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Home Archives Five Foot Nothin’ of Guardian Angel: A True Account

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To understand what I’m about to write here you have to know just a bit about what happened in the beginning and about a very special person named Sherry. She and I spent our entire childhoods together well into our young adulthood. I was 20 and she was 17 when I went off to a place called Vietnam. We had planned to get married when I returned at the end of my tour. We didn’t have much money and the promotion that I had coming then would have made a lot of difference.

I was wounded, and it was in a way that made me unidentifiable at first. I lost my ID when I was hit. I was reported Killed in Action (KIA). It was several months before the whole thing was sorted out — just one of those things that happen in a war. Sherry has sworn she’d wait and she was. She’d have waited until Hell froze over if she’d known for sure I was alive. There were reasons — valid reasons that I will not go into as to why she did not — could not wait any longer than she did. The essential thing to know is that after I did get home, our only contact with each other was an occasional message through our parents or our grandparents, who were always close friends.

What you are about to read is an account of something that happened in August of 1991. Keep in mind that when this event occurred, Sherry wasn’t dead and it was still ten years before she was even diagnosed with the cancer that killed her. We had always had a very strong psychic bond. It was always something that the two of us thought was funny, and other people would laugh about. We always seemed to sort of think in “tandem” or in a close parallel. We could and most often did, finish each other’s sentences and we knew what each other was thinking. It was more than just “reading” each other’s body language and things, although we could do that too. We actually knew. Even after being physically separated for half our lives we seemed to communicate with each other somehow. There was always a kind of “signal” in the back of my mind that I knew came from her. It was like a radio playing softly in the background — there but not obtrusive — letting me know that she was “okay.” It would change from time to time, I found out later that these changes indicated stress, or that something was wrong somehow, but it never stopped. It never went away. I found out after she was gone she had always felt this too. It was one of the things that made it tolerable for the two of us not to try to contact each other for so long. There have been several times, that I have felt her near although I’ve never actually seen her. It seems to be a form of astral projection. I’ve learned since she “died” that we were both unknowingly doing the same thing. This is an account of the first time I ever had her physical presence brought to my attention…

That “signal” is still present. The only difference is that after her crossing over, the signal has changed slightly. Even though it’s still at the very back of my mind it’s understandably different. It’s still saying “I’m okay”, but now it’s letting me know, in no uncertain terms that “I’m waiting.” It’s like a radio beacon at an airport. It keeps a pilot from getting lost. I’m certain that she is making sure that when my time comes I can find her, or that when it’s almost my time, she can find me quickly to come and lead me to wherever she is. I don’t hear that in words, It’s not a “voice” but it’s a feeling that is much deeper than words can ever be.

I suppose that I should also preface this account with just a bit of background about myself. I am 53 years old and am a PhD Optical Engineer. I was born in Texas, the name of the town is not terribly important except to point out that it was, and still is, one of those quaint, tiny little towns where everyone knows everyone else. I have lived well over half of my life abroad. It has been well over 30 years since I was last in my “home town.” I was raised a Roman Catholic, but for the vast majority of my life I have been what most people charitably call an “agnostic.” To be perfectly honest, that is rather like saying “marginally pregnant” or “slightly dead.” I went through the motions at times, usually on holidays and people’s birthdays or anniversaries that were significant to me. I felt somehow drawn to do so, but for the life of me I could not understand why. In spite of that, for all intents and purposes I gave up my belief in a charitable and loving God and an afterlife in what was literally a blinding flash in mid 1973. It was at that time that the God that I had always worshiped spared my life, but tore out half of my living soul. There are many scars that a man can bring home from war, some of them can, in fact, be waiting for him when he gets home. And, as Bram Stoker allowed in his famous novel about Count Dracula, there are many things in this world that are worse, far worse, than death. It was not until eighteen years later that I had a portion of the faith that I had lost so long before renewed, although not in any “traditional” sense of the word. It happened like this.

A few weeks after the August Revolt of 1991 ended and all of the excitement had died down or mostly so, Alexander Savanov came into my office at Kodak A.O. in Moscow. Sasha seemed to have something on his mind.

