Please note that this is not a ghost story, but more about the unexplained mysteries surrounding our "Human Senses". I do not proclaim to have any gifts along those lines that would make me different from anyone else. However, the events in this story are true, and raised some obvious questions that cannot truly be answered.
The year was 2001, and I was the PGA Director of Instruction at a municipal golf course located in Ridgefield, CT. My position, at the club, also included my managing the golf practice range facility, and its budget, etc. As the years had gone by, new homes were built along the right side of the range. The homes were in close proximity to the range which made them very susceptible to errant or wayward golf shots. A 40' high net was constructed in hopes to better protect our neighbors, but it proved not to be high enough.
The neighbors formed a committee and presented their justified concerns, for safety, to the First Selectman. All of the neighbors had stories about golf balls hitting their homes, landing in their yards, and landing close to children playing in their yards. They even said that they have had to move family cookouts indoors for fear of being injured by errant golf balls. They easily proved their case because everyone of them had barrels of golf balls that they had collected, from their yards, stored in their garages. So, rather than face being closed or having to deal with a lawsuit, the club was naturally faced with addressing the problem. Needless to say we got to meet all the neighbors on several occasions as we worked toward a solution.
There was one neighbor who took a particular interest in me. Her name was Anna. She was 88 years old, and lived by herself. She was an extremely spiritual, and religious woman. She had built a Grotto in her backyard very close to the range. She explained that she had been hit, by our golf balls, numerous times while praying at her Grotto. In getting to know her, I found out that she was an exceptional woman who had led a storied life.
I recognized her accent, but could not put my finger on it. Upon my introduction to her, she was elated to tell me that my last name "Papp" was Hungarian. I said, "yes, my father's side of the family came from Torma, Hungary". She explained that "PAPP" in Hungarian means "Priest", and that its derivatives can be found in the words "Pope", and "Papal". She explained how she grew up in Hungary, and her family's escape from Hitler's regime into Vienna. In Vienna she became an accomplished dress maker for the Vienna Opera House. She was immediately drawn to me, and said that she had prayed for me to come to help protect her. Well, at this point, I found myself more than committed to solving our golf range situation with the neighbors.
She invited me over to her house, and we chatted about her family. I brought pictures to show her of my baby daughter, Emily. She would give me gifts off a shelf in her living room for me to bring home to Emily. She had become a fascinating woman in my life to know. Almost like my grandmother, who had long since passed. She would always remind me that she felt safer knowing that I was nearby. I gave her my work number to call me if she ever needed help with anything. She did call occasionally with concerns over the developments of our golf range resolution plans. I would walk over to sit with her for a little bit. And, she always thanked me when I left. She referred to me as her "Saint Michael".
One morning, I began my lesson schedule as usual. I was working with an older gentleman that I had worked with before. It was mid morning, and during the lesson I stopped teaching for a moment. My student asked if something was wrong? I replied, "I don't know"? I began to teach again, and the same strange feeling happened again. I said to my student, "please forgive me, but I have to go check on Anna". "I feel like something happened to her"? He worked with his son as an EMT, and he said, "let's go"!
I ran towards the opening, in the netting, past her Grotto. I was yelling her name, "Anna, Anna are you alright"? As I came through the trees, in her yard, I could see her laying down on her back on her patio. As I got closer, I could see that she was hurt, and moaning in pain. She had fallen down her steps that led out to her pool. In her attempts to save herself from falling, she had grabbed onto a wooden window flower box. The box was filled with dirt. As she fell, she pulled it on top of her. The flower box was laying next to her, and she was covered in dirt. I yelled back to my student to run to the clubhouse, and call 911.
I did not know if I should have left her laying still, and wait for the ambulance or what? But, I got her up, and begged her to please help me try to get her into the house. She was a big woman, but I got her into her living room to sit in a cushioned chair. Soon the ambulance arrived, and she was taken to the hospital.
Anna had a daughter, who I had never met. Later that day, I received a phone call. It was Anna's daughter, and she explained that she had just got back from the Hospital. She said that her mother was in stable condition, but would remain in the ICU unit for a day or so. She told me that "my mother made sure that I call you to thank you". Anna told her daughter "that she knew that I would always be there to protect her". She said that her mother "thanked God for sending me to help".
Anna had suffered two broken ribs, and they had punctured her lung. Unable to help herself, the doctors explained that she would have died within a couple of hours. After Anna's recovery, I would continue to check in on her occasionally. Anna would live, and eventually die from natural causes. But, not that day. What a full life she led.
The Lord does work in mysterious ways...