submitted by: SUP Trail Marker Pioneer Stories January 2023

By Gayla Woolf Holt, granddaughter of George Schow (as remembered by her mother Ruth Schow Woolf)

1927 was one of the coldest winters ever in Cardston, Alberta, Canada. This little town and area had seen and the Depression had families scrambling to be frugal and resourceful. The Schow family was anticipating the arrival from work of their father, George, and were marking time. He was the postman assigned to deliver the mail to the many little communities around Cardston.

Just as anticipated, George Schow arrived home, happy to have the mail all delivered for the day. Yet George was troubled. He shared with his wife, Ingeborg, the final events of his work. While he was finally headed for home, he had been informed of a late train delivery of ten crates to the station. These crates were all for one family living in Hillspring. However, being so late in the day and almost dark, it was reasoned that the crates would have to wait until the day after Christmas for delivery. It was just too far to Hillspring, plus there was now a raging blizzard to add to the situation. All George knew about this Hillspring family was that they had several children and were having a very hard time. Christmas Eve brought Mr. Jeppson back to Cardston for one final and desperate check for the crates. But he had left empty-handed and devastated.

George and Ingeborg were deeply religious and had great faith. Quietly they knelt and prayed for direction. Simultaneously after the prayer they looked in each other’s eyes and knew what must be done. Those crates needed to be delivered and they needed to be delivered that night! George only had sight in one eye due to an affliction and nighttime perception would be a tremendous challenge, especially in blizzard conditions. So Ingeborg insisted their oldest fifteen year-old son Sidney must accompany his father. George’s team of horses was weary from the day’s work so they borrowed a fresh team from neighbors to make the long journey. The family gathered for a lastminute family prayer. With great faith they watched the sleigh quickly disappear into the dark with their father and brother. George and Sidney left and soon were at the train station and the crates were safely loaded. Their long night journey began. They were grateful for the wrapped hot rocks at their feet, scarves pulled up over their mouth and nose, and hats were pulled as low as possible over their brows. Only their eyes could be seen as they anxiously searched the horizon looking for familiar landmarks to guide them on their journey. Many times they felt unseen promptings and guidance as they traveled and felt peace they would be all right. In the early hours of Christmas morning the sleigh finally slid into the yard of the Jeppson family in Hillspring. They were relieved to see a small light still on in the house. George quietly knocked at the door, not wanting to wake any of the children within. He must have looked a sight as the snow had turned to ice from his breath and had created frozen layers of icicles hanging on the scarf around his face. The woman exclaimed at the sight before her, including the weary horses. Quickly George explained the purpose of the visit and as the crates were unloaded into the house, the woman tearfully related how very destitute their family was and with no hope of Christmas for her children. The Postman and his son observed the bare and humble surroundings and now knew why they had felt so urgently prodded to make this trip. Mrs. Jeppson insisted they should stay and rest, but both father and son knew their family would be worrying.

As daylight broke Christmas morning in Cardston, the Schow children resolved not to open presents until their father and brother returned. They kept busy, but the waiting seemed eternal. Just after lunch, Paul suddenly spied the familiar sleigh coming and let out an excited whoop which summoned the family to come running. Tired but happy, George and Sidney stumbled into the house and arms of their loved ones. They immediately shared their heartfelt experience of the Jeppson family and how vital those crates were, not just for Christmas but for survival through the winter. They told of that mother’s ecstatic joy and gratitude as the crates were unloaded. They knew Heavenly Father had guided and protected them on their harrowing journey. Tears of love and gratitude filled George’s eyes as he hugged his wife and children close. Words couldn’t adequately explain the thoughts and feelings of this quiet and unassuming man. George’s heart was full as he tried to imagine the happiness of Christmas morning at that humble Hillspring home. He felt so blessed having obeyed the promptings of the Spirit that helped create a “special delivery” Christmas miracle!