PART THREE– Israel to Bernalillo (cont.)
Their daughter, Andrea, was now sixteen. She was fully set on fulfilling the vow she had made a little over a year before. She cut her hair very short, plastered herself with makeup, and fitted herself into a pair of very tight jeans. Art and Doreen were perplexed and depressed, yet seemingly helpless to do anything about it. Andrea was of legal age to be independent of her parents and do as she pleased, and she was determined to take full and vengeful advantage.
We were witnessing the fulfillment of things we had warned them about over six years before, and the consequences of their ignoring those warnings.
The next day or two, Andrea, Marilyn, and I were in the living room watching something on TV. Art and Doreen were out. I was uncomfortable for both her and us because of some suggestive subject matter. Andrea had no desire to talk or change so, wisely or otherwise, I took the remote and changed channels. Andrea was immediately upset; she rose up and stomped out.
Each day we were there, the atmosphere grew colder and heavier. For the first couple of days, they wondered what we were going to do, but we had no idea. After three days, Art and Doreen would hardly speak to us. Yet there we were, on their living room floor, right in the middle of their small apartment with no idea of where to go or what to do. We were beginning to feel about as welcome as a large, fresh, stubborn rug stain. It was getting very uncomfortable.
I was still licking my wounds over the Trepanier affair, having acted hastily before Mike made a decision. Marilyn and I went for a walk, and I decided that no matter how uncomfortable and unpleasant it got, I wasn’t going to make the same mistake again. I was going to stick it out to the end. They would have to kick us out. I wouldn’t be volunteering to go.
(I didn’t care about Dave Cohen or any other lurking danger we would expose ourselves to by staying. My heart was firm.)
On Wednesday morning, three days after we arrived, Art broke his two days of silence. “I have something to say to you from the Lord,” he said in a gruff manner. “For your good, we are sending you on your way.”
He then proceeded to dump on me for the next quarter hour or so. He accused me of many things. Andrea had complained to him that I was controlling the TV, not letting her watch what she wanted (there was but one incident, with sex scenes). He once more accused us of being a bad influence on her, blaming her state and conduct on Marilyn’s “unholy example” by wearing slacks (though Marilyn didn’t wear short hair, jeans, or makeup). He accused me of doctrinal and spiritual error, of lacking love, and of being deceived.
We sat through the entire session of accusations and condemnation without saying a word. I knew there was no point. I had tried talking to him in the past, to no avail, and I knew he wouldn’t listen now.
Finally, he repeated that they loved us and were asking us to leave for our own good. And then he invited us to have breakfast with them before we left.
I replied, marveling, “Are you kidding? You just spent almost the last half hour dumping on me and accusing me of all kinds of evils, you’re kicking us out though we have nowhere to go, and now you invite us to sit down and eat with you?!”
With that, we packed our suitcases, pillows, and sleeping bags, and loaded them into our trailer. They asked us about our plants. I said, “How can we take them in the freezing cold? They’ll die. You can have them.” (I was sorry to see my artistic homemade habitant-styled wooden planters go, but what did it matter now?)
During the three days there, I made some long-distance phone calls to motels where I had applied for jobs, so on our way out, I placed some money for the calls, and for food and utilities, with surplus, on their foyer counter, and we left.
Marilyn and I were a bit shocked. We had just been kicked out of two homes, presumably of friends, in three days, without any conscious offence to our hosts; winter was upon us, and we still had no prospects of a home, job, or any direction from God as to what to do.
Campgrounds were closed for the season, and snow was beginning to fly. All we could think of doing was taking a motel nearby to compose ourselves, pray, gather our thoughts, and determine some course of action. Checking in, we went to our room, and I immediately fell to the floor on my knees beside the bed and said, “Lord, where do we go? What do we do?”
Immediately God said to me, “The second vision is now fulfilled. ”
“What?” I asked in great surprise, yet with credulity. “The second vision is fulfilled?”
I was amazed, and I told Marilyn. She had a witness that what I heard from the Lord was true. While I had expected to be literally killed by Dave Cohen, instead the fulfillment of the vision of Satan killing me was a tongue-lashing from Art, a session of false accusation and condemnation followed by expulsion.
