White Horse Circle

Most of us have events that echo through the corridors of our lives. Thirty, forty, fifty years later, it remains like a rhythm track beating at an intersection from a car seven cars ahead. You can’t make out the song, but you hear the beat. I have that sort of track inside me, and it emerged briefly to thump into action this morning as I emerged from the house into the downpour to go to the store, out of quarantine.
It was 1960, something. I was standing in the pouring rain in Hamilton Township New Jersey at the White Horse traffic circle. It was me, my soaked clothes and a guitar. The guitar had some extra clothes wrapped inside the case to keep the guitar dry. I was praying for a ride.
Out of the night appeared a large black sedan full of African American Church ladies. I heard one of them holler out to me, “hurry in, there’s room for one more if we squeeze!” and squeeze we did to Philadelphia.
They grilled me: did my mother know where I was, what was I doing in the middle of nowhere New Jersey in a storm like this? It went on, but in such loving terms that I soon broke down in tears. Out it came the current romantic, financial, and existential crises of my life off the rails.
Then a quiet voice asked: “May we pray for you?” and pray they did. All through the dark wet night from White Horse circle on NJ 226 to North Philly. Letting me out where I could catch a train, I was told: ” you’ve gotten prayed over good. Don’t forget; God loves you.”

OK, it wasn’t my tradition. I’m a Methodist escapee from a Catholic upbringing. But the rhythm, the memory kept returning, and I am in that car with those ladies praying for me. And, as I said, its like a powerful rhythm track. I can’t hear the words, but I feel the powerful beat. I am so grateful to those ladies; they prayed over me so well that all these years later, It’ still there. Thank You.

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