Pop's Story -

Yes, We Do Believe in Miracles! 

There was no warning of any disturbance in my world on that lazy summer afternoon as I and my friends in the shop on the Jasper, Texas courthouse square took care of business. We were reconciled to slow traffic during these hot August days of southeast Texas.

Things can change quickly with the ring of a telephone, the delivery of an urgent message. It was my husband’s voice on the phone that told me- in a tone that did not trigger panic when he said-, “Jonell, you need to meet me at the emergency room.” I interrupted, “What happened? Ted, what’s wrong? What happened?” He simply replied, “I broke my arm, meet me at the emergency room.”

Yes this immediately brought an emotional response but not panic or terror. I knew a broken arm was not catastrophic, however; I was disturbed because of something very practical. “What are we going to do? We don’t have any medical insurance! None.” Yes, this is when the tears started.

My husband Ted had lost his job the year before. two years before he could retire. We could not afford to extend the Inland Container group insurance policy. Any mishap with my husband was serious to me. Having no insurance compounded the impact of the information I had just received.

My friend Shirley took over, quietly assuring and accompanying me to the hospital emergency room We knew it would be a few minutes before he reached the hospital. It was 15 miles from Newton to Jasper and another 5 miles from Newton to our farm on highway 2626.

Ted had been working in a field near Bon Weir, nine miles from our farm. I often volunteered to help in order to free him up to do other work but no additional help was needed on this day so he was working alone. There was nothing in my farm experiences to suggest how he might have broken his arm while baling hay.The first inkling of the seriousness of this farm accident came when we spotted Bruce, our neighbor in the emergency room area. I could see my husband through a glass door, bent forward in a wheel chair. Bruce is what you might call a rugged looking guy, a motorcycle riding country boy and former Special Operations Marine. I was standing in the hallway with a forty year old man in cutoff denim shorts. I know Bruce looked like a stereotypical Biker because he looks exactly like the tourist bikers who travel to nearby Sawmill Town motorcycle rallies just outside Newton,Texas where we live. Bruce was the essence of control and thoughtfulness. He was calm, polite and very direct as he responded to my questioning. “Bruce what happened?” He wasted no time and quietly explained very matter of factly, “Miss Jonell, he stuck his arm in the round baler.”

Nobody had to explain that to me. I often worked out in the hay field with Ted, eager to learn each step in the process and how to operate the sometimes intimidating farm equipment and I always rather be with my husband when given the choice. I had a genuine appreciation for the machinery we often used.

I had heard of farm accidents like this and without being able to draw on a lot of facts or visuals I understood this was no ordinary accident. “Oh No!” The breath was almost taken out of me. I didn’t even know what to ask Bruce. I could not process what I had just been told. I did remember the summer when Ted fell from a high stack of square bales on a trailer onto the trailer hitch and had broken ribs. He had removed himself rom that situation, got into the truck and drove to the antique shop where I was. Without even thinking, I knew this was worse than a few broken ribs.

Neither Bruce nor I had answers for my unspoken questions. Inside I whispered, “ Dear God!” This was not a careless slang exclaimation but an honest and automatic, perfectly natural reaching out to my Lord and Savior .

Without thinking I knew he heard me while I could not express my need. I didn’t have to verbalize. My heavenly Father was in charge. I didn’t have to ask Him and no one had to remind me. He was the only one in charge that day. Still, I had no idea how completely in charge he had been on this August afternoon in that hay field nine miles from home.

Soon I was allowed into the emergency room area where Ted sat ,still slumped forward in a wheel chair. A quiet if controlled terror was filling me-fear of the unknown I suppose. I don’t think I touched my husband as I approached the chair. Instinctively I knew this was not the time for idle chat & definitely not a hug. He didn’t have to look up as I approached to know who was in the room. When you been married 39 years you don’t need eye contact to recognize the voice of your Loved One.

