There is something besides mankind that guides us and talks to us. I’ve had a number of intuitions in my life that seem hard to believe. Let me give you one.
Gretchen was one of my best friends in college. We worked together on the student newspaper and we both thought we’d wind up as sports editor and assistant sports editor on CM Life. We didn’t care who got the top job or played second fiddle. We just wanted to work together. It did not work out.
Somebody else got the jobs.
I also knew of a hard working young man named Drew. I knew Gretchen. And I knew Drew. But I did not know Gretchen and Drew.
They became a couple and married shortly after college.
A year after graduation Gretchen and Drew lived in a house off a corn field in Freeland, a stone’s throw away from Gretchen’s home town of Saginaw.
she worked at The Saginaw News. I lived in Grand Rapids because of my first job at the Grand Rapids Press.
I had not seen my friends in a while. So they invited me to visit one fall weekend. I accepted and woke up Friday morning for my cross state trip to Freeland.
Everything was calm. Everything was normal as I drove east on I-96 toward my Lansing turnoff to head north and east toward Saginaw. That’s when I broke into a cold sweat and something told me to head to Detroit. I needed to see my grandmother. And I needed to see her right away.
It didn’t make sense because I was scheduled to go home the following weekend. But I needed to see her. I don’t know why. It got so bad that I began to shake in the car and broke into a cold sweat.
I had to head home. As I got closer to the Lansing turn off on I-69 the voices inside my head grew louder and my urge to go home turned into a pulsating drum beat. I was now growing ill.
I did not drive home that day. I promised my friends I’d show up. And a promise is a promise. After I turned north to Saginaw everything returned to normal. No urges. No shaking. No cold sweats.
Drew threw something on the grill that night and we ate like kings. We also hung out in Saginaw, Midland and Bay City. I returned to Grand Rapids Sunday night.
The NFL was on strike. The next night the newspaper sent me into the community to get local fan reaction of what going a few weeks without the Detroit Lions and Chicago Bears would be like. After my interviews I returned to the newspaper office to write my story.
Sports editor Bob Becker intercepted me before I could sit down. I could tell by the look on his face that he had bad news for me.
My grandmother and Aunt went grocery shopping to make sure the refrigerator was stocked with my favorite foods for my trip home next weekend. Granny was exhausted from the trip. While my aunt unloaded the car, grand mom sat in the chair to rest.
She suffered a stroke and died.
Becker told me the story and I was devastated. This was the woman who raised me. This was my girl and I did not get to say good bye. I felt a combination of grief and guilt. Something told me on the highway that I needed to go home to see her. I just didn’t know why.
Instead I visited my friends. Four decades later I still feel bad about that decision.
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