|Chapter Four Excerpt from 3rd Compass, the book, in Bill "Skip" Wilson's own words;|
Copyright © 2009-2012. Tyrone Alexander. All Rights Reserved. Click here for full copyright.
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"If the Lord had not been on our side...
the flood would have engulfed us, the torrent would have
swept over us, the raging waters would have swept us away."
Just A Man
This is the story of a man. Not an important man. Not a very memorable man. Just a man. My name is Skip Wilson. I was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma in 1957. These are a few of the things that have happened in my life that have led me to where I am today on this path that we call life.
This story begins in 1973. I grew up in a small town in northeastern Oklahoma. I was a member of all the sports teams we had in high school. One night we (the boys) were waiting on the girls team to get home from a game we had played in another town. We were on the edge of town in a big ditch looking across the field to my girlfriend's house about one mile away. The girls rode the bus to and from the game and were going to have a slumber party at my girl's house out in the country after the game. Us boys were going to raid their slumber party.
So we were in this deep ditch watching for the bus to turn down the driveway so
we could walk across the field. There were 6 or 7 of us in the ditch when one of my buddies said, "Well, look at that," and was pointing up. We all looked up and there above us was a huge airship. It was coming in from the north at about what seemed to be 30 MPH to me. I held my arm up and laid my hand over flat and this thing showed all the way around my open hand. You could see the details on the bottom of this ship, it wasn't flat, and you could make out shadows and lights.
It went behind a cloud and turned out its running lights, then pulled away from the cloud very slowly towards the west. It was invisible if you directed your eyes at it, but if you looked at the cloud you could see it out of your peripheral vision. I told everybody how to still see it and we all did. Then the bus lights turned down the driveway and we headed for the girls where we danced and listened to music until the wee hours.
The next day I told my science teacher about it, and asked why you couldn't see it if you looked directly at it, and received a lesson on the rods and cones in your eyes. How one was for direct vision and the other was for peripheral vision. Years later, I asked the guys about the incident. One said he remembered it. Another said he didn't want to talk about it, and the rest denied it happened or said they didn't remember it.
This next story happened in 1974, I was 16 at the time and had an 18 year old girlfriend who lived about 40 miles away in Tulsa. We had a date and I went to pick her up only to find out she was already gone with a guy she had grown up with, who had just came back from Viet Nam. Needless to say, I was mad, so I waited on her till about midnight and then left.
I had a 1968 Dodge Coronet 440 with a six pack on it, so it would run real good. I was making my way home, still mad, when I got to a straight away, so I pushed it on down to WFO (full throttle). At this speed, my passenger wing window started to whistle from the wind, so I leaned over to shut it, so I could hear the radio better. When I leaned over I sorta pulled the steering wheel a little and eased off the road. Since I was mad, I whipped the wheel back to the right instead of easing it back onto the road. When I whipped the wheel, she started flipping.
Now my window was down and I wasn't wearing a seat belt (don't even remember if there were seat belts in it truthfully), but my spirit left my body at this point and I was floating about 30 feet to the east of the car and about 20-30 feet above it in the air. I'm facing the car as it flips down the side of the road. I can see "me" in it being slung around like a rag doll. I'm watching the car flip in real slow motion, and as it flipped down the road I moved right along with it, so I think to myself, "I must be dead because this don't happen in real life."
I figured, if I was dead I might as well get use to it and check it out, so I looked down at where my legs ought to be and couldn't see anything. I looked at my arms and could see them and my hands and the tree limbs coming right at me as I floated towards them. As I passed into and through the limbs and leaves of the trees I noticed that all my physical senses were intermingled. I could taste the green of the leaves, I could hear them. The colors made a sound and had a smell and taste.
About this time I thought, "If this is dead, it ain't so bad," so I was watching myself flip in the car and checking out my new surroundings, which I thought were pretty cool. As soon as the car stopped flipping I felt myself being drawn back into my body. The only way to describe it is like a cartoon cat being sucked into a vacuum cleaner. That's how it felt.
Next thing, I come to in the car without a scratch on me. The car is upside down in the ditch, so I crawl out through the window and climb up to the road. I hitchhiked home and went a long time without sharing this "out of body experience." Well, I did tell one person the next day, my cousin, who said I was crazy, so I didn't tell anyone else.
Held for Life
After I got out of the service back in say, 1976 timeframe, I was working offshore on the ODECO Ocean Express. ODECO's first jack up rig. I was working derricks. In the derrick you have to climb a ladder about 100 feet above the "floor" where the driller and roughnecks work. Once up there you got what we called a monkey board to stand on. You also work 12 hour days for 7 days then rotated back in for 7. So it was 7 off, 7 on.
We'd been in the Gulf and were fixing to rig her down and move locations in a few days. I'd just flew back to start my 7 day hitch on with my crew. First day back, I started up the ladder and got about 10 feet off the rig floor when I felt something touch my shoulders. It wasn't like a muscle ache, it was more like a heavy "touch" or weight. Anyways, I climbed on up the ladder and got off onto the monkey board and it went away. Did my 12 hours and came down.
