Good morning, y’all. As we reflect on the fact that on this day in 2008, Barack Obama became the first African-American to be nominated by a major political party for President of the United States, we listen to the Donald scream at people of color, “Vote For ME, what have you got to lose?” It sounds like a campaign strategy from a teen comedy where the nerdiest nerd runs a campaign for class president on the “What have you got to lose” ticket. So, to everybody who vote for president based on snappy, kitschy slogans; look around, everything you see is what you have to lose.
Speaking of things to lose brings us back to the retelling of the history of The Full Gospel Original Church of God. When Mulva arrived back at TackyToo there was no sign of Bud. She presumed he had kept his promise and attended services at the Crystal Palace this week in her stead. Mulva decided to rest for just a bit on the sofa before heading in to Blairsville to gather the collections from that day’s service. She felt the beginnings of a migraine forming and wanted to head it off if she could.
Bud had indeed kept his promise and driven to Blairsville. He had actually gotten started a little bit earlier this week than usual. Bud wanted to see if he could actually get a spot in the parking lot, rather than walking from downtown Blairsville. As luck would have it, Bud snaked a parking space right as one of the gofers for Channel 99 was pulling out. He parked right next to the broadcast truck.
“I bet the gofer was headed out for coffee”, Bud thought as he climbed the steps to church, “It will probably be a long walk for him when he gets back”. “Well, I guess if I continue to feel guilty about taking his space, I’ll move my car after everybody sees I made it to service on time.” Bud knew that his twinges of guilt generally didn’t last long, so he was pretty sure he’d be over it by the beginning of the service.
“There are times when a failing memory comes in handy”, Bud rationalized.
Bud found a spot in the third pew by forcing everyone to move down so that he could take the aisle seat. He mumbled “good morning” to the odd looking fellow next to him who identified himself as Lenny Krapitz. Fortunately for both parties there were just a few minutes available to chit chat before the lights dimmed, signalling the start of the proceedings. Bud quickly turned his attention away from his pew mate to concentrate on the stage. Bud had learned early in life the penalties associated with talking during the service.
The choir began singing “Faith of Our Fathers” in one voice as the congregation looked to the stage for the arrival of Reverend Helena Handbasket. As she had done since the move to the Crystal Palace, Reverend Handbasket appeared as if by magic on the stage. Bud determined to search for a trapdoor that very day if given the opportunity.
“I’m fairly sure that Reverend Helena has not mastered the art of transmutation”, Bud thought, “If she has, that’s pretty miraculous by itself”.
“There has to be some physical reason that she appears so suddenly on the stage, and I’m going to figure it out”, Bud determined as he turned his gaze to the pulpit.
Reverend Handbasket was decked out in a lavender robe with white sash, trimmed in gold. Bud wondered if the lavender robe was some sort of tribute to Prince, who had died that week. The constant replay of the news of Prince’s death had driven Bud to distraction that week. While trying to get the news from any station on any other topic, Bud, in a fit of pique, had launched into a tirade to all of the other residents of TackyToo gathered in the Rec room.
“The blurring of the lines between celebrities and deities has gone way too far for my taste”, Bud said, “I have no problem revering the works of those who do good deeds and raise up those around them”. “I don’t know that I can name any rock stars that fill that bill”. “Maybe there’s a soup line somewhere or rehab facility being funded by Prince royalties”.
Observing the looks of bewilderment on the faces of the other residents, Bud had finished his soliloquy with, “I promise to look into that”, as he retreated from the Rec room.
The title for this week’s sermon was “Thieves in the Temple”, and Bud couldn’t recall having heard anything like it before. There were some references to the dishonest politicians and corrupt government officials stealing from the poor and middle class. There were also references to the dishonest people who work their way into your heart and turn out to be no better that the money changers that Jesus threw out of the temple. In one sense, it was as convoluted a sermon as Reverend Helena had delivered. Fortunately, the folks pressing forward to take part in the testament of faith and the altar call had gotten the message. It seemed that the majority of the folks understood exactly what Reverend Helena was saying and wanted to come closer to her to share the “Spirit”.
Since Bud felt no need to ask for absolution, he snuck out during the benediction and walked the fifty yards to his prime parking spot. He had completely forgotten any twinges of guilt he felt for stealing the parking space. As he arrived at the space, he was glad the Channel 99 people hadn’t blocked him in or plastered his car with Channel 99 bumper stickers in retaliation.
Bud texted Mulva that he was headed to IHOP for lunch. Maybe she could stop on her way to the Crystal Palace and they could eat lunch together. Since Sundays were catch as catch can for the couple, the IHOP would serve as a welcome break for their duties. Besides, today was “All of the Pancakes You Can Eat Sunday”. Bud didn’t wait for Mulva’s response to head to the eatery. “Life’s good”, he thought as he entered the parking lot.