Ray Stephens and Summer Cody

Recorded April 8, 2021 Archived April 8, 2021 33:18 minutes
0:00 / 0:00
Id: mby020563

Description

Summer Cody (22) talks to new friend Ray Stephens (76) about a person who Ray met during a 2012 blizzard and how that person changed Ray's life.

Subject Log / Time Code

RS talks about the snowstorm during Christmas of 2012. He also talks about taking pictures from his porch during the blizzard.
RS talks about standing on his porch and seeing a person walking through the blizzard, who said that he wanted RS to make a phone call for him.
RS says that he knew the man was in trouble and needed help, and he couldn’t let him keep walking alone in the snow. RS shares that he told the man he would take him wherever he needed to go.
RS describes driving the man, named Walter, through the snowstorm to the halfway house where Walter was living. RS also talks about what Walter told him during that drive.
RS says that a week later, Walter showed up on his door, and, while talking to RS’s wife, said, “I wanted to say thank you to your husband for saving my life the other night.”
RS shares that two years later, Walter came to the door once again and told RS that he had become a minister in a church. RS says that he hasn’t seen Walter since then.
RS talks about the role that meeting Walter played in RS’s own spiritual journey.
RS shares a message he would like to give to Walter, saying that he hopes their paths will cross again.

Participants

  • Ray Stephens
  • Summer Cody

Recording Location

Virtual Recording

Subjects


Transcript

StoryCorps uses Google Cloud Speech-to-Text and Natural Language API to provide machine-generated transcripts. Transcripts have not been checked for accuracy and may contain errors. Learn more about our FAQs through our Help Center or do not hesitate to get in touch with us if you have any questions.

00:04 My name is Ray Stevens. I am 76 years old.

00:10 Today is April 8th.

00:14 2021

00:16 I live in Little Rock, Arkansas.

00:21 I am speaking this morning with summer and summer is my new friend this morning.

00:30 Hello. My name is Summer Cody. I am 22 years old. Today's date is Thursday, April 8th 2021. I'm calling in from Brooklyn New York. The name of a conversation partner is right and we are new friends and I'm very excited to speak with him today. All right, so I'm just going to go ahead and if you hear a cat my apologies it is my cat is very noisy. But I'm just going to jump in really quickly for first question, which is could you just tell me a little bit about the Christmas of 2012 and why that stands out in your memory and it's so important to you. It was it stands out in my memory from the standpoint that

01:18 One of the big things about it was, Arkansas weather.

01:22 And very seldom do we ever get big snow storms in Arkansas? We had won this past February in which we got 13 inches of snow. Actually. It was 15, I guess.

01:38 But this particular Christmas it was it was really an exception. It wasn't snowing when my wife and I were driving over to my daughters and son-in-law's house have Christmas dinner and watch bring kids open their Christmas gifts from us.

02:00 But while we were there it came down.

02:09 We were there for four hours.

02:12 And while we were there

02:16 Interest note so much that driving home. What normally was there 10 minute drive took us 45 minutes to get home.

02:28 I'm very fortunate because I grew up in Colorado and learned how to drive in in the winter time and so consequently navigate it and we made it home safely.

02:47 Awesome, but was there something else that was very special about that night for you?

02:56 It was very special for me snow is very magical.

03:08 There's something about snow at night for me. And I guess it was growing up in Colorado that did this for me because I used to love to watch snow especially big snow when it was falling in the way that the light plays on it at night and Shadows on it.

03:32 Unworldly things to it. It it it isn't such different shapes and shadows and you know, it reflects the light reflects off of everything and it's so still and quiet in the specially because of this particular night, and there wasn't any traffic Gallup.

03:54 Everything was so quiet.

03:59 But

04:01 I was like to take pictures of smoke and

04:08 That night wasn't any particularly different.

04:12 So I stood there on the front porch.

04:15 And I looked at it and I was amazed by it. You know, I went back into the house when I got my camera and I guess

04:27 I'm not a very I'm not a professional photographer. I will own up to that. I've read a lot about about photography and digital photography. Does this for you now, you can take a gazillion pictures.

04:46 Flushing and the photographers the professional photographers tell you to take picture after picture after picture and then you look for that perfect picture. So I did I took pictures.