However, that was bad enough, wasn’t it? The great unpleasantry was one thing, but it came from someone we had looked to for help and comfort, people we considered not only friends, but Christian companions in the spiritual pilgrim’s journey in this world. I had once even looked to Art as a spiritual elder or parent of sorts. But according to the vision, Satan came through Art and slew me, and there I was, as silent as a sheep in slaughter, with nary a word to speak in my defense.
Then so many things in our history with Art suddenly began to make sense. No wonder he had said the things he had said. No wonder he hadn’t believed the things I shared with him concerning the Lord. I had been looking to a tare for counsel and fellowship, expecting him to have understanding in the things of God. I was deceived by none other than the great deceiver himself, even slain by him, as was finally being made known to me nearly seven years later by the visions.
Who says there is no God?
Given the numerous previous telling experiences we had with the Beals, you might think, “Victor just doesn’t get it, does he?! Slow on the uptake or what?! What did he expect? A bouquet of roses and a box of chocolates?” I know I’m so slow on getting the message – very slow – but I think I can also say it just isn’t that simple. Some things take time to cook or come to maturity, and finally, they do.
I remember when in Star Wars, Luke was perishing in the very cold atmosphere of the planet he was on. Ben Kenobi appeared to him in spirit, telling him he would be going to another planet, Dagobah, for Jedi training. All Luke cared about was being saved from his present circumstances, but Ben didn’t say a word, or apparently do a thing, about them.
I felt the same way. There I was, asking God questions about our predicament, and all He told me was what had just happened. What I didn’t understand was that our circumstances were all being taken care of. The Lord reigns over all.
Wasn’t it getting rather obvious? We certainly weren’t calling the shots!
Two visions came back-to-back in Art and Doreen’s home in 1975. The Beals went their way, and we went ours for years. In the 7th year, we returned to their home (though a different home) in the same city, and the two visions came to pass back-to-back.
Who says there is no God?
When the Lord gave me these two visions, they seemed quite significant, especially the second one, in which Satan slew me, and significant they were. Yet when these dramatic visions were fulfilled with the Beals, the events seemed like common, ordinary occurrences.
Who can judge these things? Who can comprehend the power and influence of the seemingly small things happening to people every day? What is big and what is small?
This is why I’ve said, “Appreciate that the big things you’re looking for may be happening right now, most often in the cloak of insignificance.”
The Beals had told me, before we left, that they would like to know what happened to us. I decided to call the Beals to tell them the significance of the visions and the fulfillment. Did I call to have some sort of satisfaction? Perhaps; I don’t know. Doreen, as usual, answered. I told her what the Lord had revealed to us. She became very angry, but I don’t recall what she said. Obviously, in putting two and two together, they wouldn’t relish the thought of being in Satan’s stead.
We came to realize that the event at Trepaniers’ was the Lord’s marvelous preparation for the fulfillment of the visions at the Beals. It was a training session, a dry run. Yes, I had failed the Lord at the Trepaniers’, cracking under a little pressure, but it served to discipline me for the time when the real event would come and the two visions would be fulfilled, in the seventh year.
I consider that if we had left prematurely when things got heavy in the Beals’ home, the event of his tongue-lashing wouldn’t have occurred; in other words, the vision wouldn’t have been fulfilled. (Yet all God speaks must be fulfilled.)
From this time forth, we would be referring to a “Trep prep,” seeing other similar circumstances working out, knowing that our goof-ups were preparations for something important just around the corner. That’s encouraging to know, isn’t it? Others might refer to these circumstances of failure and learning as small tailored boot camps.
We checked the post office for mail and found letters from a motel owner or two. We decided to go back to Alberta and take one of those tentative offers. We stopped at Lloydminster, saw the busyness of one, including the responsibility of a restaurant, and the apparent desolation of the surrounding area, and decided we didn’t want it.
On we drove to Edmonton, arriving with ominously appropriate timing on Halloween night, right into the chastening hands of a rather untrusting, controlling, thrifty fellow, above 60 years of age, Hilbert Hansen, who owned the East Glen Motel in Westlock, about fifty miles north of Edmonton.
Now Edmonton and Westlock are geographically within the southern half of Alberta, but I had felt we were supposed to be living well into the southern half, in the Lethbridge area. It wasn’t happening.
