Go to Mary

Impossible driving through a blizzard proves that it doesn’t matter what the need is, or how bad the circumstances, but turning to Mary for her help, especially with your rosary, always results in help. She won’t leave you stranded.

“Go to Mary,” the elderly priest said after the intercessions at Mass. “In everything, go to Mary.” Of course he said that, it was a Marist parish. And, of course, like so many of us, I have been running a marathon on the Rosary beads. “I will put enmity between you and the woman,” and all that in these troubled times.

It was rather nice when we left our downtown church that Sunday, temperature around 40, which for Minnesota in December is a heat wave. Little did we know things would change. By Tuesday evening, a snow storm was on the way. Wednesday was going to be ugly. And my daughter and part of her family were going to be thrown into the middle of it.

Grandson Blake, age 10, needs dialysis. His kidneys have failed, whether it was from his multiple heart surgeries or because he possibly had coronavirus after his last major operation a year ago in California; the how doesn’t matter, the kidneys are gone. Until he gets a transplant, he needs dialysis three times a week, Monday, Wednesday, Friday,  at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, a 200-mile round trip from the family home north of the Twin Cities. Three times a week, come hell or high water…or a blizzard.

On Wednesday, my daughter hoped to get out of Rochester and the open country of southern Minnesota before things got bad. Fortunately her husband had come along to do the driving, just in case. It was only raining, as they headed north on a state highway. Within 20 minutes, the snow started falling, they were in the open area and the 40mph winds began battering the trucks and cars on the road. It took an hour to cover the next 20 miles to the next town. 

“We can’t go any farther north,” she texted. “We are stuck in Cannon Falls. It’s been panic and terror the last ten miles. At the gas station now. I can’t believe we made it. Roads aren’t closed. They are snowed over. One lane in most places. Can’t see anything. 30mph at best. Seeing tail lights helped. That’s all we could see. Wipers are getting frozen.” We later found out her husband had had to get out of the car on the highway and clean the wipers several times. 

“I think we have to stay. Here to Inver Grove Heights (26 miles) doesn’t get us many options for pulling over. I don’t want to get stranded.” No motel could be seen. “We are at SA. So not much food either, I’m sure. McDonald’s is across the street. Subway is closed. Restaurants are closed… governor’s orders.” It wouldn’t help much, with Blake needing a special diet, low in potassium and phosphates because of the kidneys. 

I asked if they had blankets. In Minnesota, you are expected to carry a winter survival kit in the car with blankets, a coffee can and candle for heat, and food, candy bars. Not standard operating procedure in South Carolina or Florida to be sure.

“I do have blankets. We might move, McD’s is along highway 52. That way we can watch traffic. We just cannot make it. I am worried there will be too much snow to get through if we wait 3 hours for snow to stop. There is a lot of traffic out there. But it won’t be good if the pavement freezes.” And freeze it would with the -30F chill factor that was expected. 

An hour later. “We’re stuck here. We tried to get back on the highway to go to the next exit. There have been no plows and the road at times is really challenging so we doubled back on the side road. Unless we hook up with a lot of people going north, for safety, we can’t go alone. And there aren’t a lot of cars going by now. SA closes at 11, McDonald’s at 8. That’s all we’ve got.” 

A half hour later, she appealed on Facebook, asking if any friends had contacts in Cannon Falls who could help. Rebecca, a school chum from grade school, responded.

“Can you get to Northfield where we live?”

That was due west,15 miles through open farm country, with crosswinds and a poor road on a good day. No chance of success. Then, 

“My sister lives in Cannon Falls. She has an extra house.” Extra, as in being moved out of and into a different home. And so there was shelter, warm beds and food for the night. 

The worn crucifix on the Rosary

During this treacherous adventure, Blake wasn’t worried. Beth said she was clutching her Rosary and trying to remember how to pray it, she was so stressed the words wouldn’t come. She couldn’t remember from one bead to the next. “We were following a semi, it was dark, couldn’t see the road, blowing, wipers frosted over and then a massive line-up of cars trying to get up the big hill. That’s why we got off. The Jesus on my Rosary is going to be really shiny from my thumb going over and over it.”

Amazing, isn’t it, these old friends just happened to make a connection during a blizzard?. Not really. Back when the girls were tykes, several of us moms gathered weekly at each other’s homes to pray the Rosary. Prayers first, play after for the kids. Through babies, family hardships and joys, the Rosary was there for us.

“Go to Mary,” the priest said on Sunday. He could have added, she never forgets her own.

This article, Go to Mary is a post from The Bellarmine Forum.
Do not repost the entire article without written permission. Reasonable excerpts may be reposted so long as it is linked to this page.

Cindy Paslawski

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