Second day, I started up the ladder and got about 10 feet off the rig floor and it comes on me again, a "touch" or a heaviness on my shoulders, a little heavier this time. It stayed with me all the way up the ladder, but once I got to the top and got off on the monkey board, it went away. Did my 12 hours, came down.
Third day I start up the ladder and get about 10 feet off the drill floor and it comes on me again. This time it's on both shoulders and very heavy. It feels like I'm pushing an extra hundred pounds up the ladder with my shoulders, and I remember the previous two days and start to think, "This is weird." It starts at the same place, has gotten progressively heavier for three days now, so if I can just make it up to the monkey board, it'll be ok.
I did. Once there, it left again. I did my 12 hours and came down.
Fourth day, I started up the ladder, get about 10 feet off the drill floor and hit a wall. I AIN'T going past today. My head would go through, my arms would go through, but my shoulders hit a WALL. I backed down a couple rungs and it left. Started up with the other arm and leg first and at the same place, my shoulders hit a wall.
I crouched down and tried to push myself up through it, nope. My shoulders wouldn't go past whatever was pushing down, so I thought, ok, every day it's gotten progressively harder to climb this ladder, today I can't. Somebody is trying to tell me something, so I went back down and told the driller I didn't feel good. I asked, "Could somebody else work derricks today?" Everybody wanted my job, so somebody else started up the ladder.
The driller told me to grab a sub and rack it back on the sub rack. I was young, I was healthy, and it was only a couple hundred pounds, so I said sure.
We were working in oil based mud, which is very slick. Somehow, I slipped and slid down the v-door where we drag pipe up from the rack to the floor. Slid about 20-30 feet, no big deal except I hurt my back somewhere in the process. They called a helicopter out to the rig to take me in to the hospital.
My mom came and got me at Lake Charles hospital in Louisiana. This was my first time here as I would come back in the future. Anyways, I wake up the next morning and turn on the TV to find out my rig had sunk in the Gulf of Mexico, and later on that day they released the names and it was my whole crew that died. The guys in the other survival capsule all lived, everyone on my crew died.
Guardian angel upside down on the ladder? That's what I believe. Always have, always will.
The next incident begins in 1979. By this time I was married and expecting our first child. I was working at a wax manufacturing plant on the graveyard shift. I remember the date, it was Friday the 13th of July, 1979. The day my first daughter was supposed to be born.
The guy I was working with was having marital problems and knew his wife was cheating while we were at work, so he brought whiskey in his thermos to drown his troubles. We were changing from running one type of wax to running a harder wax, and my job was to go up on the tank and signal him when the tank was empty with a flashlight, so he could shut the belly valve and blow the line with air to clear it, so wax didn't set up in the line. I watched it run out the bottom and signaled him.
Since he'd been drinking whiskey, he forgot to shut the belly valve. He did remember the air though and opened it up and blew molten wax out onto me. Since it was summer, I had my shirt off, so this molten wax covered me from the waist up, including my face, arms, and chest. I screamed like a little girl it hurt so bad. The ambulance took me to the burn center at Tulsa.
Every day they would take and peel skin and wax off of me till I couldn't stand the pain any longer, then they'd rub salve on me and wait till I could stand it again. After two weeks I was finally wax free. No new skin yet, but no wax either. A guy came to see me who'd been after me and my wife to go to church. I wasn't interested. I was riding Harleys and living the H-D lifestyle. Drinking hard, doing dope, smoking pot, whoring around, pretty much everything I wasn't supposed to be doing.
But this guy, who married one of my wife's childhood friends had been after us to give up our lifestyle, come to Jesus, and join them in church. Up till his visit in the hospital I wasn't interested, but when he showed up and asked if I wanted to pray, I said, "Friend, if you think it'll help, I'm all for it cause it hurts so bad all I want to do is die."
I got out of that hospital bed and kneeled down and we prayed. It seemed like a good long prayer, maybe 15 minutes. When we were done, we got up off the floor. I got back into the bed and he left.
The wife said, "Y'all were really into it wasn't you?"
I said, "How long did we pray?"
She said, "Over 2 hours."
She was now two weeks overdue and she left that night too. The next morning I woke up and watched as the skin literally grew back on my chest. I could watch it materializing where no skin had been a moment before.
The doctor came in and asked, "What'd you do?"
I said, "I prayed."
He said, "Whatever you prayed, it worked because you're healed. I've been a doctor here since this burn center opened up, and I've never seen anything like this. Could I write a paper on this?"
I told him, "I don't care. Can I go home because my baby is gonna be born today?"
He said, "Sure, you're well," so I checked out completely healed.
On the way home my wife's water broke and we went to a different hospital where she delivered our daughter.
This next recounting of events happened in 1992, I believe. I was working in Lake Charles, Louisiana building cooling towers for GEA at a refinery. We had built two towers and was fixing to have the refinery sign off on them (saying they were satisfied and we were done), so my brother-in-law (my job superintendent) and myself could leave and go watch my mother graduate from college.