That was another problem I had – I was always so afraid that what I thought I was hearing from the Lord was my own imagination, “voices in my head,” as my father once said in Dauphin. Perhaps Westlock was the place, but no, I wasn’t convinced or satisfied. Yet that is where we were going.
I often wondered why we had so little choice of motel management opportunities at the time of need, because there certainly were much better choices at other times, as we ruefully discovered later. However, with hindsight, there is no doubt we needed to be where we went – it was tailored to our needs. God knows His business.
One of the reasons I chose this motel was to be able to hide more easily. We heard the Cohens were still searching for us. With the motel position, I could cancel my license for the truck, not have an address or phone number listed in my name, and whatever else possible by this strategy to keep myself off any traceable public records.
It was silly and unbelieving of me to think this way. For how long does one flee? Where does it all end? I wasn’t trusting God for our protection. In that fear, we paid the price for our self-made security, which could easily be breached anyway.
Hilbert referred to us as transients, in a derogatory manner. Yes, we were as Abraham, transient, at least for a time. Yes, as the Bible said of him:
“By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out into a place which he was afterward going to receive for an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he went” (Hebrews 11:8 MKJV).
“By faith he lived in the land of promise as a stranger, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs of the same promise with him. For he looked for a city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God” (Hebrews 11:9-10 MKJV).
But there is no security in this world except that God gives it. He alone is the source of any security or prosperity. This I know, if it’s God’s will that I perish, not all the armies on earth can save me, not for one second. And there is also the other side of the equation: If He determines that I live, all the armies of the earth can’t prevent it.
Our job title was “manager,” but it was anything but. We were mostly maids, launderers, clerks, and repair-persons. We were offered, for a rental fee, an old abandoned dump of a house for a residence, which former managers wouldn’t accept (they stayed in motel suites, instead). It took us days to clean and condition the house, and something in it made Marilyn very ill. We later found the remains of a desiccated cat in the furnace fan motor compartment.
We got paid nothing for cleaning and repairing the house. When I repaired and painted the walls and plumbing, which wasn’t part of our job description, we were refused compensation. We were responsible 24 hours a day and were spelled off one day a month by Hilbert and his wife.
Customers would ring the service bell at all hours. I would wake up to a loud, crude bell in the house, hurriedly dress, run half-asleep across the parking lot to the office, say, at three a.m., check people in, and head back to the house. Just try to go back to sleep! And who ever knew the kind of people one might be dealing with? Sometimes drunks would ring the bell to wake us up just for laughs.
We calculated our wages for the hours put in to be perhaps $1.50 to $2.00 per hour, far less than our part-time hired help was getting paid to clean rooms. Though we were on partial commissions, we began to realize that Hilbert had everything figured out, and we weren’t free to think or act independently. There was really no way of making much more income from efficiency or innovative management. I felt like I was in a psychological, economic straitjacket, not that I was a potentially effective business manager anyway.
All the towels were white, which showed all stains, and thus had to be cleaned with extra care and labor, for no extra pay. Hilbert wouldn’t change colors, saying others were too expensive. Marilyn’s fingers began to crack on the sides of the nails and wouldn’t heal, likely because of the harsh detergents. It would be interesting, however, the way they would eventually heal, though years later.
We had some strange, eccentric clientele, and some were absolutely filthy. Our motel was their place of getting away and doing their thing, leaving us to deal with the mess. One day a biker gang came in, and while they were quite friendly, some used the white towels to clean their bikes! We often dealt with unpleasant happenings – stolen hotpots, stolen towels, filthiness, parties, drugs, unauthorized pets, disturbance of others, heavy smoking, incense burning, and more. My fascination for motels took a swift, effective, super-disillusioning trouncing.
The word was out – the East Glen Motel was the place to go for drug parties. I didn’t know that until, one day, not long after we took over, a fellow rented a suite and had such a party. The place was packed.
I wondered what I should do. Call the police? For some reason, I didn’t want to do that. I put on my muskrat fur hat, the kind the RCMP once wore. Wearing my parka, without warning, I walked into the room full of users. Boy, did they scramble! The host cleared everyone out immediately, paid me for extra cleaning bills, and was very cooperative in every way. The word got out, and nobody dared have a drug party there again.
