This Thanksgiving that really happened dates back to before I was married–therefore over 14 years ago. Probably over 20 years ago.
Often the weekend after Thanksgiving my family would head to St. Louis for a Bible Conference. We always enjoyed the time and made many friends. The venue for the conference would change, but one thing did not. Our hotel room was always filled with girls. The girls were assigned to rooms, but all of our friends would end up in one room. There were girls in sleeping bags all over the floor and girls in the double beds. And anywhere there wasn’t a girl, there was stuff. Hair stuff, food-munchie stuff, luggage stuff, just all that stuff that girls require to look their best and have the best time.
We never were asleep until the wee hours of the morning as some of these friends we didn’t get to see all that often. But when our heads did finally hit the pillow, we were in such a deep sleep, that if would take three different alarm clocks to get us out of bed the next morning.
That particular year, the hotel for the Bible Conference was rather, um, not the greatest. I guess it was a low-budget year. I remember that the hotel was supposed to look like a large white river boat, and had a large fake wheel on the side.
I also remember that the free continental breakfast that came with the room was served in a bar. It was very odd seeing all these folks in their “Sunday go to meeting” outfits eating breakfast next to the pool table–especially my grandpa.
Another interesting feature of the rooms is that each room had two doors. One door opened into the inside hallway, and the other door opened up onto the outside parking lot. I remember thinking that as odd, but not much else.
On this Thanksgiving that really happened, the room, filled with young, innocent, girls, talked until past 1:00 a.m. We were very exhausted and all fell into a deep sleep. Everywhere you looked there was either some golden hair spilled on a pillow or a straight-haired brunette sleeping. And so we all slept the sleep of the innocent.
I was one of the lucky ones who got a bed, and I was awakened by my Best Friend whispering in my ear. It didn’t make sense at first because she was saying, “Rebecca, wake up someone is trying to get in the room.” Then that changed to another more desperate whisper, “Pllllleeeeeeaaaaase wake up, there is someone in our room.” I woke up, and said, “What?” Again whispering, she said, “There are two men in our room.” I sat up in bed and behold there were two men in our hotel room, they had crossed over two girls in sleeping bags (still asleep) and were scanning the room. One had a dark, close-cut beard. So of course I screamed and yelled and grabbed the phone and dialed 911.
Nope. I was so innocent, that I said, “Oh, I’m sorry, you have the wrong room.” Because that was the only explanation that made sense to me. I had been instructed on “The Facts of Life,” but not on “The Evils of Life.” They both looked at me, then scanned the room again. I remember saying more emphatically, “This isn’t your room. You have the wrong room!” The one with the beard turned and looked at me again for a few seconds, and then they both turned and left the room.
So then we immediately called the front desk, and our parents, and bolted the door.
Nope. I flopped my weary head back down on the pillow and once again fell into an innocent and very deep sleep. My Very Best Friend might have added the dead bolt and chain, but I am not at all certain.
The next morning, once we were fully awake and realized the situation, them we immediately thanked the LORD for safety, and called our parents, and the front desk, and found a different hotel for the next night.
Nope. I think we giggled over the intrusion once or twice the next morning, but that was all. It wasn’t until many months later that somehow it came up in a conversation when my parents were present, and of course they were aghast.
What I now realize is scary. But what I also realize is that most assuredly there were “angels encamping round about that group of innocent girls.” Psalm 34:7 Even now, when I remember, I sometimes feel a little tremor of fear followed by a wave of thankfulness. That was a Thanksgiving that really happened.
P.S. Thanks again, LORD, for our safety.