Bobbie slowly became aware of the pounding in his head. He felt like he had just been hit in the face by Mike Tyson. With his growing awareness, Bobbie also noticed the pain across his chest and the cold. God, he was cold! Then it hit him, his pickup truck had hit a patch of ice and he had slid headlong over the embankment to land nose down, ass up in a snow drift. The pain in his head was from the airbag deployment. The pain in his chest was from the seat belt, and the cold – well it was only 25 degrees out that Christmas Eve night.
Bobbie had been out visiting his girlfriend that evening. His parents had told him not to stay late as the next day was Christmas. However as was the case with most teenaged boys, when Bobbie was with Sheryl time was not important except that there was never enough of it. So it was that Bobbie was hurrying home that Christmas Eve evening – and probably going too fast for the conditions.
After struggling out of the hopelessly stuck truck, Bobbie looked around and saw – nothing. There was no traffic, no driveways, no houses, and no lights – no nothing. So he did what all of us do nowadays; he reached for his cell phone. It was then that he found he had no cell service – Damn AT&T! Now what, it was nearly 5 miles back to his girlfriend's house and almost the same distance to his home. That's a long walk in dress shoes, and a light jacket, not to mention that his head hurt and even taking a breath made him remember his aching ribs.
As he stood there looking out into the darkness pondering his fate and cursing his bad luck, Bobbie sensed rather than saw a glow in the distance. His frozen toes told him that anything was better than standing around doing nothing. So after struggling through a waist deep drift to get to the other side of the ditch, Bobbie started out. At first the snow was nearly a foot deep, but as he entered the woods it was no more than ankle deep. Unfortunately, that was still plenty deep to melt into his socks and then the moisture would then wick into his shoes. This made his already cold feet even more unbearable.
Bobbie trudged on, slowly the glow brightened; there was definitely something out there. After nearly a half a mile of pounding a path through the woods he finally burst through to a clearing.
As he came into the open Bobbie's jaw dropped at what he saw. Standing in the middle of the clearing were 3 people, camel jockeys! The man was dressed in brown robes with a lighter tan headdress. He had a full brown beard and, to Bobbie, looked to be Osma's twin brother. The woman was dressed in, what appeared to be a silken robe of a light blue color. She wore a veil of white that was wrapped around her neck for protection from the cold. But it was the baby that got Bobbie's attention. The woman held the baby, who was wrapped in the finest white linen. He had one arm loose and seemed to be beckoning Bobbie to come closer. The baby's eyes were locked on Bobbie's and seemed to bore into his soul. The glow that had first attracted Bobbie seemed to emanate from the baby itself! To top it all off, Bobbie noticed for the first time their horse. It was the damnedest horse he had ever seen. Instead of the normal swayback, this horse had a hump!
With the last of his failing strength, Bobbie approached the trio. That was the last he remembered until his baby sister came running into his room screaming for him to get up as it was Christmas morning!
"Bobbie! Bobbie! You got to get up! It's time to open ... WHAT HAPPENED TO YOU? YOU LOOK LIKE A RACCOON!" screamed his sister, Betty Sue.
It was then that the events of the previous evening came back to him. The crash, the pain in his head, his sore ribs and his frozen feet. Then with a rush, he remembered the Arab-like family. Bobbie bolted from bed. One glance in the mirror confirmed his two black eyes.
Bobbie ran into living room to the astonishment of his Mother and Father. Each immediately fell into their respective roles. His Mom rushed to comfort him and his Dad began to question him so that he could fix whatever it was that needed fixing.
Bobbie and his family had grown accustomed to the news of the Middle East wars and the jihad against them and their country. Because of this, distrust of all people of Middle Eastern decent was just another bias to add to their prejudice of all people not the same as them. It didn't matter, black, brown, yellow or red. Jewish, Muslim, Hindu or Catholic, they were all the same to Bobbie's family – inferior.
After hearing Bobbies story, Bobbie's dad was convinced that there was a terror cell bent on destroying their backwoods community. The baby's glowing was probably from a nuclear bomb strapped to him. He loaded his truck with his rifles and Bobbie and went back to the crash site to "kick some rag-head ass."
Upon arrival, they found Bobbies truck just as he described. They would definitely need a wrecker to get it out. Bobbie showed his Dad his tracks leading into the forest. As they backtracked deeper into the woods, each took a firmer hold on their rifle. Suddenly they burst out into the clearing and stood in astonishment.
Bobbie's tracks from the previous night ended in mid-clearing, and there was nothing else but an AT&T cell tower! Bobbie thought to himself "Damn AT&T, why didn't my cell phone work last night?" More importantly there was no sign of Arabs, bombs or even funny horses. There wasn't even any indication of how Bobbie left the clearing the previous night. It was clear that except for Bobbies footprints entering the clearing the snow had not been disturbed.
What was going on? How did Bobbie get home? How did he even leave the clearing?
These and many other questions bothered Bobbie and his family for months to come. Bobbie was sure that someone, most assuredly this family of Middle Eastern decent had helped him – no probably saved him that night. Who were they and where did they go? In his mind they couldn't have been terrorists as nothing had ever happened.
Change, as it usually does, happened slowly and to differing degrees with-in the family. Slowly the days turned into weeks and the weeks into months. Bobbie and his Mom began to rethink their long held prejudices and for differing reasons.
Bobbie began to look with more objectivity at his Dad's views and began to ask why. He began to look at people as individuals and not as ethnic or religious groups. Slowly he began to strike up conversations with people who, 6 months ago, he would have crossed the street to avoid. What he found shook him to his core. These people, who he had shunned as not worthy of his notice, were really just like him. They had the same dreams and aspirations. They had the same fears and trepidations. These people except for skins color and/or religious convictions were basically the same as him.