“Walllll,” began Grandpa; as he always did, with a long pause and a sucking of false teeth as he held that final labial consonant, “yep, there marched time, quicker than you believe, conceive…” (He had that oh-so-annoying habit: rhyming terminal words). The rain pitter-pattered on the canvas of the huge gray tent. Alabama’s like that: sunny days; drenching night-ways.
He gobbled another greedy shot of Jack Daniels. Spat. Rolled eyes to skies. (Oh, Lord, not me too.)
“…when Earth hung lower on firmament’s edge, and all of us’ns believed in the Testament. AMEN!”
His glory days as child wonder preacher got juiced up with juice. Even in those glory days, that sad, dark, wooden church held a few dozen and that was on special occasions. But it didn’t matter. Because in his mind, he was preachering before the congregation of a magnificent cathedral if not God’s own thrown.
“A-MEN!” he repeated, as though this one AMEN was the one that would put us over the top and headed toward the Promised Land. He said ‘Amen’ as though his life depended on it, and perhaps he really thought it did.
I could see Light, Holy Light, rekindle in his eyes. “We BELIEVED! And, God so loved the World of Alabama that He gave his only begotten Son, who won, the One thing that is Done. AMEN!”
Well, he foamed in fine form for this night, I thought, shaking my hanging head slowly, perhaps, showily.
“And, Oh, Dearest God, what have you revealed, concealed from your flock, your true stock?”
The crowd began to sway and have its say, “AMEN!” came the shout above the rain, explode the brain.
“The Ghost, the HOOOOOOOLY Ghost…will enter you and make Him Yours and He makes you His. Yeah! It’s the Way! Can I hear you say Yeah!?”
Shouts all around. Surrounded in sound, I found myself hoping for a Sign, a Line, a Find of Mind. I die. I see the Lie, but cannot fathom Why. Oh, Why?
If Only: short mystery about a chance meeting on Tower Bridge around 1900.
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