When I returned all grown up to my grandparent’s house, I experienced the shock of seeing how tiny it was. But I loved it.
No “ding dong” doorbell rang in our house. Our doorbell was a wall clock with four long chimes that rang like Big Ben. To hear it ring in the dead of night was frightful and ominous.
Baba opened the door. A stranger, a light-skinned gentleman, engaged him in an urgent conversation and then Baba agreed to go somewhere with this stranger in the dead of night. Nana was fearful – she had had her share of scary experiences at the hands of pink folk. On a road trip to Gary, Indiana she and Baba were stopped by the cops and taken to the police station. They were convinced my grandfather had kidnapped her. While they kept Nana in custody in Indiana, Baba had to drive back to Cleveland, Ohio to get their marriage license. She was frightened out of her wits, but at least Baba got out of it alive. So yes, she was fearful when her husband drove off with this stranger in the dead of night.
After driving for some time, they approached a tall ornate iron gate which opened for them, and they pulled up to a mansion. Entering there, Baba noted several morose individuals in the big room. He was led into a bedroom where a priest was giving a man last rites. Asking the priest to leave the room, Baba stayed with the dying man all night until morning, praying, laying on hands and anointing him with blessed olive oil. The other people kept vigil in the outer room.
With break of day the dying man was healed and Baba was driven home. In payment the healed man, who subsequently left the Catholic church and joined the Pentecostal church, sent my grandparents a beautiful dining room set; a breakfront, table and several chairs decorated with Chinoiserie. His wife kept back one chair for remembrance. I have this breakfront now, a little worse for wear for having taken a detour before it came home to me.
I will note here that Baba’s older brother Samuel, in Detroit, also had the gift. He healed a Packard automobile executive and for years afterward received, in thanks, a free car whenever they changed the model. Uncle Sam never had to buy one. When my brothers and I were little in the fifties and visited Uncle Sam in Michigan, we used to play with the automatic windows until he locked them from the driver’s side. It was many years before automatic windows became standard in US cars.
As for the gift of healing, Baba later told me he knew when it came and he knew when it left.