Good morning, y’all. Things are looking good here in Nunsuch, Georgia. We have a chance that a much meeker version of the awful weather that’s been ravaging the Midwest will arrive tonight in our fair burg. I’m counting on a few thunder boomers with a gentle rain in between. As long as Mother Nature can provide a weekly soaking, I get to keep the park sprinklers off. Sometimes the water bill here at TackyToo looks like what the Air Force would pay for a toilet seat. With a little help from nature, we can keep TackyToo from becoming a debtor nation like the good old U.S.A.
When we left my Sunday update, I was headed to my reward, Earthly not Heavenly, of all the pancakes I could eat at IHOP. Gorging myself at IHOP is an accommodation that Mulva and I have arrived at over the years for my presence at church. Since Mulva has to stay after the services to count the money and make the deposit, her day is pretty much taken by the church. I don’t seem to possess the same spiritual vacuum as Mulva, in that I don’t need to get recharged with the “Spirit” on a very regular basis. Rather than keeping me around whining and opining while Mulva tried to discharge her duties, it was determined that I was “free” as soon as the altar call was made. The extra gas spent on taking two cars everywhere was money well spent.
Putting on my Sunday finest, sitting erect and not falling asleep for an hour every week was a fair price for keeping peace in the family. Truthfully, I have gotten something out of attending services all these years. It’s comforting to nod your head in greeting to folks you’ve known all of your life, even if we don’t take the time to speak. It’s kind of a “I’m still here, and you are too”, that is an acknowledgement that we primates are social animals. Now, we could get the same feeling at a Unitarian church, or the library, I guess. It’s just a little more special when folks are attending an Evangelical church. When you throw in the snake handling, well, you’ve got a special group of people. Of course, the Reverend Helen Handbasket is doing her dead level best to mainstream our little cult. The weekly TV viewership is consistently raising by twenty percent each week. The new church, the “Crystal Palace”, is bursting at the seams. If the trend continues, we might be on the cusp of a national wave. We may find ourselves someday saying, “I was cool before you even knew it was cool”.
The cool part is you don’t have to believe in any of it to be a part of it. I guess it helps to believe, but if you’ve been going as long as I have, you basically have all of the routines and rituals memorized. When the preacher says, “turn in your hymnals to page 325”, you say, “The Old Rugged Cross” before he, or she does. In fact, I’m humming “The Old Rugged Cross” to myself as I pour over the menu at IHOP. The tune is the same, but the word’s are different: “On a hill far away, stood an old Chevrolet, it’s fenders were battered and torn, then along came the Lord, in a ’48 Ford, and drove the old Chevy away”.
I must have been humming out loud because I was suddenly surprised to have Evan “Bubba” Hoakum slide into the booth across from me and pick up the verse. Since Bubba’s great granddaddy started The Full Gospel Original Church of God, it is no surprise that Bubba is singing the right words. I’m guessing that if Bubba knew the Chevrolet words he had them beaten out of him long ago. Since Bubba is a few bricks short of a load, I also suspect he may have had more than sacrilegious lyrics beaten out of him.
Bubba is grinning like a dog that has found a long lost bone. Let me just say here that while Bubba has a warm, cheerful grin, it is almost completely bereft of teeth. It’s hard to say which, or how many, teeth were lost to neglect or corporal punishment. They are just no longer there. Bubba in his innocence does not realize how off putting his smile is, and I speculate is unable to control it. Even if Bubba knows how scary he appears, he doesn’t appear to be trying to hold his emotions in check. He is smiling to beat the band.
Why is Bubba so happy? We’ll talk about that next time.