The Angel in the Plaid Flannel Shirt
By Brenda Higgins
In the fall of 1994, I was the chief auxiliary on the ladies’ weekend.
The camp we used was old and not equipped for the handicapped, and one of our spiritual directors was unable to climb stairs. Normally, each of the spiritual directors would have her own suite, but this time we were told we could have only one. We made sure to request the suite that had a small step to the outside so we could bring our special lady in that way. The entrance to the rollo room was up a winding stair, but this was not a problem as there was also an outside door. Everything was all planned and ready!
When we arrived at the camp, we found that we had been assigned the wrong suite–and the suite we needed was locked. I ran off to the office to request a change. As I was going past the main building, I looked up and there on the roof was a man in a plaid flannel shirt and a beautiful smile. He asked if he could help, and I told him my problem. He said, “I can do anything.” I continued on to the manager’s office. The manager informed me that she was already aware of the problem and that it had been remedied.
Early Friday morning our ladies blew fuses in the “hotel” while getting ready. I waited until everyone was settled in for breakfast and ran off to report the problem. As I approached the office building, I again ran into the man with the plaid shirt and great smile and blurted out my problem. “I can do anything,” he said quietly. We went back into the hotel, and the power was on! How wonderful, I thought, that the camp had put someone on special duty to look after our needs.
We were ready to start the first rollo, and we all walked outside and around to the rollo room door–when I discovered that I had forgotten to unlock that particular door! As I was standing there, waiting for the others to catch up to me, I turned to see the smiling man in the plaid shirt beside me. I blurted out an apology for my forgetfulness, and again he said “I can do anything.” I put my hand on the door knob–and the door opened.
Saturday morning I awoke before sunrise and looked out the window to discover that the lights were out on the main pathway and that there was frost on the stairs and walkways to the chapel and dining hall. I was up extra early and out before any others were ready. As I came around the corner of the courtyard, there was my smiling man in the plaid shirt. Once again I told him the problem and again he said “I can do anything.” I looked around–the lights were on and the frost was gone!
Sunday morning we had a furnace problem and half of the rooms in the hotel lost heat. I left my seat at the breakfast table and there, in the kitchen next to the coffee pot, was the smiling man in the plaid shirt. Once again, I told him the problem and again the response, “I can do anything.” I sat back down and ate. After breakfast I went back to the hotel–and the heat was on!
After the closing, I went to the main office to learn where I could find the man in the plaid shirt to give him special thanks, and also to tell the manager how much we appreciated that the camp had appointed someone to watch out for our needs.
The manager had no idea what I was talking about. They had not had a maintenance person on duty, no one on staff was wearing a plaid shirt, and she had not seen anyone matching that description. Neither had anyone else! Each of my encounters with the man had been away from the group, and I hadn’t told anyone about how the problems were fixed.
All I can say is that a man in a plaid flannel shirt was there the whole weekend and that he had an awesome smile.
Did God send me an angel to carry me through those 72 hours, and does an angel sometimes wear a plaid flannel shirt? We say that God makes us aware when He is near, and that He can do anything, and that He sends his angels to watch over us.
What do you think?
Brenda Higgins is a member of the RIMA (Rhode Island and Massachusetts) Tres Dias Community. This story was originally published in a 2012 issue of this newsletter..