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Heaven-Sent Angels Helped Them Make a Special Delivery

With some divine assistance, and books of S&H Green Stamps, she and her grandmother helped a young, expecting couple.

Illustration of an angel holding a basket

One summer evening when I was a little girl, I sat with my grandmother on her big front porch, listening to her stories about long-ago cotillions and balls. I could hear lively music coming from the apple orchard nearby. “Is someone having that kind of party now?” I asked.

“Not exactly,” Grandmother said. She explained that the man who owned the orchard employed migrant workers to gather the apples and care for the trees. “The days are long and hard,” she said, “but the workers are enjoying some free time before they get their rest.” She believed the workers deserved more money than the orchard owner paid them, and in her opinion he didn’t feed them enough either. “Tomorrow we do something about that, at least,” she said. She organized with other neighbor ladies to bring evening meals. When it was her turn, I went with her. I was surprised to see that it wasn’t only men working in the fields, but families too. The older kids stood beneath the trees and boxed up the apples on the ground, while younger kids carried water to workers further out in the orchard.

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Grandmother struck up a conversation with one of the young women. Her name was Maria, and she and her husband, Tony, were expecting a baby. “We’re going to stay with my parents,” Maria said. “We’re here to earn money for the bus ticket.”

“They’re going to need a lot of things when the baby comes,” Grandmother told me when we got home. “Let’s ask God to send angels to help that young couple.”

“Angels?” I said. I’d heard Grandmother pray plenty of times, but this was the first time I’d heard her mention anything about angels. I couldn’t quite picture the angels I knew from Christmas cards carrying diapers and baby powder. Grandmother saw that I was skeptical.

“If we do our part,” she said, “angels will do the rest.” Grandmother went to the closet and brought out a box filled with S&H Green Stamps. She spilled the pile of them onto the kitchen table. I saw a few full sheets or partial pages. Most fluttered out of the box as single, loose stamps. “You can see I’ve been saving up for just the right purchase.”

We sat down at the table and flipped through the baby section of the S&H catalog. My eyes fell on a bassinet with ruffles and a canopy. It came with an elaborate layette. “Everything a young mother will need,” Grandmother said. “Let’s see if we have enough stamps to fill the 20 books it costs.” It would take us a while to find out—we had a lot of stamps to glue in before Maria and Tony left at the end of the summer.

In the coming weeks, Grandmother made her best meals for the orchard workers. One week it was a big pot of chili with corn bread. The next it was fried chicken, potato salad, green beans and buttermilk biscuits. Every meal included iced tea, lemonade and homemade cookies that I helped bake. While Grandmother chatted with Maria and Tony one evening, I peeked around the apple trees in search of white-winged angels with trumpets, but I saw only regular people. There were no angels helping us with the stamps either. In the end, we were three books short.

“Open the catalog,” Grandmother said. “Let’s pick a bassinet we can afford.” We chose one without a canopy and a limited layette. The next day we went to the Green Stamp store to get it. “Maria will love this one just as much,” Grandmother assured me as she pushed the door open. I couldn’t help but feel disappointed.

Grandmother gave the clerk the information and handed over our stack of 17 books of stamps. The clerk walked to the back room and returned empty-handed. “I’m sorry,” she said. “It looks like that item’s been discontinued.”

I couldn’t believe it. No bassinet at all? I eyed the stack of Green Stamps books I’d counted on. Maybe angels really do exist only on Christmas cards.

“If you’re interested,” the clerk said, “we do have another option.” She opened the catalog. “It costs 20 books, but since the one you wanted isn’t available…” I peeked over the counter to see that she was pointing at the very bassinet we had originally chosen!

“How kind of you to offer this lovely replacement,” Grandmother said, with a wink at me. We arranged for the bassinet to be sent straight to Maria’s mother so it would be waiting when she and Tony arrived. Real angels had delivered for us all.

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