A Narrow Escape
Wilma Christopher of Turney, age 88, feels very fortunate to have survived a recent catastrophe, which resulted in the loss of her home and belongings.
On January 19th of this year a friend and fellow church member stopped by to check on her and help her with any small tasks. At age 88, Wilma has difficulty walking and appreciates the aid she receives from friends and neighbors. Her son had recently purchased her a lift-chair in which she spent much of her time.
While the friend (who requested that his name not appear) was helping, they heard what sounded like a small explosion. Soon after, the arm of the lift-chair burst into flames. She asked her friend to “put out the fire”, but he responded that he needed to “get her out of the house”. He had to drag her out of the living room, across the kitchen and a small deck and onto the lawn. By this time the flames were spreading rapidly.
A nearby neighbor happened to notice the fire and quickly drove up and Wilma was helped inside his car. From there she watched as her house and possessions were consumed by the flames. Despite a quick response from fire departments in Turney and Lathrop, it was impossible to save anything.
Most of us would grieve considerably as we watched our personal world burn to the ground. But Wilma reports that a sense of peace and calm came over her. She felt blessed to be alive, and she realized that her precious possessions were merely “things”; life is what mattered.
Despite losing cherished photographs, her beloved sewing machines, hand-made quilts, and a “few hundred” dollars in cash, she felt few regrets. She called upon her faith and the support of her many friends.
Wilma has a wonderful perspective on life and tremendous faith in God. She feels God was looking over her during this difficult time. She is a person who recognizes the value of life and the value of good friends. Material possessions are of little value in comparison.
She has lived a full life. At one time she held a responsible position at a Ben Franklin Stores warehouse in Kansas City. She had a beloved husband, Carl (deceased) and one son, Gary.
Gary now lives in Phoenix, but at one time worked in Busan, South Korea. At the age of 80, she traveled alone to visit him. She spent 36 hours of travel before arriving in Busan.
Her son had to work during the weekdays, but told her she would be fine exploring the city alone, that she would find the people kind and helpful. She found this to be the case. Despite language problems, she was able to convey her needs to the local people who would assist her, often walking her to her destination.
A humorous incident occurred when her son mention that she had not purchased any “souvenirs”. She told him she had found a scarf she loved, but it was priced at $8000. He laughed and explained that the price was in South Korean dollars, and would actually be about $8 American.
She and her husband enjoyed traveling, and especially enjoyed a trip to the Holy Land. Seeing places mentioned in the Bible was a thrill, and a side trip to see the Pyramids of Egypt was another highlight. Wilma was a long-time member of the Eastern Star where she developed many friendships.
Wilma currently lives in a local nursing facility, but hopes to soon relocate to an assisted living facility. She is an interesting and delightful lady with many interesting stories, including the most recent narrow escape, thanks to the grace of God.