Maggie Wilson Author

Historical Non-Fiction in Northern Ontario

Divine Intervention

Don’t you love it when the odds are stacked against you, but you still come out a winner, mostly because of plain dumb luck?

Like today, for instance.

Reiner and I picked up a new sign to replace the worn and outdated one at the Cart Lake site on the Heritage Silver Trail. The images on the old rickety display were faded and the remaining text was either inaccurate, or referred to old mine buildings that have since been torn down. It needed a refresh, no question.

The sign lady commented on the quality of the image we had provided – it was a super high-res photo of the Seneca Superior Mine from the 1930s.

I told her about how I found it and how chance played a big part.

We knew about the Seneca Superior Mine, but didn’t know exactly where it was located, nor did we have any photos in our digital collection. At least that’s what we thought.

Then the curator of an exhibition at the McMichael Gallery asked me to identify a painting by Yvonne McKague Housser named Deserted mine shaft, Cobalt ca 1928.


Sketch of Deserted mine shaft, Cobalt ca 1928 by Yvonne Mckague Housser. Source

The architecture is different than most of the mines built in the early days. Naively, I thought it would stand out among our headframe photos. Not so! I must have viewed every single image in my digital collection, at least once.

I was about to declare defeat when, while looking for something else entirely, I found a superb image of the very mine that was the subject of Housser’s landscape.


Cobalt Seneca Superior Mine in the digital collection of the Cobalt Historical Society.

Further investigation revealed a great deal more about the Seneca Superior and the silver production on Cart Lake. Super! We had great new content to add to the trail!

But that’s not the end of the dumb luck story.

Back at the shop, we said our goodbyes. Before we loaded the sign in the car, I needed to empty my hands: I tossed my mask and water bottle in the back and placed my eyeglasses case on the roof. I made a mental note to retrieve it. Then we adjusted the seat and secured the sign.

Only after we turned onto the highway and heard a soft clunk did I remember the case. I took a quick glance in the rear-view mirror. There it was, sitting on the pavement. It couldn’t have landed any closer to the travelled portion of the road. And a long, long line of traffic approached.  Not one or two, but a dozen glass-shattering vehicles bore down on my spectacles.

Reiner threw the car into park and sprinted down the road. I couldn’t bear to watch. Except, of course I did. He signaled to the drivers. Some got the message and slowed down and moved aside. But others were probably perplexed by the tall bearded man waving frantically from the shoulder of the road pointing to some random spot on the highway. 

The very last vehicle in the line came to a stop. Reiner retrieved the hard-shell case, untouched, with glasses intact inside.

I waved to the driver and gestured to my heart and to the heavens above, for surely, this was divine intervention. 

Tonight, I’ll say my prayers to the patron saint of eyewear. Or truckers. Or both.   

Categories: Mining Heritage

Tags: , , ,

27 replies

  1. Your angels were clearly out in full force.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. So, of course, I wondered if there is a patron saint of eyeglasses. Being Catholic and all… There is St Jerome, the patron saint of optometrists and Santa Lucia, patron saint of ophthalmologists. And then I hit pay dirt–Sophia Loren. Patron saint of women’s eyewear. Your welcome.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I’m glad that had a happy ending.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. A real hero that husband! Happy ending and a very lucky day. 🥳🎶

    Liked by 1 person

  5. What an unexpected find of the photo, but the real headline grabber here is the eyeglass case that protected those glasses from harm!!! Unbelievable the case endured such abuse, especially when you consider how shoddy everything is made today. Kudos to your husband for running into harm’s way to save the day and to the driver who had the sense and courtesy to stop.

    I bet when you put the glasses on from now on you will see the world a little differently! 🤗


  6. NO! Not your spectacles. As you can imagine I have a special place in my heart for eyeglasses. Cool that you found a photo that shows the source of the painting. But your glasses… 🙁

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Never let the glasses leave your face! So lucky they didn’t become road kill. And great detective work 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have no one to blame but myself – obviously – but for a different reason than crummy memory – I, in my stubbornness, refuse to wear progressive lens eyewear – so, I own three pairs – sunglasses for outdoors, readers, and a third pair for television. Glasses are ALWAYS leaving my face.

      I might have to reconsider this habit of mine!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Never place something in a temporary spot because well…age…memory…that sort of thing. It’s like the cars driving with a cup of coffee on the roof!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. As lucky as you got here, I hope you bought a lottery ticket. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Oh my! What a tale, from beginning to end…so good to read there was a happy ending! And I love the McMichael…miss going there…


    Liked by 1 person

  11. EEK! (shouted in a manly way, of course). Scary stuff, Maggie. I’m glad they were unharmed! – Marty


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