This is a Touched by an Angel story. And it really happened, right here in Cottage City.

Two of my closest friends in O.B. are a mother and a daughter who live in an old yellow Victorian cottage a couple of blocks from the beach: Daughter, Gwyn, is a journalist, so we have that in common. We also love to laugh, gossip and trade insights, and we walk our dogs together several times a week, sometimes at Trade Winds, sometimes in the wonderfully deserted Camp Ground or in the vast cemetery above the library. Her mom, Connie, and I share a love of The New Yorker, literature high and medium and even medium-low, and we both take an unconventional view of things, in which we never cease to delight with one another.

My age is roughly halfway between Gwyn and Connie’s, so I’m a little too old to serve as a big sister figure to Gwyn or as a daughter figure to Connie, but nonetheless I’ve been telling them for a long time that I feel as if we’re family, especially because my actual family is way out in the stratosphere of California.

Connie is mostly confined to barracks, so to speak, because her health has been problematic. About half a year ago, doctors told her she should check herself into the hospital for an extended period of time, and to undertake a protocol of treatments. That wasn’t Connie’s idea of how she wanted to spend her time, which included indulging in the occasional cigarette and nibbling sweets of many varieties. This winter, she has passed the hours on the snug sofa of the warmest room in the old house. Gwyn’s dog, Felix, who resembles a kitty-sized werewolf puppy, often snuggles with her. She reads constantly, and recently discovered Philippa Gregory’s novels, centered around various dramas from the days of the Tudor kings and queens.

On the morning of Jan. 27, I awakened at my normal depressing pre-dawn time of 6 a.m. I re-assembled the pillows so I could prop myself up in a sitting position. My dog lay nestled under the comforter, giving off that fabulous output of furry doggy body heat about the size of a bread box. This part of an early morning winter wake-up is heaven.

And, speaking of heaven, I heard a knock at the door.

My first thought was that it had to be my neighbor, a nice guy, a musician named Jameison, but what on earth could he need at this ungodly hour? I made up my mind that if this were truly an emergency, he’d knock again and louder, perhaps calling out something along the lines of “Gas leak!” or “My appendix broke!” But beyond that initial knock, I heard nothing. I waited for the loud wheeze-and-creak of the pneumatic-hinged fire doors of our building, which never allow anyone to come and go without a signature ruckus.

There was only silence.

My dog would never have allowed anyone, even the most timid and meek of visitors, to rap on the door without himself causing a propulsion from under the covers, a roar from the depths of his terrier diaphragm, and a sprint across the room accompanied by a series of barks that were so akin to the reverse thrust of a jet engine that I’m surprised they never whacked him backwards.

But my dog slept on.

Not for long, however. By now I was up, so he was up. I donned drab layers of winter garments, stuck Huxley in the red plaid sweater that fits him like sausage casing, leashed him up and out we went.

The odd part about the succeeding 20 minutes is that I blocked them out of my memory entirely. I’d be the first to admit that I operate on auto-pilot, but I’ve never fallen so totally into a black abyss of amnesia. Later in the morning, I could not remember where we’d walked nor whether I’d mailed the two red Netflix envelopes I’d stuffed into my pocket (I had, in fact sent them off, according to a later Netflix e-mail.)

I “came to” at Kennebec and Samoset, just as the gingerbread-laden lanes intersect on the northeast side of Union Chapel. In the low gold rays of early morning light, I saw to my left the red lights of an ambulance blinking half a block away. It looked to be standing before Gwyn and Connie’s house.

My unsteady footsteps led me to a shoulder of frozen shrubs before my friends’ yellow-shingled cottage. I stood with Huxley at my side and watched as Connie was carried on a gurney, limp and lifeless, to the back of the ambulance. I walked into the dim front parlor and intersected Gwyn, who was shocked to see me. I told her how we’d happened to be strolling by. I offered to walk Felix as she drove behind the ambulance to the hospital, and to check in with her later.

Flash forward to the present time: Connie is restored to the world, having survived a heart attack, and is now back home under the care of Gwyn, her son who travels from Providence and some wonderful visiting nurses. She remembers nothing of that fateful morning except — and this is intriguing — seeing me and Huxley watching her as she was borne by the EMTs from her house.

Call me crazy, but I think Connie’s spirit knocked on my door that Friday morning. I think that some, well, astral projection of herself, for wont of a better term, led me in a trance-like walk to the corner of Kennebec and Samoset so I could be there for her daughter. And the fact that Connie has recovered, not only her health but her sense of humor (she loved a recent New Yorker cartoon of a row of angels standing outside the pearly gates to enjoy a smoke), makes this not a ghost story but a spirit story, and I feel so privileged to have been poised at the intersection of this world and another, ethereal dimension.

Here’s a nice invitation from O.B. Wonder Man, Ewell Hopkins: There will be a breaksfast at the ArtCliff Diner on Saturday, Feb. 18 to learn about scouting on the Vineyard and, specifically, the MV Cub Scout program. For more info contact ewellhopkins@mac.com.