Two men in orange overalls

Angels in disguise? Photo: Bepsy/Shutterstock
Published September 25, 2017

(This article first appeared in the October 2017 issue of the Anglican Journal.)

It was a lovely morning in August when my friend Percy and I decided to limb a few branches from a couple of trees in my yard. These branches were hanging very low into a neighbour’s yard. I was up the ladder, saw in hand, and Percy was down below, sporting a hard hat and managing a piece of rope to help bring down the branches as they gave way to my cut.

We had no sooner—with some considerable risk and effort—completed the first round when I heard the voices of two young men. I turned around and there they were! Clad in orange overalls, they were linemen, running communication cable high above the fence line along all the neighbouring properties. Rather cheerfully, one of them said, “Hey, would you like us to cut to some of those branches for you?” “Oh, my God,” I said, “that would be awesome!” And so they did.

It was amazing to watch the skill and agility with which Josh (who, we learned, was from Stewiacke, N.S.) shimmied up and down the trees using his spiked boots and safety belt. In his perch among the branches, he was guided from the ground by Alek (who, we learned, was from Sudbury, Ont.).

Within three-quarters of an hour,
all nine branches were cut. Percy and I dragged them to the middle of the yard, and I spent the rest of the day sawing them up and a good part of the next day hauling everything to the local landfill site.

Some would call this a happy coincidence—that two young, well-equipped men should appear and take over the work of two older, determined, but not particularly well-equipped men!

I call this happening nothing less than divine intervention. Like characters in the Scriptures, these two young men just appeared, did their work and moved on. Now Josh and Alek would probably not describe themselves as angels, but that’s what they were to me and my friend. We expressed profound thanks for their labours and offered them each a tumbler of ice water, which they downed quickly. Done with us, they continued their way up the fence line, cutting a few more branches here and there and running their cable.

May God keep Josh and Alek safe in all their labours, and may everyone they help be ever grateful.


  • Fred Hiltz

    Archbishop Fred Hiltz was primate of the Anglican Church of Canada from 2007 to 2019.

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