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The House That Wasn't There

February 2003

A few years ago a friend and I decided on a December Saturday morning to drive from a small town in Missouri to the nearest large shopping mall.

The road is a narrow two lane country road through mostly farm land with few houses. We made this trip several times a year and were very familiar with the road.

When we started out it was a brisk winter day but there was no snow or signs of snow. Once at the mall we took in a movie, shopped, ate, shopped, ate some more, and shopped some more. So, it was around 9PM when we left and discovered a foot of snow on the ground and more coming down fast.

Instead of doing the smart thing and getting a motel room we decided to head for home. I was driving slowly because of the snow pack on the road when a car came up behind us and tried to pass on a blind curve. Of course, there was a car coming the other direction. The first car cut in too sharply and forced me off the road. Neither car stopped. So, there we were stranded on a snow bank late at night with no cell phone and it was freezing.

We sat in the car for an hour and no other cars came by. The situation was getting desperate when Mary said, "look, there is a house right over there". Neither of us had noticed it before. It was a very distinctive house, rustic with a huge wrap around porch. All the lights were on and it was very visible. We decided to see if they had a phone.

The door was answered by a sweet old lady who immediately asked us in, let us call for a tow truck, and gave us tea and cookies. We weren't sure where we were so she gave the tow truck driver very specific directions, 2.3 miles west from the turnoff to Highway xxx. She invited us to stay inside until the tow truck got there and went back to bed.

A few hours later the truck showed up and we left. She was still in bed so we just wrote a quick thank you note. Later we decided to bake her a batch of cookies and take them for a more personal thank you.

The next Saturday we drove over to her house. But, it wasn't there. We drove by where we thought it was and couldn't find it so we went to the turnoff to Highway xxx and drove exactly 2.3 miles west and still couldn't find it. In desperation we called the tow truck driver who said he had never seen a house when he picked us up. He was wondering why we standing on a hill instead of waiting in the car. Every trip to the mall since then we have looked for that house but have never found it.

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