“Sweetheart?” I said tentatively in something close to a whisper. His response was weak and strained. It was clear he was choosing to use as few words as possible to communicate. At least twice, through tears he was not even trying to control, he said, “I am so sorry, I am so sorry.” He didn’t have to explain. I understood what he was trying to tell me. This crisis was causing me great pain, worry and distress. That’s why he was apologizing. He was thinking of me-Imagine that!

It is not unusual for me to manage an appearance of composure in a crisis. I attribute that quality to both a “peace that passes all understanding” promised in scripture but also the the example of Annie Bell Mobley Williams, the mother God gave me.

Nothing seemed to be happening in the emergency room. As Nurses and other hospital personnel walked in and out they repeatedly asked the same question. “Mr. Harrison, how did you get your arm out?” Mr. Harrison felt compelled to give the same short statement of fact again and again, “I didn’t - God did!” in a determined though weak response, at times barely audible. Severe pain drains and depletes one of energy. He had to make a choice to even speak.

The same words were repeated so many times in the next few days ,weeks and even years later, “I didn’t -God Did.”

At this point in time I was more than ready to let other people make decisions for me. People and goings on around us are a bit hazy. I do recall talking to our pastor Bill Jones but no recall of our conversation. I remember my dear friend Shirley standing beside Ted and her quiet comforting words. I shall never forget that rugged neighbor friend Bruce standing over my husband, his friend , quietly saying without embarrassment or hesitation, “I love you Buddy.” What a precious picture.

Late afternoon turned into dark and I finally learned we were headed for UTMB in Galveston almost 200 -miles away. While Ted tried to let me know I could use his ATM card for cash, my friend handed me all the cash she had and we collected Ted’s wallet and personal things as we relayed Bruce’s plan to Ted. Bruce would take me home to change clothes, fill an overnight bag and call our children to give them a “heads up” about what was happening in southeast Texas where their parents were ten hours away. I hardly remember the call. I know I was not completely in control of my emotions. Talking to any of our four children in a moment like this, I become extremely vulnerable. We are too far from family. My arms and legs feel like Jello. I later heard that one of our children told someone “Mom is a basket case.” Or was that some other crises? Truthfully it could have been an accurate description of my state of mind at that time.

Bruce’s wife Jana had made us coffee for traveling and we left for the Galveston hospital. Bruce was good company. He was not an alarmist nor did he try to gloss over what was happening. Our neighbor was ‘taking care of me’ just as one of our children would have. We talked non-stop and he allowed me to have feelings. Only one thing could have made the drive easier but when you are on the receiving end of another’s kindness you don’t hang up a “NO Smoking sign” in his car.

We reached the hospital in Galveston where we quickly located Ted . I faintly recall noticing a clock indicated 2 a.m.. The manner and response of the medical personnel was so professional it was encouraging. I had immediate access to my husband and didn’t even have to ask for information. I was given a quick and detailed run down of exactly what was to be done and also learned right away the patient had been giving these people the same testimony he’d given in the Jasper emergency room. “I didn’t -God did.”

After the surgery I learned that the splintered bones of Ted’s left fore arm had been put together and secured in place with a [permanent]  steel plate. One doctor described the broken bones as a zig zag saw tooth pattern much like what you see when you take the fingers on both hands and place ‘fingers of one hand in between fingers of the other hand.”

A hospital employee told a mutual friend that the Jasper medical people didn’t expect Ted to get through this without losing his arm.

The release of tension and pressure after surgery felt like a huge “body sigh.” But we still don’t have the whole story.

You must be thinking: “Well? How did he get his arm out of the hay baler?” As the radio commentator Paul harvey always said, “Here is the Rest of the Story.”

Ted had been baling hay approximately nine miles from home. He was working alone because this phase of haying using the Holland round baler was a one man job. He was at the backside near a wooded area and about 1/4 mile from the highway where he had parked the truck earlier in the day. Ted says he usually runs at about 18 RPMs while baling. He is not a novice with farm equipment and always cautions me about safety procedures. Even so, as he stepped down from the tractor and walked back to the baler, [tractor and hay baler is still running’] he reached for a large clump of grass and dirt stuck under the steel roller. He was wearing work gloves that are often not snug fitting and it is possible that the fingers of his glove caught as he made a quick swipe at the clump of dirt and grass.

