Dallas Dave

Preacher Robert C. Kermitt sat down in the swivel chair in his small office in the Educational Building of First United Methodist Church.  He was a short trim man with thinning red hair and a noticeable limp on his right side, thanks to a Jap bullet in his thigh on Okinawa.  This wound had served him well when he first arrived at his new church.  The church had a welcoming committee made up of the same people who had come to watch him preach at his last church.  The members each invited him to their homes for dinner, on Thursdays, until he made the circuit.  Preacher Kermit was single.

The first parishioner he had dinner with was Clyde Chester and his wife.  Clyde lived in High Shoals, a little mill town on the South Fork River and worked the second shift as a slubber tender.  Preacher Kermit had noticed the long scar on the side of Clyde Chester’s face, a nasty one that went all the way from the corner of his mouth to behind his ear.  Clyde told the preacher ‘bout how a German machine gun bullet had “laid the side of my cheek open,” and even showed him the exit wound on the back of his neck.  “Got mighty close to my spine,” said Clyde, “but a miss is as good as a mile.”  Clyde grinned big after saying this.  Then Preacher Kermit told ‘bout the Jap bullet, and a solid friendship was forged.

Preacher Kermit enjoyed all the dinners.  He also visited Tom and Edith Kiser, Al and Annie  Passarelli, Polie and May Pasour, and Loy Mosteller and his wife Edie.  Everybody liked the new preacher and Preacher Kermit liked all his flock.

The talk in the church yard reflected this mutual admiration.  There was about a fifteen minute break between Sunday School and preaching, and that’s when the men of the church stood around on the lawn in front and shot the breeze.

Webb Parrish, his brother Mike Parish, Ward Payseur, Clyde Russell, Clyde Chester and a few others were fixtures.  (You will notice Webb and Mike, though brothers, spell their last name differently’; seems Mike did some genealogical research and found that the Parishes had spelled it wrong all this time.  Mike changed his, but Webb declined.) 

Ward Payseur was jingling the change in his pocket like always.  Clyde Russell started it off.  “Well, Ward” he said, “whaddaya think of our new preacher?”

“I’d say he’s a good one Clyde,” answered Ward.  “Down to earth, not afraid to tackle thorny issues, like the other week when he got on original sin.  Stimulatin’ to the mind, stimulatin’.”

“He seems like a strong-minded feller,” said Clyde Chester.  “Ya know he got that limp from a Jap bullet on Okinawa.”

“Ya know what I like ‘bout im?”  It was Webb Parrish.  Webb Parrish was well known for strong opinions, like his adamant defense of the “realness” of Big Bill Ward’s Championship Wrestling on Channel 3 out of Charlotte.

“He’s got a little fiery streak in ‘im.  I admire that in a man, ‘specially a preacher.  So many of ‘em are kinda namby pamby,” Webb concluded.  “When he gets wound up it’s almost like he’s got a little Baptist in him,” Webb chuckled.  The rest of the men joined in the light moment.

“Speaking of different denominations,” interjected Mike Parish “you know what you’ll find if you have four Episcopalians together?”  Ward grinned and bit.  “What Mike?”  “A fifth,” laughed Mike and they all headed toward the sanctuary, for the bell had rung.

It was the following Saturday night and the parishioners had gathered in the basement of the Educational Building for an ice cream supper.  There was a tradition of having these once a month during the summer and everyone looked forward to it, particularly the kids.

Everybody ate supper before they came, and then brought in their hand cranked ice cream makers and carried them out through the kitchen into the yard back of the building.  Sometimes there would be as many as ten freezers on site, with a variety of flavors.  Clyde Russell and his wife, Wendell, favored pineapple, Mike Parish brought black walnut, mainly because his Uncle Oscar had a black walnut tree at the rear of his house.  Then there was the usual mix of vanilla, chocolate, strawberry and banana.  There were enough kids around so it was all guaranteed to be gobbled up by the end of the night.

The church sprang for the chipped ice and the rock salt, bought out of the general fund, so all you had to do was bring your pre-mixed freezer.  Then there was congenial conversation out in the yard; the kids were always anxious to crank the handle, but as the ice cream began to harden and the cranking got tougher they would invariably give way to the adults to finish up.  Then they were free to play Red Rover and catch fireflies in the twilight.

But they would always come flying back when they saw the tops come off the freezers; this meant it was time for the dasher to be pulled out of the container.  When the dasher was removed a lot of the ice cream would stick to it.  The women would take a tablespoon and scoop off most of it, letting it fall back in the container.  But the kids knew that there was still a considerable amount left on the dashers and they assaulted them with a vengeance.  Fingers scooped the nectar off, lips licked at the great dessert – you could even see three children licking a dasher at the same time.  Kind of like licking the spoon when your momma made a cake or put on the icing.

