Good morning, y’all. Alt-Right, sounds kind of like Ctrl-Alt-Delete, which is what you do when your computer is so totally fouled up that the only thing you can do is force a reboot. My guess is that the Alt-Right people feel that a reboot of society is what is needed, and what they expect from their candidates. Aaaahh, if we could just go back to those halcyon days of the 1850’s when the black were slaves, women couldn’t vote, and Mexico was being annexed into the states of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California. What a bunch of morons.
Speaking of rebooting brings us back to the retelling of the history of The Full Gospel Original Church of God. Bud was not concerned that he had not received a response to his text message to Mulva. Most of the time she was so busy with church business that she didn’t realize she’d received a text. There was no way Bud could match Mulva’s commitment to the church either spiritually or physically. Bud felt that putting on his Sunday finest, sitting erect and not falling asleep for an hour every week was a fair price for keeping peace in the family.
“I have gotten something out of attending services all these years”, Bud thought as he reviewed the IHOP menu, “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”.
As Bud ordered the ‘all he could eat pancakes’ he continued to reflect, “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”.
Bud stirred ice into to his coffee to keep from burning the roof of his mouth. “Of course, Reverend Helena is doing her dead level best to mainstream our little cult”, he thought.
Bud had heard from Mulva that the weekly TV viewership was consistently raising by twenty percent each week. He had seen for himself that the new church, the “Crystal Palace”, was bursting at the seams. “If the trend continues, we might be on the cusp of a national wave”, he thought as his first stack of pancakes arrived, “We may find ourselves someday saying, ‘I was cool before you even knew it was cool’”.
Bud was intimately aware of the fact that one didn’t have to believe in any of the dogma to be a part of it.
“I guess it helps to believe”, Bud thought, “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 the preacher does”.
Bud realized he was humming “The Old Rugged Cross” to himself as he waited for his second stack of pancakes. In Bud’s version, the tune was the same, but the word’s were 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”.
Bud realized he must have been humming out loud because he was suddenly surprised to have Bubba Hawker slide into the booth across from him and pick up the verse. In spite of all of Bubba’s deficits, Bubba was singing the right words.
“I’m guessing that if Bubba knew the Chevrolet words he had them beaten out of him long ago”, thought Bud. In deference to Bubba’s strict religious upbringing, Bud stopped humming.
“Hey Bubba, how’s it going”, Bud asked.
Bubba was grinning like a dog that had found a long lost bone. While Bubba had a warm, cheerful grin, Bud could see from his vantage point that his mouth was almost completely bereft of teeth. Bud had known Bubba all of Bubba’s life. Even now, it was hard to remember which, or how many, teeth were lost to neglect, corporal punishment or the accident.
The accident had left Bubba compromised to the point that Bubba did not realize how off putting his smile was.
“I bet he can’t even control it”, Bud thought as he started to look away.
Even if Bubba knew how scary he appeared sometimes, he didn’t appear to be trying to hold his emotions in check today. He was smiling to beat the band. As Bubba ordered a double stack in an effort to catch up to Bud, Bud marveled at how thin Bubba was.
“I’m sure that eating only foods that required minimal chewing plays a part in Bubba’s razor thin body type”, Bud thought as he watched Bubba dig in, “While my BMI is about 300, I’d calculate Bubba’s at about 10″.”He’s so thin you could read a paper through him, as Daddy used to say”. Bubba’s double stack arrived and he was grinning like a mule eating briars.
When Bubba had finished his double stack, he addressed Bud,”We missed you today in church”.
Bud explained that he was in church, just not the Little Church In The Valley. Bud went on to say that when he went to the services at the Crystal Palace, he could stop at the IHOP and get all of the pancakes he could eat. Bud’s logic was unassailable, and Bubba could not counter. To minimize conversation, Bud ducked his head back into the menu like there was a big decision that needed to be made about whether to have sausage, patties or links, bacon or ham. The waitress appeared and Bud choose to go “whole hog” and get links, bacon and ham. Bubba opted for another double stack of the pancake special. The pair were then left with nothing between them but the silence.
Bubba did not like silence and asked, “Did you hear what happened at church today?” His grin was from ear to ear, and his face was so red that he looked sunburned.
Bud replied, “no”, and immediately feared the worst. His first thoughts were of Mulva and he pulled out his cell phone to give her a call. Mulva didn’t answer and Bud was forced to ask Bubba if Mulva was ok.
Bubba smiled and answered that “Miss Mulva was just fine”, it was Reverend Dale that was in “big trouble”. Mildly relieved, Bud reflected on his situation with Reverend Dale.
“I can’t afford for the Reverend Dale to have another incident, like before”, Bud thought, “I’m just starting to break even on carrying him and his brood for these past months at TackyToo.” “Who will pay the bills if Reverend Dale is hospitalized again, or worse yet, out of a job?”
Bud contemplated his self interest while he listened to the details of the latest Reverend Dale affair. He could tell that Bubba felt the story had implications for him as well. It appeared to Bud that now that the Reverend Dale had gotten himself sideways with the congregation again at the Little Church In The Valley, Bubba believed that it was his, “why not me?” moment.
“I’m so glad it’s not me that has to dash his hopes again”, Bud thought.
Bud kept all of his thoughts to himself, he didn’t want to concern Bubba with any more information than he already had. Bubba seemed like he was about ready to burst, and it was not from the pancakes. Bud picked up the check and told Bubba that it was his treat. Bubba said, “thank you”, and grinned.
“You heading back to Nunsuch”, Bubba asked.
“Not for a while”, Bud replied, “I’ll pick you up if you’re still on the road when I come back through.” As Bud drove towards the Crystal Palace in hopes of finding Mulva buried deep in her work, he speculated on what course their conversation would take.
“I’m not interested in ‘doing the right thing’ again, no matter how Mulva thinks”, Bud thought, “If we want the ‘right thing’ to happen, Reverend Dale needs to get his issue fixed”. “It might not fix his wandering eye, but he can get everything else that wanders taken care of.”
Bud pulled into the parking lot of the Crystal Palace and did not see Mulva’s car. Risking life and limb and revocation of his parole, Bud sped back to TackyToo in search of his wife.