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All Creatures of Our God And King XXX

BudLiteGood morning, y’all. Further news from Orlando indicates that the Orlando shooter had issues with his own sexuality, possibly. So far no sexual partners have come forward other than his wives. After listening to the confusing, bizarre interviews with the shooter’s father, it’s not that much of a leap to presume that the son would prefer for his dad to remember him as a jihadist than a homosexual. It also looks like there’s going to be a chronology of times when someone should have intervened and gotten the shooter help, but didn’t.

Speaking of chronology brings us back to the telling of the history of the Little Church in the Valley. It is day six of Summer Revival 2010, and Elder Cheatum is rocking on the front porch of the rectory. His peaceful revelry is broken by the front door opening and the committee pushing through on their way to the lunch setup at the picnic tables next to Tent number one. Today’s menu included pulled pork sandwiches with coleslaw, German potato salad and Brunswick stew. All of Hap’s crew was in attendance, and they looked none the worse for the wear. Elder Cheatum noticed that once again, Ms.Lite was sitting with Reverend Bread.

As Reverend Daniel said the blessing for the meal, Elder Cheatum noticed Reverend Bread place his hand over Ms. Lite’s. A subtle gesture, and then it was gone. The Elder wondered if the young people really did think that everyone closed their eyes for prayer when told to do so by the minister. No matter, everything associated with the Right Reverend Hap T. Johnstone would be leaving soon, and this week would be just a memory of mixed blessings.

It appeared that Hap’s crew didn’t know where their next meal was coming from, or were at least trying to eat ahead as much as possible. The whole crew had seconds, and the security guards looked like they were waiting for the Ladies Auxillary to ask the guards if they wanted  them to lick the bowls. The Ladies didn’t ask, and finally Hap’s crew wandered back to the tour bus. Ms. Leer went with them.

As she walked away, Reverend Bread walked over to the table commandeered by the selection committee. He was wearing a red and black T-shirt with “Go Dawgs” printed in bold letters on the front. “Ya’ll ain’t changed your mind have you?” He asked the committee shining his toothiest grin.

“No, but we can see that you have.” Elder Wiley said, “My compliments to your haberdasher.” “You like very stylish, and in keeping with the social norms of the area.”

“Uh, yeah, it didn’t hurt as bad as I thought it would.” The young Reverend grinned again. “I kind of need to know the game plan.” “My wife’s coming up today with my children.” “She’s so happy to be coming back to the mountains she can’t stand it.” “We’ll need to know all of the particulars.” Reverend Bread looked around at the members of the committee and smiled his biggest grin. “I guess I’m jumping ahead, we’re both just so excited about the opportunity.” “It is just a Godsend, or a Mitzvah as our Jewish brothers would say.” 

Elder Wiley had decided his role with the new preacher would be that of “bad cop”. He looked at the young Reverend and said,”We don’t need any omnism here young man.” “We are a Pentecostal church that has endured the threat of capital punishment to be able to practice what we know is the true word of God.” “If you see any grey area there, or have any ideas that the Jews, or the Catholics, Muslims or whatever have got a better path to the pearly gates, then I think you better climb aboard their bus.” “What we require here in our little community is a man firm in his belief that the teachings of the Hawker family will be carried on in this church as long as there is one of us still on this mortal plane.” “Are we understanding one another?” Elder Wiley looked at the young Reverend with a look of cold rolled steel. 

Rather than being flustered, as any young man would be when set upon by the blistering attack of the Elder, the young Reverend just shined his bright grin on the group again and answered. “Oh no sir,  I’ll be the conduit for delivering the Hawker message for as long as you’ll have me.” “I do recognize the historical significance of this church and your teachings, and I’m honored to be a part of it.” The young Reverend caught his breath and continued, “And that’s the last Jewish word out of me, I won’t even preach about Passover, if you don’t want me to.”

The group eyed the young Reverend coldly before Reverend Daniel chuckled and said, “Well, I guess you can preach about Passover as long as it gets the Jews back into Israel in time for Jesus to be born.” At this point he gave a hearty laugh and the group invited Reverend Bread to join them at the table. After a few minutes, Elder Cheatum excused himself and headed across the parking lot to Hap Johnstone’s tour bus. Hap’s crew was busy repacking the brick-a-brack and T-shirts back into their original boxes. The awning was folded and placed with the unsold merchandise in the little trailer towed by the tour bus.The crew appeared to be minutes from departure.

Elder Cheatum knocked on the bus door and was greeted by Crystal Leer.

“I just wanted to say goodbye and wish you luck.” the Elder said, “You’ve handled yourself admirably under very trying circumstances.” The Elder stuck out his hand the secretary/assistant shook it warmly.

“Let’s don’t say goodbye, Elder, you just never know when our paths might cross again.”, Ms Leer smiled demurely. “Like I said, a person could find a lot worse places to live than Nunsuch.”

“Oh, do you plan on staying in our area?”, the Elder asked.

“Well, at least until I see what’s happening with Hap.” Crystal replied, “I don’t feel like I can leave him until either his family shows up, or somebody is appointed to handle his finances.” “It’s a lot more complicated than it looks.” “If his hospital stay is a long one like the Doctors are predicting, it’s going to take a lot of money.”

Crystal pressed on. “Hap doesn’t have health insurance, which I guess you figured.” “It’d look pretty funny for a faith healer to have major medical, wouldn’t it?” Crystal’s voice lowers to a conspiratorial level as she reveals, “Hap’s got money in local banks all over the country.” “He doesn’t trust the big banks, so whenever he’d play a place he’d find a local savings and loan or credit union and join.” “I’m not sure even I could give an accurate accounting, and I’ve got the list.” “We’re going to need to figure all of that out before I head on to my next adventure.” “Did I say ‘we’, I guess I meant ‘I’, I need to figure all of that out.”

Ms. Leer held out her hand again and said, “So let’s just say, ‘see you later’ and ‘later’ can be left open.” “I do appreciate your kindness.”

They shook hands again and the Elder walked back to the front porch of the rectory. When he arrived, two of the three rocking chairs were already filled with sleeping Elders, so Elder Cheatum took his place in the third. I reckon Reverend Daniel’s taking his nap in his bedroom the Elder thought. His old bedroom, I should say. As the Elder was slipping into twilight sleep the roar of the tour bus and the accompanying caravan roared out of the parking lot headed for Blairsville. Elder Cheatum stirred just enough to record the event in his brain, and then slipped off to sleep. It was a deep peaceful sleep.

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