As many of you know by now, I have a side job that I do during Christmas
I am the “Bicycle Elf” for the Big Oak Ranch in Alabama
In case you were unaware of what the Big Oak Ranch is…..
It’s a Christian home for abused boys and girls.
It’s a beautiful peaceful place
So how did I become the “Bicycle Elf” you may be asking
The Lord led me to contact the Big Oak Ranch one day, to find out who, what and how many bicycles were needed for the children there; then I go out and purchase new bicycles along with the helmets and deliver them to the ranch for the House Parents to pick up for their Christmas celebration.
I am just the middle man here or “middle Elf” as it were….
But this story isn’t about the Bicycle Elf
I have to confess this is quite the herculean effort on my part, I can’t do it alone.
I have needed your prayers and encouragement to pull this off…..
Especially after this last year of mine
But I also firmly believe that when you are doing the Lord’s will, that He sends his Angels to watch over you and this is what this story is all about.
This past year I had to once again make several trips to deliver all the bicycles that I had pre-staged at my RTR Farm in Tennessee for the trip to Alabama.
This year I thought I had come up with a rather ingenious idea to shorten the number of trips back and forth as it’s a seven hour round trip, and that idea was to borrow my Veterinarian’s horse trailer.
It’s a four horse stall trailer and as I started loading the bicycles for the first trip I knew this was the best idea I had in some time. After covering each bicycle with moving pads to prevent them from getting scratched, I realized they all fit snuggly together and wouldn’t shift or move around on the journey to the Big Oak Ranch and that I could probably get all the bicycles delivered by Christmas Eve, just like Santa would want.
Monday December 22nd was the day for the first load of bicycles, tricycles etc. to be delivered and off I went.
The weather was mostly cooperating and the trip was going according to plan.
But about ten miles before I crossed into Alabama my cell phone rang….
It was my Veterinarian whose horse trailer I was borrowing for this adventure
He wanted me to know that it had just occurred to him that in Tennessee a horse trailer doesn’t have to be tagged, but he was “sure” that in the state of Alabama a horse trailer has to be tagged and have a registered state tag on the rear of the trailer.
I thanked him and silently hoped I wouldn’t have a problem
But in all honesty I wasn’t worried about it
Not long after I had crossed into Alabama on the interstate
I saw blue lights in my side mirrors
It was an Alabama Highway Patrolman
He exited his Ford Crown Victoria and walked towards my truck and trailer
I got out of my truck to greet the young thirty something patrolman
But I no more got “How are you doing today officer?” out my mouth when he said
“In Alabama you have to have a horse trailer tagged, are you aware of that?”
Still smiling, I told him I had borrowed this trailer from my Veterinarian and he had just called me to tell me that very thing.
Looking at me rather oddly, the Alabama Highway Patrolman then looked into the horse trailer that was a mass of covered blankets and moving pads that were protecting the first load of bicycles.
He then looked back at me and asked what I had in the back of the horse trailer
I told him that I was taking a load of bicycles I had purchased to the Big Oak Ranch
Still looking at me like he was watching a dog talk, I asked him if he had heard of it
With his hands on his hips he said
“Yeah, I’ve heard of it”
I stammered something to the effect that I had several loads of bicycles I needed to deliver up until Christmas Eve and that this was only the first trip
The Highway Patrolman reached into the trailer and lifted a few of the moving to pads to see some of the bicycles and then looked back at me again like he couldn’t believe what he was hearing.
So I said…..
“Sir I know you have a tough job to do and you have to write tickets. So I just want you to know that if you write me a ticket for not having a tag on this horse trailer while I am delivering bicycles to a Christian home for abused boys and girls, I’m ok with that, honestly”
Now there were a lot of things this Alabama Highway Patrolman could have done
He could write me a ticket
He could require me to have this horse trailer tagged, even temporarily to satisfy the law
I am sure he could have made me turn around and leave the state of Alabama until the tagging of the trailer was rectified.
Instead he asked for my license, registration and proof of insurance and told me to return to my truck
I was sure I was going to get a ticket and I was ok with that, why?
Because I was doing what the Lord sent me to do
In a matter of minutes the young Alabama Highway Patrolman returned to my truck and handed me back all my pertinent information and then he took his pen out….
Here it comes I thought
With his head down he wrote something on the back of a business card and without making eye contact with me he said…
“Since you are going to be making several trips, call this number before you get into Alabama each day”
I thanked him profusely and said…..
“God Bless you and Merry Christmas”
With eyes still down he said as his voice broke…
“There is a lot more I would like to say here, but I can’t”
And with that he returned to his patrol car and off he went
I had been on the interstate in Alabama for over an hour and was coming up on the last rest area before my exit to the Big Oak Ranch.
After I passed the entrance ramp but before I passed the exit ramp of the rest area
I saw an Alabama Highway Patrolman with lights flashing and sirens blaring come screaming out of the exit ramp of the rest area.
He must have been going a hundred miles an hour
He literally flew out of the exit ramp, eased into the left hand lane and slowed down
As I came aside him, the patrolman looked over at me with his coal black face
Smiled, waved and tipped his hat
Then he was gone down the interstate
What was going on, that wasn’t the same patrolman I talked to earlier?
This same scene replayed itself twice on my return trip to Tennessee
With two different Alabama Highway Patrolman
I was baffled
It wasn’t until the delivery the following morning that I finally “got it”
I was in the process of pouring out the worse coffee I had ever purchased
When I remembered the business card with the phone number on the back the highway patrolman gave me to call before I crossed over into Alabama.
So I called the number on the back of the card
It immediately went to voicemail
So I said…” Sir, this is the ah…Bicycle Elf, calling as you requested before I cross over into Alabama with another load of bicycles for the Big Oak Ranch”
And that was that, or so I thought
As I have alluded to in few other articles I don’t really drink coffee anymore I just rent it for a half hour or so and that includes this horrible concoction that I had poured out an hour before.
So before the long journey ahead I stopped at the Alabama Welcome Center rest area for a quick trip to the restroom.
When I left the restroom…..I saw the lights first
Around my truck and horse trailer were four Alabama Highway Patrol cars with their lights flashing
As I walked up a burly Alabama Highway patrolman exited his vehicle and with a broad smile on his face said, “You have to be more careful leaving this horse trailer unattended”
I could see all the patrolmen smiling in their patrol cars as their blue lights flashed around me
“Yes Sir” I said….
Still smiling he said “Let’s get going, you got some deliveries to make”
Then he said one more thing…..
And so with two Alabama Highway Patrolmen in front and two following me
Their lights flashing…..
We exited the Alabama Welcome Center headed South down interstate 59
My escorts left me with a smile and a tip of their hats after twenty miles
Only to be replaced by two other patrolmen shortly thereafter
That was when it hit me…..
The Lord sent his “Blue Angels” to watch over me and protect me on my trip
The same scene with different Alabama “Blue Angels” played out each day both coming and going until the last delivery was made by the Bicycle Elf at the Big Oak Ranch
With all the negative comments, commentary and statements about the men and women in blue lately, it’s important to note that there are many (too many to count actually) Blue Angels out there watching over us on the highways and bi-ways of this fine country.
Those Blue Angels are rolling down the highways right now as you read this article…
There is my dear Marine Brother Matt with the Department of Public Safety in Texas
There is Brad with the South Carolina Highway Patrol
And too many names to mention here with the Alabama Highway Patrol
God Bless You All and thank you for being my Blue Angels this Christmas
I couldn’t have done it without you