“Sit down and take a load off Sasha,” I beamed as my old friend and comrade in arms came through the door.

Savanov seated himself across from me and smiled thinly at me. He looked concerned. No, not concerned, perplexed. I opened my desk drawer and took out a partially used half liter bottle of vodka. I tossed it across the desk to Sasha who caught it in mid air. “What they don’t know won’t hurt ’em. After what we went through a while back, they can’t bitch. We deserve a shot every now and then.”

Sasha nodded. He opened the bottle, took a drink, then closed it and tossed the “Russian Standard” back to me.

“Jim,” he began. “Something’s been on my mind. I’ve been meaning to ask you about it ever since things settled down, but… Well, you know, we haven’t really had time and it’s not that important. I’m just curious.”

“What is it Sasha?”

“Jim, who was that woman?”

“Which woman?”

“Well, you know, I hate to mention this, but, you know, you had your moments on the barricades. You’d catcall and curse at our “honorable opponents” and call them all sorts of names in three or four different languages.” He grinned grimly at me. “It was, well, it was like you were begging for a bullet.”

“What about it. Maybe I was?”

“Well, when you did, there was this woman… She seemed to just dog your steps and watch over you like some kind of grim avenging angel.”

“Hell Sasha, you know who that was.” I gestured toward the reception desk. “That was Vetta. She went there with us, remember?”

“No, the other one.” Savanov said flatly and without inflection in his usually animated voice. “The one with the dark hair and dark eyes. The young one. “She’s the one who had that old American army rifle. A real brute that.”

My eyebrows shot up and I suddenly looked more thoughtful. I took the bottle out of my desk again, opened it and took a long pull. “What dark haired woman with an old American rifle?”

“I thought it was one of your daughters at first, then I remembered that they aren’t in Moscow now, and besides, this girl was too old to be one of them. A real looker too.” He chuckled.

Savanov picked up a pencil from my desk caddy and begin sketching on the back of an opened envelope. “The one with the rifle that looks like this. I’ve only seen a few of them. We got some in the “lend-lease” from your Mister Truman. They’re a real beast. A full-house 7.62, more powerful than our old Myosin and the semi-automatic Tokarev.” He passed his sketch of the weapon to me.”

“That’s an M-1 Garrand. It’s a 30.06 caliber. Our General Patton called it the finest battle rifle ever invented. He was right at the time. It would punch a hole in a fourth of an inch of steel plate at close range and kill a man on the other side. It’s a brute okay. You say a woman had one of them? That must have been one tough broad or a helluva big one.”

“No, she was a tiny thing really, maybe a meter sixty, maybe not quite that. That hand-held cannon looked like it would kick her teeth out if she ever tried to shoot it, but she seemed to know the piece and how to use it.”

“Jesus.” My mind went back in time. Later, Sasha said that a smile flashed momentarily on my lips. I remembered the day that Gunny had taught me, and Sherry how to shoot his Garrand, the one he’d brought home from Korea as another of his “souvenirs” one piece at time. I’d been about fourteen years old and Sherry had been almost twelve. Gunny hadn’t wanted Sherry to try it. She was only about five feet tall then and might have weighed ninety pounds soaking wet. Gunny, her dad, and I used to tease her and call her “Miss Five Foot Nothin’.” She was always tiny. She never did get much bigger than that. That Garrand was almost as big as she was, but she was determined that if “Jimmy can do it, I can do it.” I did, and she could.

While my mind drifted to the past, Sasha continued to talk.

“She would walk up behind you and to the right, raise that monster rifle to her shoulder and wrap the sling under her left elbow. Then she’d plant her right foot behind her to brace herself for the recoil…”

I saw the scene in my mind, except it wasn’t on the Moscow barricades; it was in an East Texas cow pasture. It wasn’t in 1991, it was… When was it? Half a lifetime ago? More?

“She gritted her teeth and squinted her eyes and then ratcheted that first round into battery…”

I could see it plainly in my mind, just as if it were yesterday.

“Then she’d begin to slowly sweep the troops on the other side. She’s go slowly, from left to right, like she was watching for the first sign of one of them trying to fire at you.”

