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Granny Tipton’s SOS

Was I hearing things or was someone calling for help? God’s grace guided me…

Even when we were teenagers, my brother, Jeff, and I thought few things were cooler than spending the weekend with Grandma and Grandpa Tipton at their cozy clapboard house in southwest Washington. We ate big, home-cooked meals (Grandma always had a new table grace for us to learn) traded scary stories in the dark, and chased each other through the woods. But most of all, we were happy to help them with things around the house.

One morning, Grandpa and Jeff drove to the local hardware store, while Grandma and I stayed behind.“I’m going to get this lawn mowed for you,” I called to Grandma, before heading outside.

I started up the lawnmower and it let out a deafening roar. I mowed just the way Grandpa showed me, going up and down the yard in a back and forth pattern. A few minutes in, I heard a voice over the rumbling of the motor. “Help! Help!” I shut off the mower and listened. Silence. I looked around. Not a soul in sight.

I must be hearing things, I thought, and started up the mower again.

“Help! Help!” There was no mistaking it this time. The voice sounded like it was coming from inside the house. I shut off the mower and rushed to the back door, clearing the five steps in one single leap.

It was Grandma! She was choking, leaning her frail frame over the kitchen sink. I ran over to give her the Heimlich, when a piece of food flew out from her mouth.

“Thank God!” she said, breathlessly. “How did you know I was choking?”

“Grandma, I heard you yelling. You sure were loud!” I said.

“Michael, I couldn’t breathe let alone yell. I didn’t make a sound.”

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