Home Teachers I Will Always Remember
Contributed by Richard Comely of the Kitchener Ontario Stake
The last thing I recall doing on December 7, 1991 was loading my Toyota van with newspapers while snowflakes swirled around us. I was beside the loading dock at the Toronto Star depot in Cambridge, Ontario with one of my seminary students helping me load.
My next memory was of regaining consciousness in a strange dark room. I felt groggy and dizzy. I could feel pain in my side and in both my arms. A door opened and closed. I saw a blurry silhouette glide across the room. I remember asking, “Where am I? What happened?” A woman’s voice told me that I was in the Guelph Hospital; that I had been in a bad accident. A few seconds later I was out again.
Thirty hours earlier while driving, I had hit black ice on a hilly road when my van slid like a toboggan down into a ditch and crashed into a large tree stump. I had a jagged gash on my forehead, cracked ribs, a broken left wrist and a shattered right elbow.
Due to my head injury, I had no recollection of those thirty hours after the accident or of the five hours prior except for one fleeting moment. I remember that as the fog cleared for me briefly, I looked up to see my home teachers, one of whom had a big smile on his face. I remember them speaking to me, though I don’t recall what was said. I understood that they were there to give me a priesthood blessing. They placed their hands on my head and as they did so I closed my eyes. That is where the memory ends. I would learn from my wife that minutes later I was wheeled into the operating room for surgery to repair my severely damaged elbow.
Five days later I went back to work. I had to. My fill-in driver couldn’t continue and no one else knew the route as well as I did. My delivery route took over eight hours to finish for the Saturday edition and five hours every other day. I still had lots of pain so I wasn’t looking forward to the job. Since I wasn’t able to drive, I hired a friend from our ward to drive the van for me while I gave directions. I could still toss, load and unload with my left arm although with considerable discomfort.
One of the most cherished memories I will take with me was of arriving at two a.m. to pick up my load of newspapers that first night out of the hospital. As my driver and I approached the location to pick up the newspapers for my route, ten men from the Guelph Ward were waiting for me by the stacks of newspaper bundles. Among those there were our bishop with his oldest son, a counselor from the stake presidency and my home teachers. It was freezing cold, yet they had all come to help me get my route done. I couldn’t keep my eyes from filling with tears. My route covered over 200 km through five towns and villages and involved deliveries to numerous stores, coin boxes and over three hundred homes. The job was done that night by faithful friends and home teachers. My arm eventually healed, but I will never forget those wonderful examples of the priesthood in action.