Central City, CO“You go help them and I’ll call 9-1-1!” I yelled.

Tim and I had been casually exploring the tiny mining town of Central City, Colorado, founded during the Pike’s Peak Gold Rush. We felt as if we were on the set of an old western movie. Saloons and casinos with names like “Easy Street” and “Bonanza” lined both sides of the narrow Main Street. We ate lunch at Millie’s Restaurant and poked around in Annie Oakley’s Emporium and General Store.

As we stepped out of the general store, the sound of a racing engine caused us to glance to the right. The sound was coming from a van and the van was flying down the hill toward the row of buildings across the street from us—no squealing tires—no brakes applied. Just before colliding with the end building, the van veered sharply to the right and crashed head-on into a rock wall.

Tim ran toward the accident and I grabbed my phone from the outside pocket of my purse. My hand was shaking so badly that I could hardly swipe the screen to unlock it. I hit “9-1-1” and had my finger on “Send” when a voice from behind me boomed, “Melvin is on the way!”

I spun around to find myself face-to-face with the sales clerk from Annie Oakley’s. “I already called and Melvin is on the way!” she repeated. It took me a second to realize what she was talking about. But then I heard it—the lone siren from one street away.

Are we in Mayberry? I wondered.

Melvin, Central City’s one on-duty police officer, arrived within seconds. He and Tim helped six dazed and bloody people climb out of the smoking van. One whiff of the air surrounding them made it quite clear that alcohol was involved. Melvin checked everybody over carefully and, miraculously, no one had major injuries. The driver attempted to inconspicuously mosey off, but Melvin was on her like Andy Griffith. That bunch definitely dodged the bullet of a tragic accident. Now, however, they were in big trouble with Melvin!


“Be brave. Be strong. Don’t give up. Expect God to get here soon” (Psalm 31:24 MSG).


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