One day, we received a phone call from a fellow who said he was on his way to Westlock on behalf of his contractor, who would need rooms for himself and his crew. The fellow was there a bit sooner than I expected, and signed for a room. We didn’t collect in advance, and we weren’t in the habit of getting much in credentials.
I was wondering about him, however. He looked like anything but a carpenter or construction worker. He was small and skinny, had long fingernails and tender hands, and when I asked him about his carpentry, he spoke of placing a specific number of two-by-fours here and there.
I suspected a dud, but somehow didn’t catch on. I must say I am abysmally slow at catching on to the implications of things, as blatantly obvious as they may be. Someone can punch me in the nose in broad daylight, and I won’t catch on until some night two months later at three in the morning, I might sit up in bed and exclaim, “He hit me in the nose!”
I’m still only now realizing things as I write, things that happened decades ago. More astute people might have picked up on these things in minutes or even seconds. And I once wanted to be a detective or a lawyer? I would have starved to death and never figured out why.
The kid was a dud. He laughed out loud in amusement when he discovered what an easy pushover I was, recommending places to eat in town and not asking for credentials. When I questioned him once, he said his boss wouldn’t take kindly to being questioned on his integrity. I should have known then, but my problem was that business was very slow, and I wanted his, especially with a crew. I let it go.
After three days of this fellow watching TV, sprawled out on his bed day and night, eating junk food, no crew showing up and excuses as to why not, I decided to deal with it. He had nothing to pay and was gone.
I then called the police, who located him farther north doing the same thing. He made a career of fraudulent mooching and was known for it. He was a fetal alcohol syndrome victim, with nowhere to go and nothing to do. I was angered that he had suckered me. I wanted justice, but the police encouraged me to let it go, that there was no point, though they would try to rein the guy in and warn others.
I should have pitied, rather than resented, the wretched soul, but that was my problem, which was bigger than his. While his wasn’t a moral or spiritual problem, mine was. His was a matter of mental dysfunction from the womb; mine was a matter of attitude since the womb.
Beware of those who want what you have. Beware of yourself when you want what others have.
On another occasion, a fellow clandestinely brought a girlfriend in, and we had just changed the prices so there was a difference between one and two persons. When he paid at the checkout, I saw her sneaking out the back way. I realized that the fellow was linked to the sneaker. I asked him who the woman was, and he pretended he didn’t know, but in a mirror, I saw her enter his truck.
I didn’t like his lying to me. As they were driving out in his high big-wheeled diesel truck, I grabbed the passenger door, opened it, and found them both there, exposing him, and that, in front of his lady friend. I instantly realized I was dealing with a proud, violent young man.
He was enraged! He tore out of the truck and after some moments of arguing and railing on me (I was being very nice to him and asking his consideration), he said, “How much more is it?”
I said, “Two dollars.”
In a moment of great potential danger, this was frightening, funny, and embarrassing at the same time. He looked at me with a mixture of expressions that worked their way around his face, tried to avoid each other, and collided, getting lost in limbo somewhere.
On the one hand, he may have been relieved it wasn’t more like ten times that amount, but on the other hand, he couldn’t understand why I would go to so much trouble, and even embarrass him, for two dollars (I couldn’t either)! How does one get stunned and relieved at the same time, while being embarrassed in front of his escort? In a confounded state, he paid the two dollars, got back into the truck, and angrily drove off.
As I watched the highway from the office, I saw him driving back and forth for the next two hours or more, and knew he was raging and contemplating something. I then had a vision of a six-gun, pointing to the ground, disarmed. I knew I had been spared violence, or perhaps even murder, by being inoffensive towards him in attitude, though I had confronted him.
So again we reviewed the pricing policies of our rooms for the number of occupants. It didn’t make sense to charge a mere $2 for another person. Either don’t charge at all or make it worthwhile. Quit the confusion in between.
We were soon approached by a local Pentecostal pastor for rooms. He invited us to his church. We went one evening, hoping to find living water for our thirsty souls. As we ascended the steps to the sanctuary, the Lord said, “You won’t find what you are looking for here.” We didn’t turn around at those words. We went in to the meeting and, as He spoke, so it was – dead.