It actually took many weeks for me to get the following brief account from my husband-In his words:

“It caught my hand. I saw my hand on the other side, heard a snap,snap [arm breaking ] and then I was standing bent over holding my left arm with my right hand.”

Without the option of asking anyone to help he got back onto the tractor, drove across the field to the truck parked near the highway and drove toward our farm on highway 2626 [9 miles]. That’s where he stopped at our neighbor’s house, called me and Bruce Norton drove him to Jasper [14 miles from Newton]

Allow that statement to sink in: “I saw my hand on the other side, heard a snap, snap and then I was bent over holding my left arm with my right hand.”

We often give God the credit when He uses gifted professionals, their skills and modern medical technology to perform miracles and cures. We don’t have a problem understanding God uses these to perform the miraculous. As this completely sinks into my understanding I realized: There was no other human witness to this traumatic event. No man on earth in this situation can take any credit for this .

Another truth began to be apparent in a very short time as I observed the reactions of people visiting with us and I shared this with my husband. “Sweetheart, I want to warn you. Even some of our Christian friends are not going to know what to do with this. We are talking about a miracle straight from the hand of God Some are still going to ask “But how did you really get your arm out?”

Our daughter Deanna responded to incredulous church family members in Montgomery, Alabama as though explaining a complex issue to one of our young grand children. “But you do not understand-This thing [referring to the equipment] does not grab you then stop and spit you out. It keeps running,” she said.

Deanna was right. In the typical outcome of this kind of farm accident the victim is separated arm from shoulder or without intervention of another person to help - he dies.

Many of our Christian friends returned a blank puzzled expression when given the bare fact of a miracle from God. Even one Pastor’s wife, after hearing the story, reacted with the identical same question: “But really how did he get it out.” [He didn’t God did.”]

Five years have now passed since the year of our hay baler crisis. It is still real. It’s real when we sit in church, my arm through my husband’s left arm and I feel the unyielding steel plate in his forearm. It’s real as I watch him work around the farm doing physical jobs that often require two people or at least a much younger man to accomplish.

As time passes , people forget. We can never forget. I remember and it’s very real when I see him try to share his story and he tries to skip the tears and says: “I didn’t, God did”

Ted was at home in a few days and didn’t hesitate to stand and tell what God had done for him and for us. We both knew this was a “God thing” and not so much about us. It was a work of our heavenly Father to be used for Him.

In the years since, we seldom talk about the accident or Ted’s arm. I am never aware that my husband is limited in any way with the plate in his arm. He just keeps on doing whatever he needs to do making adjustments as needed without complaining.

I replay that time in my mind now and then and often say “ God only gives us that kind of miracle when He knows it’s coming back to Him through our testimonies and praises.”

Lest I should forget the next spring 1999 we went out to clean up the baler. Ted had it running to check everything out before listing it for sale. As I stood examining this impressive piece of equipment I whispered these words: "I stand amazed in the presence-of Jesus the Nazarene."
My natural inclination is to think this was Ted and Jonell Harrison’s one God sized miracle of a lifetime. It was not!

[to be continued-the rest of the story]

The events recounted here took place in 1998. We lived in Newton Texas on highway 2626 about 5 miles from town and another 15 to Jasper Texas.

My husband was seen first by medical personnel that afternoon at Jasper Memorial Hospital & the same night taken by ambulance to Galveston Texas to UTMB [University of Texas Medical Branch]

Knowing this miracle was handed to us to be shared I will wait for Him to open up the opportunities.


Father's Day

People in our church are given the opportunity to stand and speak of their fathers on this special day. Not everyone can tell of having had a father who was a role model for his children. Not everyone can say they had a Wise, God fearing, Responsible Father Who was a faithful husband and treated their Mother like a Lady. Not everyone can say Praise God for A Dad who preferred home and his family to personal interests or friends. Not everyone can express thankfulness for this kind of father. I could not.