I remembered Sherry and the Garrand. She’d done exactly as Sasha described. She’d done it just like she’d seen her father and me do it first. Then she’d squeezed the trigger. The rifle boomed, the barrel jumped upward, and Sherry rocked and slid backward a good six inches from the recoil, but she never let go. She recovered and wouldn’t yield the piece to either me or Gunny. Six more rounds boomed out through that long ago East Texas summer. Every time that old rifle barked, Sherry took a beating from the Garrand that would make most grown men flinch in pain just thinking about it, but she never stopped. Hell, the words “give up,” and “quit” just weren’t in her vocabulary; never had been and never would be. When the magazine was empty we went and checked the target. Neither one of us, me or her dad, thought she’d even come close to it. We were amazed that she even kept shooting after that first brutalizing round. But, when we looked at the paper bull’s eye, there were seven rounds in a space that Gunny could cover with a cigarette pack. And, Sherry stood there with one arm around me, holding the big gun cradled in her other arm, laughing.

Sasha noticed that I didn’t seem to be listening and that I looked somehow “far away.” He let his story trail off. It’s hard to describe what I felt just then. It was a mixture of disbelief and the fact that if I let myself believe, I wouldn’t just be scared, I’d be terrified.

“Well, who was she?” He asked?

“I don’t know,” I told him. “I know who it could have been, once. But, that’s impossible. It’s just: impossible:”

After Sasha Savanov told me about this, I talked to two dozen other people who had been there through those three long tension-filled days. They all saw here too and thought that I did. I’m the only one who didn’t see her. I didn’t tell any of them what I thought… what I almost certainly knew. I’ve played dumb and innocent all these years. But ever since that day Sasha cornered me in my office and asked me “who was that woman,” I’ve known that I have a guardian angel. I’ve got a little “Miss Five Foot Nothin'” guardian angel that came to watch my back when she knew that I didn’t care one way or the other whether I lived or died as long as I went out fighting. She came with the most powerful weapon she’d ever seen, and certainly the most powerful one she’d ever used. She was there watching over me for three long days and two almost endless nights… and I never even saw her. I guess it was meant to be that way. They say that God works in mysterious ways. There was a time when I had stopped believing that sort of thing, but I do now. There is no doubt in my mind that little “Miss Five Foot Nothin’,” the tiny girl with the big gun that everyone saw but me was there to watch over me. Looking back on it, I’m not real sure what the result would have been if she’d actually used that old gun. I’m not real sure I want to know.

Sherry died in late 2001. I found out about it a year and a half later in July of 2003. It took a while for me to work up the nerve to talk to her mother who is in her eighties now like my own mom. One of the things that I learned from that call was that when the August Revolt was in full swing, Sherry had seen some footage of it on the News. She actually saw who she thought was me on the barricade in Moscow. Her mother said that she began to complain of not feeling well and went to bed (she was recently divorced at the time and visiting her mother to sort of unwind). Her mother said that she pretty much stayed in bed and slept for the biggest part of two days and didn’t really begin feeling herself again until (she did not know it, but I did) the day the Revolt ended. I told a friend of mine about this when I found out about it. He’s doing research into this kind of thing and has a number of case studies. He’s board licensed MD and Psychiatrist. He told me that the most logical explanation that he could see, since he knew me well enough to know I didn’t exaggerate, and also knew Savanov and two other people who saw her on the barricades, was that Sherry was still so strongly connected to me that when she saw the real danger, as opposed to what was televised (by tapping into what I actually saw) she came to me through an astral projection, or some form of astral traveling, and brought the most powerful weapon she’d ever had any actual experience with along with her. He said that I didn’t see her because I had conditioned myself to believe so completely that this kind of thing was impossible that I blocked out even something that was so strong that everyone around me could see it.

I found out something else too, and when I did, I cried my eyes out. I found out that when she had gotten her divorce, not six weeks after I’d gotten mine, she’d taken a wedding set worth several thousand dollars and literally thrown it into a dumpster… then put a cheap little ring that I’d bought her all those years before, back on. She never took it off again. She was buried in it.

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