05:05 With the light in in towards the light and across select, you know, hoping that that I would come up with just that that perfect picture.

05:16 And then I went to the back.

05:18 Back porch and I turn the flood lights on back during this totally different because my front yard is not well lid that has has straight pipes and such will the backyard has flood lights back there. And so everything is bright and snow drifts and

05:38 I just repeated the whole thing.

05:41 I sat there and I took pictures and Marvel that.

05:48 And we came back into the house.

05:51 And then for some reason

05:54 I felt compelled to go back out on the front porch.

06:00 And take more pictures and

06:08 I'm not sure why.

06:17 And what what happens after that when you went back out?

06:23 Like I said, I just like to take pictures of snow.

06:30 I stood there and I was just soaking in the Stillness of everything and

06:37 So I started taking more pictures and and that's always doing it.

06:44 It was something that caught my eye.

06:47 There was movement.

06:50 Coming from the left.

06:52 Coming down the block and it was a figure that was coming down through coming down the block and and this figure was was walking but it was more like he was struggling there is leaning against the wind and

07:12 And just pushing against it.

07:16 And

07:19 Is he came came up?

07:22 Parallels near me

07:26 You saw me in return to me.

07:29 When you yelled out it.

07:32 He asked me if I'd make a telephone call.

07:38 And I told him I would.

07:41 When you wanted me to call this girlfriend.

07:44 Well, I'm hearing impaired. So I asked him I said come up closer to me so I can I can hear what you want me to do.

07:54 So I gave him the information. He told me that he wanted me to call his girlfriend and to

08:02 To reassure her.

08:04 If he was, okay.

08:07 If he has made it.

08:10 As far as you can.

08:13 When I told him I would.

08:15 When I got my cell phone out and that's why I turned around. I saw him turn around and start walking back down the driveway and feel down with me.

08:29 MS

08:33 I just

08:37 I couldn't let him go.

08:44 So Howard Beckett?

08:47 Matt golden come back.

08:52 I told him I said.

08:56 I can't let you go on.

09:01 I made a decision right then.

09:05 To take them wherever you need it until

09:11 And no.

09:15 So I told my wife that's what I was going to do.

09:22 Did you know anything about this person but she had just met and we're going to take somewhere where he had to go.

09:30 No.

09:34 All I knew was that.

09:38 He was

09:40 He was in trouble who he needed help. I mean from the looks of him because he'd been walking through deep snow.

09:50 I mean he was he was wet.

09:54 It was cold.

09:59 It was obviously.

10:02 It had a pretty rough time.

10:12 And how do you what have you learned about him since then? What what do you know about him now. Who he is?

10:21 That's where it got kind of interested.

10:25 Cuz

10:28 On fan belt was the

10:32 Is a parolee from prison?

10:35 Right

10:38 And

10:42 Knowing my professional life

10:47 I've worked with alcoholics that work with addicts networked with.

10:52 Incarcerated individuals in and most of them are ordinary people that are just made.

10:59 Bad life choices

11:02 So

11:05 Thinking back on this other probably done it.

11:09 You know, I'll probably done it even if I didn't own.

11:15 That's what he was.

11:18 It really didn't matter.

11:23 He needed help.

11:28 So

11:30 Make the phone call.

11:33 And then we back the car out of the garage.

11:36 And we

11:38 Slowly starting

11:41 Driving to the halfway house.

11:44 Rolling sky

11:52 When is Magnus Walker?

11:57 When Walter didn't rather than 24 hour.

12:05 As because it was Christmas time.

12:09 And the

12:12 What is card gotten stuck in this girlfriends parking lot?

12:19 And that was about two miles north of Of Mice.

12:25 And Walter has been walking for the past nearly three hours to get to where he was and the two miles north up and down some really really big hills and

12:44 It was obvious that you needed.

12:48 Fallen several times cuz she gets snow.

12:53 All over him. He was wet almost to his waist.

12:58 Is in pretty bad shape.

13:06 It already broken his curfew.

13:10 Like 2 hours cuz it was nearly 10 by then. He was supposed to be back by 8 and he was scared to death.

13:19 Davis can you get sent back to the penitentiary?

