Christmas miracle inspires a letter

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Last Sept. 15, Kade Kotheimer, the son of Boardman Township’s finest, Police Officer Jim Kotheimer, was injured in an accident so horrendous that he was not expected to live and lay in a coma for weeks.
The accident was in Speedway, Ind., where he was a firefighter and there, as well as locally, fire departments and firefighters rallied to help financially and in any other way they could. There were many prayers.
Since this is a “Happy New Year” column, I should get to the point: Kade emerged from the coma, is doing much better although his many injuries will trouble him for the rest of his life, and his parents and his bride have remained by his side.
A year or so ago, Kim helped me with a trespassing problem and since I felt I knew him personally as well as in his profession, I’ve kept track of Kade’s progress. When I learned he was improving, I wrote to Kim to say how awed I was at the Christmas miracle, and Kim had written me the most interesting letter which I am sharing with you. As you might imagine, knowing me, there is a horse involved. This is what Kim wrote:
“On Oct. 14, 1986, a four-year-old Kade Kotheimer and I visited with a friend who has a small horse farm in Berlin Township. Less than two months prior to that visit we had lost our second son, Kyle, due to a number of congenital anomalies. Of course we were all having a hard time understanding our loss, especially young Kade. Our friend, Barb (Gill) had a two-year-old Arabian mare named Autumn-Te. Autumn spooked easily and came to us without hesitation.
“After hearing about Kade’s tragedy, Barb sent us a card to let us know that she lit a candle and prayed for us. She included a three-by-five photo from 1986 of a smiling Kade being held by me as Autumn nudged up against him with her nose. From that day forward things were better for Kade. Barb also wrote in the card that she had asked a prayer from the healing medicine of the horse to whom Native Americans prayed for compassion and healing.
“It has been said that prayer is a part of the Divine plan for making over that which is into that which ought to be. While many believe in prayer and angels and some draw upon their own inward resources when faced with trails and difficulties, others believe that there is a real spiritual and a healing connection between horses and humans.
“The case of Kade and Autumn shows that maybe there is a connection between those two which somehow spared Kade. But does it really matter what spared Kade? What matters is that he was and goes to show that within spiritual diversity common threads do exist.
“Autumn is now 22 years old.
” … and the clouds go away one bright blessing at a time … ”
The photo Barb sent is copied at the bottom of the letter.
I was unable to reach Kim to ask permission to share his letter, but it was so inspirational it needed to be shared.
Kade has a long road ahead of him, but I do believe Autumn’s healing spirit will be with him every mile.
* * *
Not being a sports enthusiast, I usually just skim those pages in the daily paper, but a headline jumped out at me recently: “Baseball Salary Up 9 Percent.” Reading further, I gasped at this: “The average salary is $2,699,292.” With all the flap about raising the minimum wage, which remains in the single digits, isn’t something terribly wrong here?
* * *
Little Sister is taking her solo duties very seriously and the only problem is she doesn’t want me out of her sight. If I’m going in the car, I tell her the familiar words, “errand” and “back” and she jumps to the bed to await my return as she and Ori always did. But when I’m in the cold barn and leave her in the warm house, I have to leave the kitchen door open so she can see me through the storm door.
* * *
Since this was not a very merry Christmas here, I put few decorations up, not even a tree, just enough to indicate the season. But now it’s a treat not to have to take it all down!

About the Author

A lifelong resident of the Mahoning Valley, Janie Jenkins retired in 1987 as a feature writer and columnist at the Youngstown Vindicator. In June of that same year, she started writing her column, "On My Mind" for Farm and Dairy. She loves all animals and is an accomplished equestrienne. Local history is also one of her loves, and her home, the former Southern Park Stables, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. More Stories by Janie Jenkins

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