It was at a rest area in the state of Oklahoma, on I-35, that the Rettner family stopped to enjoy some lunch before traveling on to their home in Dallas, after visiting Grandma in the great state of Missouri.
Grandma had made turkey sandwiches and was known for putting some butter on the top piece of bread and cranberry sauce on the bottom. They were always scrumptious.
So Bob Rettner and his wife, Jenine, along with their son, who they called Little Mike, had decided to take advantage of the unseasonably warm weather, to sit outside at a picnic table and talk about the beauty of their Christmas and munch the delicious delicacy prepared by Grandma.
But Little Mike was a bit fidgety. He brought a ball with him and was kicking it along when it bounced against a car and rolled out into the thoroughfare at the rest area.
The little boy didn’t even think twice. He started chasing the ball when suddenly a pick-up truck was bearing down on him. It was a tragedy in the making.
Suddenly, from nowhere, a man came running and snatched the boy up, lifting him out of harm’s way just in time. He set him back on the ground and they walked over together to retrieve the ball.
By this time, the parents, who had been watching in horror, unable to do anything but shout, ran up to thank the stranger.
The mother grabbed Little Mike and the father shook the gentleman’s hand. “Thank you so much. I don’t know what to say.”
“You already did,” said the stranger. “Thank you is quite enough.”
The mother interjected, “We’re just sitting down here eating some delicious turkey sandwiches left over from Grandma’s table…”
“Grandma’s table?” queried the stranger.
“Yes, the best you’ll ever eat,” said the father. “Would you join us?”
The stranger paused, looked over at the little boy, who smiled at him. “Yes. I would be honored,” he said.
They all walked over to the table and introductions were made.
“I’m Bob Rettner, this is my wife, Jenine, and this is our son. We call him Little Mike.”
The stranger gave the boy a hug and said, “Little Mike–ball chaser.”
They all shared a relieved laugh.
“And what is your name?” asked Bob.
“They call me Richard.”
“Are you returning from Christmas vacation?” inquired Jenine.
“Yes. Yes, I am. I’m returning, I’m going, I’m coming…I guess we all are, aren’t we?”
Bob handed him a sandwich. “Thank you again,” he said. “We’re a family that believes in prayer. Would you like to lead us in grace over these wonderful sandwiches?”
Richard thought for a moment. “Bob, I, too, believe in prayer. But you know what I’d like? I would like Little Mike to pray. Because… well, because I like to listen.”