Sunday, July 5, 2009
July 5 - Ann Parker
One of my very favorite Pioneer Stories of all time comes from Ann Parker. My guess is that you too would remember this one. I wanted to give you a break from another long read, so here is a wonderful story of faith through the eyes of Ann Parker. I call this story "The Red Shawl".
Falling asleep at the wrong place had greater hazards for six-year-old Arthur Parker. He had crept into the shade to rest during a morning break on a sultry June day in 1896 and had been left behind. His parents, Robert and Ann Parker, had assumed he was playing along the way with other children and did not miss him until they stopped that afternoon to make camp in the face of a sudden thunderstorm. It was then they realized Arthur was not with them.
Who can imagine the rising panic these parents felt in the next two days as the company remained while the men searched for their son? Finally, on July 2, with no alternative, the company was ordered west. Robert Parker went back alone to continue searching for his missing child. As he was leaving, his wife pinned a red shawl around his shoulders and said words such as these: "If you find him dead, wrap him in the shawl to bury him. If you find him alive, use this as a flag to signal us." Then with a sinking heart, she and their other children struggled on. Out on the trail each night Ann scanned the horizon for her husband, eyes straining for the sign. Day after frigthening day-nothing. Then, just at sundown on July 5, she saw a figure approaching from the east. In the last light of the setting sun she saw the glimmer of the bright, red shawl.
One of the diaries records, "Anne Parker fell in a pitiful heap upon the sand, and that night, for the first time in six nights, she slept." On July 5, Archer Walters recorded, "Brother Parker came into camp with a little boy that had been lost. Great joy through the camp. The mother's joy I cannot describe." It seems the little boy, sick with illness and terror, had been found by a woodcarver who had cared for him until his father had found him.