became bedridden, my sister and I watered the animals by hand, chopped mesquite wood, and took milk to town twice a week.
We were living in his two-room lumber house, which was hard to keep warm in the winter and spring. It was anything but pleasant to stand out in the wind to draw water for the animals. To make matters worse, Cora and I both contracted influenza. I was the only one who was able to keep going, and it was very hard for me to take care of my father and sister and the animals.
One day Cora couldn’t breathe very well and asked me to help her outside. As I did, she fell to the ground in a faint. I revived her by rubbing her arms and neck, then helped her back to the door. As I let go of her to open it, she fainted again. I finally got her back in bed, but the situation was getting desperate. There were only a few ranches in the valley, and no one had been by in a long while. We had no telephone—no way to let anyone know we needed help. We had a car, but I was not able to crank it up to start it. I was afraid to leave my father and sister alone anyway, so I pleaded with the Lord to send some of the neighbors by the help us.
That afternoon I looked out and saw a car coming from the east. I knew it was not any of the neighbors. I guessed it was some stranger crossing the valley who could not be any help to me. But when the car got to our gate, it turned into the yard and stopped. My father’s sister and her brother-in-law got out of the car and came into the house. I was puzzled to see them and afraid they were bringing more bad news of some kind.
When they discovered how sick we were, Aunt Edith, who had come prepared to stay, went back out to the car and got her clothes. I asked her how she had known we needed help. She told me that my mother, who had been dead for more than fifteen years, had come to her three times the night before. She had looked so worried that Aunt Edith had known we needed help. Because Aunt Edith didn’t have a car, she had called her brother-in-law and had asked him to bring her the more than fifty miles to our place.
Aunt Edith was a good nurse and a good cook, and she soon had us going again. Ten days later we were able to take her back home to Franklin, Arizona.