13:24 Because the people there at the halfway house were basically the stadiums and any parole violations, which that was a parole violation had to be reported in them.

13:42 Walter was really worried.

13:48 Anyway

13:53 Well, we're driving alone. He was telling me about his life.

13:58 Told me that he had lived a very good life and he made some really bad choices.

14:04 Let it costing time in the penitentiary but that he had a good job now a bridge painter on on the interstate.

14:16 Highway project and that he was really trying hard to to turn his life around.

14:28 And he kept talking and you needed to talk so I'm a listen to him.

14:36 And then

14:41 He had a pause in his in his conversation that was few seconds of Silence.

14:49 So I took a deep breath and I told him.

14:55 I said Walter.

15:00 About 15-20 minutes ago.

15:07 I don't know why I came back out on the front porch.

15:13 I said because I'd already been out there.

15:18 Taking pictures

15:20 And I don't know summer if you favor if you've ever looked at pictures of snow falling falling snow, especially.

15:32 With my camera, which is the low in camera.

15:40 There's there's not a whole lot of difference in one picture to another to differentiate.

15:48 You know those pictures you just don't see that much difference between and and I told Walter. I don't know why I went back up there. I mean

16:04 I'm not that good of a photographer.

16:09 And then there was more silence.

16:14 And Walters in

16:21 Lenny told me

16:25 Isabel maybe it was me.

16:34 And then there was a long.

16:43 And then we came up to a side street and he said

16:47 He said wait a minute. Here's to you. Here's where you turn. He said no, he said stop. I don't want you. I don't go any further I said because this is this is an area that has been driven into me, so I don't want you to get stuck.

17:04 Well, I've got a little four-wheel drive vehicle and it had already proven itself. It was it was fully capable not told him I said

17:16 You've already been through enough.

17:20 You're not you're not going to I'm not going to watch you get out struggle to get through more snow. I said, I'm I'm taking you to the door.

17:31 So

17:33 I want to ask.

17:38 And we we pushed on and if we made it we slip to

17:43 Slither but we got up the hills and we made it up to the halfway house.

17:54 We said our goodbyes and you think me over and over.

18:02 You told me to be careful going home.

18:07 So many times that I think I lost count.

18:15 It was really concerned.

18:21 His final words to me were Merry Christmas. God bless you.

18:32 And I drove safely back.

18:36 I'm praying and hoping.

18:39 Little Broken curfew would result

18:44 Ultra being sent back injury

18:52 Have you went and Walter kept in touch over the years?

18:59 No.

19:06 Actually, I did see him.

19:10 In fact, Arkansas weather is kind of

19:16 And a strange I mean we can have

19:20 Just like this last this last.

19:23 February we have those 15 in of snow.

19:28 And within a week, I mean it was all wrong it it was in this.

19:39 2012 was much different. We had bright sunshine and fairly moderate temperatures in the snow was gone.

19:50 And the next week

19:52 There was a knock on the door and my wife went and open the door and we live on a fairly busy street. It's not unusual.

20:03 How do you get people to knock on the door?

20:09 I would caution will go in and follow my wife to the door just for sake.

20:17 I got there just in time.

20:20 You're a man's voice.

20:29 He said hi. My name is Walter.

20:33 I just want to stop by and say thank you for your husband saving my life tonight.

20:44 Will my door my wife?

20:58 Dirty Work Clothes to London

21:02 Wouldn't come in the house and sit out on the porch.

21:11 Medium shank me.

21:15 He didn't stay too long because he had to get back to the halfway house, but

21:22 You turned around.

21:25 Walked out of my life

21:32 If we fast-forward 2 years, you know I have

21:36 Over the two-year.

21:40 Civil proceedings thoughts about Walter off and on what happened to me.

21:45 Wondering

21:48 Where he was and what he was doing.

21:53 And

21:55 Weir's later little over two years later

22:01 It was my turn to answer the door.

22:06 There was a totally different Walter standings.

22:10 Well dressed

22:15 With a great big smile on his face.

22:19 Unmistakable who he was

22:24 They invited me on this at their living room. We talk to each other.

22:31 Probably

22:33 Probably spend an hour.

22:36 Talking with each other just just catching up on each other's Journeys and

22:45 His job and finished with a interstate construction project being completed.