Our children can.


Things You May Never Know About Your Dad-
Unless You Asked

  • When his family still lived in Thomasville, Alabama he and his brothers helped build a 3 bedroom house for one of the uncles.
  • When he was only 9 years old he worked in a 5 & 10 cent store sometimes called the 5 & Dime. I asked what they allowed him to do at 9 years old..he mentioned "removing the mouse droppings from the candy displays"..
  • He also had a job delivering and collecting for a newspaper route..delivering one of the Mobile newspapers. He rode a bicycle up and down those hills.[ in Jackson].
  • Another job he had was working for the local supermarket 
  •  Another time for a dry goods store /an old fashioned clothing store
  • He worked measuring off cotton crops.
  • Another time he worked with a Plumber.  I am almost sure there is more  

Tourist for  A Day:

Defuniak Springs. We found a used book store/had to find a spot to read;
 Bellengrath Gardens /pretending it was a vacation-
A Day Trip

Pop and all three of the boys..at Johnny and Loretta's on
Karen Road, Montgomery.  I don't know where they were
going or what they were up to..but they appear to be ready
 for it.It looks like they were Ready to Go-or Ready for a Job. Could they have been headed out for Texas after hurricane Rita in 2005: 
That would have been late September 2005 and now I recognize it's J & L  's present home.

Pop's Three GLASSES /Grands: Zack, Dylan, Samantha
This picture should be copied and given to Dylan with the
Shirt Pop is wearing in the picture. 

Zack, Dylan and Samantha at the Pioneer Village,
 Troy, Al -A short time before they were moving to Iowa.
 This was a really fun outing/both of us and Deanna.


Friday, May 14, 2010-Figuring Out Things~

That man  is always READING-
Maybe that's why he's so smart! { having to do with KNOWLEDGE]
That same man is a great LISTENER but not so much a TALKER-
[ having to do with WISDOM}
mmmm think I need to READ MORE AND TALK LESS ??

Describe Pop: A Man You Want with you In A Crisis!
He Has A Short Memory-Is Forgiving.
He Is A Listener.
Always gathering information..never compelled to display it!
He's never afraid of responsibility.

What's Important to Pop?

His Faith.
His Family
Being Responsible
Being Moral
Being A Law Abiding Patriotic American

Stops Along The Road

Our Loved Ones


You Won't See Pop -
Watching TV in undershorts
Swearing at Someone
With His Hair Not Combed
Eating Broccoli, Quiche, Spinach, Cabbage, Brussel Sprouts or Cream Cheese on Crackers
Enjoying a cup of hot tea

Pop Might Yell At You

To Save Your Life
To Give Instructions
To Get Your Attention

Pop is Always...[doing what?]

Fixing Things
Building things
Watching the News
Cutting the Grass

Pop Teaches-
How to be Dads
How to be Good Husbands
Good Manners
Models How A Daughter's Husband &
Children Should Treat Her.
Wait Until Asked To Give Advice

Dad Always-
Comes through in a crisis - Is not afraid to say no
Knew his first priority was to be his child's parent, not his friend
Is never concerned with  impressing people
Is not impressed or intimidated by another  person's wealth or station in life.


  1. God sized, indeed! Sometimes, there are just no answers, other than - GOD DID IT! :)

    1. Yes, Heather and sitting here in October 2013, I am thinking: Because of this miracle we had him 'another 15 years!

  2. Anonymous2/09/2014


  3. Ah, Ethan how sweet to see that you were here dear Gson-If you will sign in JOIN THIS SITE/RIGHT SIDEBAR of the home page it will show your name as a follower and I would be honored! Loving you ATWABA


This is intended to be an exchange of thoughts, recollections and ideas.
A note /comment from you Makes My Day- I would be honored to have you sign on as a FOLLOWER.