1995
Alone and Freezing
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“Alone and Freezing,” Ensign, Dec. 1995, 57–59

Alone and Freezing

It was a week before Christmas, and I was finishing my day’s work. The half-moon in the sky was shining on the snow as I fed the animals and then brought an armload of wood into the house. The thermometer read fifteen degrees. I sat down to read the paper as I do every evening. It was warm and cozy, and the Christmas tree lights seemed to make the room more comfortable than usual.

Then the thought came to me, “You haven’t done your home teaching yet.” It’s very cold tonight, I protested, and I haven’t made arrangements with my young companion. I settled back to read, but once again the thought came to me, “You had better go home teaching.” Realizing it was a prompting from the Spirit, I put aside the paper and called David Kunz, my home teaching partner, who agreed to go with me.

At the Baxter home I noticed Brother Baxter’s truck was gone. Sister Baxter looked worried. “Where’s Lyman?” I asked.

“My husband went fishing this afternoon up at the reservoir and hasn’t returned yet. I’m really concerned,” she said.

“Let’s go see if we can find him,” I suggested to David.

We left immediately and drove to the Lamont Reservoir, a mile or so from town. On the south side of the reservoir we noticed a brown pickup truck parked about thirty feet from the water’s edge. As we pulled up behind it, we noticed the engine was running.

“Can you see Lyman?” I asked.

“I think he’s under the truck!” David exclaimed. “I can see his feet sticking out.”

We jumped out and ran to him. “Lyman, what’s the problem?” I heard a faint moan.

We pulled him out from under his truck and noticed that his hands and head were scraped and bleeding. His clothes were wet and nearly frozen, and he was almost unconscious. I opened the truck door and said, “Let’s try to get him inside.” The weight of his limp body and wet, frozen clothes made this task very difficult.

“You drive my truck, and I’ll drive Lyman’s,” I told David. As we drove, I tried to get Lyman to talk. “Tell me what happened,” I said.

He only mumbled, “… don’t know … sure cold!”

As we pulled into the Baxter driveway, Sister Baxter hurried out to the truck and said, “Lyman, should we take you to the hospital?”

“No, just help me into the house.” As his feet touched the ground, his legs collapsed, so we carried him in and helped him out of his wet clothes and into bed.

The next morning I drove back to the reservoir and found the fishing pole—with a trout hooked firmly to the line! I stopped by the Baxters to give Lyman his fishing pole, complete with fish. “What happened last night?” I asked him.

He had stepped from his warm truck, he said, to check his fishing rod. As he stooped to pick it up, his leg slipped and buckled, pitching him into the water. The shock of the icy water immediately paralyzed him from the chest down. He grabbed at the sharp rocks along the water’s edge, cutting his hands and face, and finally managed to drag himself up the embankment and over to his truck. Once there, he was too weak to get in. He pulled himself under the truck, hoping for warmth from the running motor.

And there we had found him, just in time to save his life. Our Christmas gift to the Baxter family that year was a simple willingness to put aside the warm comfort of a fire on a cold evening and follow the promptings of the Spirit to do our home teaching.

  • Leness Keller is stake auditor and a Gospel Doctrine teacher in the Preston Eighth Ward, Franklin Idaho Stake.