1 This true story happened to me when I was twelve years old. I lived in a little cottage with my parents; I had no brothers or sisters. Three things were dominant in our English village: the church, the school, and the mayor.
2 We didn’t have television or movie theaters. The highlight of our year was the Garden Fete and Horticultural Show, which had booths and games during the day and a barbecue and a barn dance at the mayor’s in the evening. We liked the mayor very much.
3 Every Sunday we went to church. It was a very small one, but it had a large arch stretching from one side of the church to the other. On the arch were these words from Matthew 18:20: “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”
4 P. C. Claris was the only policeman in the village, and as a special privilege, we children were allowed to call him “Clarry.” He would play with us and tell us stories. He knew everyone of us by name and always had treats in his tunic for us.
5 The year that I was twelve, I went to the big senior school. I was very small for my age—probably about as big as you at eight or nine—and on my first visit, a prefect (student monitor) lifted me up so that I could see through the tiny window of the big classroom door.
6 A few weeks before Christmas, snow fell so hard that after lunch our teacher announced that we were to leave for home right away. Great! I thought. A whole half-day off! What I didn’t know was that the snow would prevent me from leaving my home for several weeks!
7 Two friends and I cycled to and from school each day along a deserted footpath with a field on one side and a tall hedge on the other. That day the snow was forming drifts against the hedge. My bicycle had a heavy frame, and it became harder and harder to lift it over the drifts. Our skirts quickly became wet and clung to our legs.
8 All our parents worked and would not be home before six, so no one would be waiting for us. The journey normally took less than thirty minutes, and we had already been out nearly three hours! As a sense of hopelessness overwhelmed us, we remembered the scripture on the church archway. Well, there were three of us, so we prayed—oh, how we prayed! Then we picked up our bicycles and trudged on.
9 About ten minutes later we heard a familiar whistle—and turning the corner came Clarry! “Hello,” he said. “Something told me that I would find you here.” He leaned our bicycles against a pole, saying that he’d come back for them later. He stooped down, and I climbed onto his back. Then he picked up a child in each arm and carried all three of us toward the village.
10 Mine was the first house. While we changed our clothes, Clarry made us a hot drink and shoveled a path from the back door to the toilet—our toilet was not indoors, as I expect yours is, but was in a small building in the yard. Then he wrapped my schoolmates in blankets and took them home.
11 There are two morals to this story. First, it saddens me to hear young people today calling policeman rude names and laughing at them. I don’t expect that you do this, but you may have friends who do it. Most schools nowadays have visits from policemen; they enjoy working with children. I hope that you have as much fun with your policemen as we had with Clarry.
12 The other moral to my story is that earnest prayers are answered. Remember Clarry’s first words to us that day: “Something told me that I would find you here.” We knew Who had told Clarry where to find us.