October is sandwiched in the middle of Fall. Some areas of the country are already enjoying colorful displays of God’s creativity as trees change their leaf color. Other states will be experiencing the pallet of God’s beauty in the days ahead.
Whether there are leaves on your yard or not, it’s a good time to find out what happens in our story of Grammy Horder’s Hotel, so read on.
You’ll recall last month both Grammy Horder and Melissa were expectantly interrupted with sudden screams from outside. Quickly hurrying to the front porch, they saw Ginny running toward them, frantically waving her arms.
“Help, oh, please help! Adrianna’s fallen into a deep hole!”
There wasn’t time for gasps or questions. Grammy Horder and Melissa were the only adults home, and the men were too far away to hear a call for help. It was up to them to do something.
Melissa and Ginny ran ahead of Grammy. With her age and matronly figure, Grammy wasn’t as fast as she had once been.
Ginny was trying to hold it together. “Adrianna was running ahead of me laughing, and then all of a sudden she was gone from sight!” Sobs of despair overtook Ginny as she buried her hands in her face.
The women reached the place where Adrianna had fallen and leaned over the hole trying to get a glimpse of her.
“Melissa, you’ll have to go into the hole!” Grammy told her. “I can’t do it, and with Ginny being pregnant, she shouldn’t. You’re small enough to fit down there.”
“Oh, I couldn’t…” Melissa again peered into the hole, her eyes big with fear. “I…I…couldn’t.”
“Mommy! Mommy!” Adrianna cried.
Ginny gasped. “Oh, my baby! Mommy’s here, sweetie!”
Grammy put her arms on Melissa’s shoulders and looked her in the eye. “Melissa, you have to do this. Don’t consider the past. You can do this!”
Melissa shook her head. “You don’t understand. It was my fault that my little sister died. I put her in her highchair, and when she reached for something, the highchair fell over. She hit her head and never regained consciousness. I was supposed to watch her…”
“It was an accident, Melissa,” Grammy told her as she put her arm around her. “That was then. You’re the only one who can help little Adrianna now.”
“I don’t know if I can….” she gulped, unable to finish the sentence.
“Mommy! Come get me. I don’t like it down here. My feet are wet, and someone’s throwing dirt on me!”
Ginny frantically looked at Melissa. “Please help her!”
Grammy reached for Ginny’s hand. “There’s water in there, and the hole could cave in. We’ll have to work fast.”
“Can you stand up, sweetie?” Ginny asked her.
“My feet are cold, Mommy. I keep slipping, and falling into the water.”
Melissa looked at Ginny’s frantic expression, took a deep breath, and then gathered her long dress and petticoats between her legs. She tucked them into her waistband and leaned over the opening of the hole.
“Adrianna! When you see my feet, move out of the way. I’m coming to get you!” Melissa slid down slowly over the edge and into the hole just as some of the dirt gave way.
“Is she okay?” Ginny asked, kneeling by the hole.
“I think so,” Melissa responded. “It is really slippery down here. If I can lift her up, can you reach her arms?”
“We’ll try!” Grammy told her, slowly getting on her knees.
Just when two little hands appeared they immediately disappeared and Melissa screamed.
“Are you all right?” Grammy hollered.
“I slipped. It’s really muddy and slippery down here,” Melissa answered. “I’ll try again but I need something to stand on so I won’t slip as much.”
“All right,” Grammy responded. “Just hold on and we’ll find something.”
Grammy and Ginny located as many thick branches as they could carry. Dropping them into the hole, Melissa was able to stack them in place. Standing on the pile of sticks, she tried again to lift Adrianna above her head. This time Adrianna’s arms and elbows were visible right at the opening. Ginny and Grammy struggled to reach Adrianna’s arms. Very slowly they pulled her up.
While Ginny held Adrianna, Grammy tried to help Melissa by lowering a larger tree branch down to her. After several times of slipping back down, Melissa finally was able to make it out.
“Oh, I can’t thank you enough, Melissa!” Ginny said, tears running down her cheeks. “You saved my daughter’s life!”
Melissa smiled as she attempted to wipe the dirt and mud from her hands and dress. “I didn’t think I could do it!”
“But you did!” Grammy confirmed. “You saved Adrianna!”
“And we’re so grateful!” Ginny hugged Melissa and then Adrianna again.
“Land sakes!” Grammy exclaimed, shaking her apron and wiping her hands. “We’s sure a mess! Tomorrow I’ll have the men block the well so no one else falls in and gets trapped. But for now, let’s go home!”
The house was quiet. Ginny and Adrianna had cleaned up and gone home. Everyone was fine other than a few scraps and scratches. Grammy Horder and Melissa had just poured some tea when the men returned, unaware of the heroic rescue that had just taken place.
“Melissa! What happened to you?” Jonathan asked noticing her disheveled hair and the mud all over her dress and some still on her face.
A quick update from two chattering women brought the men to laughter. “You sound like all those chickens we just saw!” Jonathan laughed. “They were noisy and all over the place! I’m sure glad everyone’s fine now, but I know I don’t want to raise chickens, Melissa.” He put his arm around her shoulder, hugging her.
“Me neither, Jonathan,” Melissa said, taking his hand. “Let’s go for a walk.”
Late afternoon shadows lengthened as the sun slowly sank over the tall pine trees. Grammy Horder was stirring the pot of beans for supper when the front door slammed.
“Sorry, Grammy!” Hollis said. “But I didn’t let any chickens in this time!”
Grammy shook her head and laughed, but Hollis had already hurried upstairs. She turned around expecting to see him, but instead saw Jonathan and Melissa. “I was just fixing to call you to supper,” she told them giving the pot another stir.
Melissa smiled and gave her a hug. “We just wanted to thank you for your help and tell you we’ve made some decisions.”
Jonathan interrupted. “Tomorrow we’re going on to Raleigh to adopt our baby.”
“Oh, that’s wonderful!” Grammy exclaimed, hugging them both. “You have peace now, and you’re both ready, aren’t you?
“Yes!” they said in unison, grinning.
Melissa added as she hugged Grammy again. “You helped me face my fears and realize the guilt I’d held onto for so many years drained my confidence and only kept me in fear. I know God isn’t mad at me and that He loves me and wants us to have a family. I feel more confident to be a mother now.” She looked at Jonathan. “Stopping here was the best thing that could have happened to us!”
Grammy nodded, motioning for them to sit down at the table as she passed the cornbread and dished up the beans. “I’m so glad! But I only helped you see what was possible. You’ll both make wonderful parents!”