22:53 Dominican big smile on his face

22:58 We sent the founder of our faith community.

23:06 Have accepted him for

23:09 For who he was rather than what they expected him to be.

23:18 Mutant made such a difference in him that

23:22 Did Devin his last film?

23:25 They become a minister in that church.

23:30 Really?

23:33 They rejoiced in yet.

23:36 It's really a special time.

23:42 I told him what a difference.

23:46 Kim has made in my life we talked about what he did I marry.

24:03 And how I had thought about that over no.

24:08 1 mile

24:16 You're finally said, you know that he needed to leave but then he probably gave me this.

24:24 The biggest bear hug that I've ever had.

24:30 And many

24:40 You should my hand again.

24:46 We should thank you for

24:49 What you did for a stranger that Christmas?

24:55 You said you didn't know me.

24:58 What you risk your life to help you?

25:01 He said they'll never forget you.

25:09 And have you seen Walter since then have you kept in touch since then?

25:18 But I think about him often.

25:25 That's what made me want to.

25:29 To talk about it.

25:32 Now

25:37 Because I often think about

25:43 That little

25:45 Four words that he said

25:49 Maybe it was me.

25:55 Cuz I'm a ponerte about that for a long time and I've been on a spiritual journey.

26:05 I went to Seminary for 2 years.

26:09 But that's really wasn't I don't think where I was meant to be.

26:19 Probably done more Ministry in my life not being a professional Minister within I would have this if I had actually gone and completed my mind.

26:32 Ministerial degree

26:37 But

26:38 You know, there's been times that I've been more aware of my spiritual journey.

26:44 Another person's probably that time when I'm at Walter was one of the other times.

26:55 But one thing that I have learned is that in my life.

27:01 And it's not just been the Walter time. It's been repeated over and over and over.

27:07 If there are many coincidences in my life.

27:12 Life isn't isn't work for me.

27:22 What how your power I will relate to as my God?

27:28 And

27:30 On that Christmas night

27:33 I had a grot in him.

27:37 Some people

27:40 Might say that that I met Jesus At Night.

27:45 But what I know was I have a big nose from the spirit?

27:52 It sent me back out on.

27:54 To the front porch

27:59 To make that stranger

28:02 It was desperately in need of help.

28:07 And because of that.

28:11 I'm Every Woman.

28:16 And was able to help.

28:22 We have

28:25 We have opportunities in life.

28:29 To make decisions

28:33 And I can't say that I always make the right decision. I'd like to leave that I do but I don't like keep trying and this is hit every day you're presented with choices.

28:55 And one more presented when these with these choices.

29:02 We have that opportunity.

29:07 To say yes or no.

29:12 And that was the case that night.

29:16 That's what I did.

29:23 I guess.

29:26 I've had a heightened awareness.

29:29 Since meeting Walter

29:31 Of what I call my God moments.

29:36 And Ed's

29:40 They let me into a deeper spiritual journey that I continue to walk.

29:50 And it has been such a fulfilling hard my life and I'm happy for that.

30:12 Would you describe yourself as more tuned in?

30:20 Yeah, probably so.

30:23 I think I'm probably more aware of the messages send impulses that now.

30:37 Legacy

30:43 I wish I could say I'm a hundred percent successful at that, but I'm not.

30:55 I do try to find tune myself a little bit more.

31:00 As I do it's more Richie.

31:05 Ms. I'm enjoying life.

31:13 I'm also finding myself more.

31:17 Aware of

31:20 They need to be looking around.

31:25 And seeing the needs of others and

31:34 When seeing

31:39 Seeing God's children through God's eyes.

31:43 And seeing their needs.

31:48 I'm not just trying to look at them through my own eyes.

31:56 Cuz I've been given a capacity to love.

32:02 Because I've been giving that love.

32:06 Unconditionally

32:09 Cuz I sure don't deserve it.

32:20 Is there a anything else that you would like to say about Walter?

32:39 Yes, I'd like to say Walter you're still out there.

32:47 I hope that someday our paths will.

32:50 Cross again

32:54 When you catch up with each other's space Journeys.

33:01 I met until until that time comes.

33:07 God bless you, my friend.