Anyway, I was giving the second tower a real close inspection and noticed some water diverters hadn't been caulked properly. I went down, got some caulking and climbed back up about 35 feet to caulk them. The structure of a cooling tower was made of wood. There's 4x4 posts standing up and bolted together, end to end, to make the tower as high as you want it. These 4x4's are tied together by 2x4, which run horizontally (with the tower) and longitudinally (across the tower). One on top of the other then spaced 6 feet apart height-wise throughout the tower.
Anyways, I was walking out on one of these bolted up 2x4's to reach the water diverter that needed to be caulked when I stepped on a 2x4 that had a knot almost all the way through it. From the top (the part I saw and stepped on) it looked good, unfortunately it was about like walking on a sheet of paper for support. It broke, and my safety line snapped too. I fell through the tower head first, breaking 2x4's on my way down. Luckily, I landed on my head.
They found me about 15 minutes later, they told me, after hearing the noise. I had crawled about 15 feet on the concrete basin dragging my head along the floor, leaving a trail of brain matter, head juice, and blood from the point of impact. My brother-in-law called an ambulance and I woke up 2 weeks later in the hospital.
The doctors hadn't seen the need to reset any bones as I kept dying on them. At one point they told my mother, "The next time he dies, lady, you better pray he stays dead, cause if he lives, he'll be a vegetable for the rest of his life."
I lost 60% of my brain mass according to the doctors. One shoulder blade was broken into 3 large parts, the other shoulder blade was shattered into a million pieces, like a windshield if it gets hit is what it looked like to me on the x-ray. Anyway, I broke just about every bone from the waist up including my skull, as I fell through the 2x4's breaking them on my way down.
When I woke up I didn't remember anything, who I was, what had happened, nothing, except my mom who was there by my side praying. She took me home because I came out of the coma and slowly I started remembering things and healing up. I remembered my daughters who I was raising by myself, but I still knew nothing of my own personality.
Was I a good guy? Was I a hell raiser? Did I drink? Did I smoke? Did I party? Did I have a girlfriend? I knew absolutely nothing about my past or who I was or what I was like. It was weird to say the least.
My friends came over and from the things they'd say I'd get a clue of who I had been. My mom would fill in the details as best she could. As time went by, I developed the personality I have now. From what everybody says, I think it's a vast improvement. See, before my accident I hadn't went to church since I was a kid. Rode a Harley and lived the lifestyle to the max. Made dope, sold dope, would fight or pull a gun or knife and use it without qualms or reservations. Was lost in sin and was so lost I didn't even know I was lost.
God in his mercy saved my life and gave me a new me, and I like the new me a lot better than the me I've heard stories about.
This next incident begins in about 1995. I'm now with my second wife, my two stepchildren, and our baby girl. We're riding home from Tulsa where we'd been grocery shopping and we're all in my grey 1987 Chevy 1 ton pickup truck. There had been rain for about a week before and the creeks were out of their banks and the roads were flooded. I turned off the interstate onto a two-lane road under construction, heading for the town that we pass through getting home.
I topped a small hill and stopped. There was water as far as I could see ahead. You could make out the trees along the road, but all you could see was water. I decided to be a smart alec and scare the wife a little, so I crept towards the water in the truck, letting it roll the front tires in a little. She looked at me like I was crazy, so I rolled in a little deeper.
I started to back out and realized, I couldn't. We were stuck and the only way out was forward. I thought about this for a minute while she prayed. Then I released the clutch and in we went, my wife calling on the name of Jesus for protection all the time we were in the water.
It turned out that the water was up to the top of the hood of the truck deep. We were going about 5 MPH and pushing a wave out in front of us. The water was up to the window on the sides and my baby daughter stuck her hand in it from her momma's lap while my wife LeAnn prayed.
I knew about where the road was. I could see the tops of the marker poles where the road workers were making the "grade" right, but I couldn't see anything but water ahead of us or on the sides. I just pointed the truck in the right direction and kept pushing water while the wife kept praying.
We made it through and came out on the other side. The wife got out to move a road barricade so we could continue on and some emergency workers floated up to us in a boat. They couldn't believe we came through that. Neither could I.
Every time I come home that way now, I look at that drop off and realize there is NO WAY that old carbureted truck should have made it. The intake was under water, the distributor cap was under water, the exhaust was definitely under water. The water should have pushed us downstream. I shouldn't have been able to keep it on what little road there was for that over two mile ride. We should have been about 30 ft. UNDERWATER from looking at it now.
A thousand reasons why we shouldn't have been able to make it through and only one reason we should. Because I had a believing wife who was praying and calling on the Name above all names in our time of need, and Jesus brought us through, or maybe He sent angels to do it, but I KNOW He's the only reason we didn't perish that day. Can't wait till I get to Heaven and meet him and tell him thanks for all the times he's saved my sorry self.
Most people see me and think, "Big ugly biker, dressed all in black leather, probably a bad dude." Then they see the Road Riders for Jesus patch on my back and ask me, "You know Jesus?"
My reply, "Yeah, I know him. Talked with him this morning. You want to meet Him?" It gives me the opportunity to pass out Bible tracts, cross pennies, or tickets to Heaven, and a chance to tell them my stories about how good God's been to me.
[Continue to Chapter 5]