Then the ice cream was carried into the kitchen and set up on the counter that had the large opening into the multipurpose room. Spoons, bowls and napkins were put out and following Preacher Kermit’s blessing they would dig in.  But the blessing was most assiduously adhered to; typically Clyde Russell would take out his pocketknife and rap on one of the steel pipe column supports to signal for quiet.  He did this very thing tonight.  Once the crowd quieted, Preacher Kermit said “Let us all bow our heads in prayer.  Dear Omnipotent and Omniscient Being of Wonder, please bless this delightful and delicious dessert to the nourishment of our bodies.  And bless this wonderful and congenial group; never a finer bunch have I ever been around.  Amen.”

With that the kids stormed the counter, piling up their bowls to the top with a variety of flavors.  There were also cones, and tonight Wendell Russell had brought some double cones.

After the kids were done on the first round the adults filtered over to get some.  One could hear a smattering of the conversations going on, and it seemed like most people were commenting on Preacher Kermit’s prayer, and what a fine one it was.

“I swear if he ain’t sort of an intellectual,” posed Ward Payseur, “just listen to that vocabulary.”

“Very true,” said Polie Pasour, “I believe he was an English major in undergraduate school before he went to seminary.  Duke Divinity ya know.”

“Mighty impressive, mighty impressive,” added Webb Parrish.  “And ya know what I really like about his prayers is his voice doesn’t change from his normal sound when he starts prayin’.  Ya know that new teacher down at the high school in Dallas, think his name is Darren or Barron or sumpin’, he’s got this real high pitched squeaky soundin’ speakin’ voice, but when he starts to pray he does this big deep baritone, like he’s tryin’ to sound like George Beverly Shea or somebody.  It sounds just awful fake.”

“He does use some big words,” said Clyde Russell . “Guess I’ll be pullin’ out the dictionary when I get home.  When one of my young’uns asks the definition of a word I always tell ‘em to look it up.  Guess I’m about to follow my own advice,” he chuckled, and the rest of the men joined in the laughter.

Most of the time at these gatherings there was a program or some kind of demonstration that would be beneficial to the group.  Tonight Clyde Chester was going to perform a public service, and in the process maybe provide some information that might someday save a life.

Clyde disappeared for a while and then reappeared bearing what looked like a life sized female doll.  Clyde placed the blonde haired dummy, dressed in slacks and a blouse, on a table that the men had set up.  This time Clyde Russell did not have to bang his pocket knife on the steel column to get everyone’s attention; everyone had already gathered around, watching intently.

Clyde began.  “Now folks, you know I am very active in the High Shoals Rescue Squad.  In fact, I am aware that many of you have benefited from our service.”  All the adults nodded and mumbled agreement.  Clyde then pointed at the dressed up blonde dummy.

“This here is called “Resusci-Annie” he said, “and she is on loan from the Charlotte Mecklenburg Rescue Squad.  They were able to purchase her with some federal funds, and they have been so kind as to loan her to us for a week.  What it is all about is CPR.”  Clyde spoke the initials very slowly, and as he did eyed the crowd steadily.

“Now most of you probably know that stands for Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation.  And Resusci-Annie is a tool to help all of us learn how to perform CPR.  And I am telling you straight from the heart, I have seen CPR save many a life, ‘specially in drowning or potential drowning situations.”

Wendell Russell was listening  like the rest of them.  But when Clyde Chester mentioned drowning, it really hit home with her; her older sister Mildred, who lived over on the Dallas-Stanley Highway, had had her youngest boy drown in the South Fork River just last summer.

“CPR might could have saved him, if anybody had been up on it,” she thought, and turned her attention back to Clyde Chester.

Clyde Chester turned to the table where Resusci-Annie reclined and picked up a thin plastic cover with a small hole in the center.  He held it up so everyone could see it and said; “Now this is a little hygiene strip with a mastic.  This goes over the mouth of Resusci-Annie, and it will be changed each time a different person practices on her.  Now let me show you how it works.” 

Clyde Chester placed the shield over Resusci-Annie’s mouth and bent over, placing his mouth over hers and blowing in deeply.  As he did so her anatomically correct chest rose and then fell when he stopped and pulled away.  Then he would get a deep breath and repeat the procedure.  After six exhalations into the dummy Clyde stopped and addressed the crowd, who had now gathered around the table.

“The recommendation is to breathe into Resusci-Annie six times, deeply, and then wait ten seconds to see if the victim will start breathing on his own.  Of course Resusci-Annie won’t,” he said and rolled his eyes.  This brought a round of laughter from the group.

“But if she does start up, I’ll be the first one out of here,” Clyde joked, and got another good laugh.

“So now who wants to try Resusci-Annie first?  How ‘bout you Ward,” Clyde asked, motioning toward the Sunday School teacher.  Ward came forward, collected the proffered plastic mouth cover, stuck it on Resusci-Annie and performed the operation just as Clyde Chester had done.

Ward got a nice round of polite applause, as did everyone as they went through the exercise; even the children did it.

“Never too young to start kids in life saving techniques,” said Clyde Chester, as he started to lift Resusci-Annie off the table.  Just then Preacher Kermit walked over and said, “Don’t forget about me, Clyde.”

Clyde Chester looked up and smiled.  “Of course not, Preacher,” and handed Preacher Robert Kermit one of the plastic lip covers.  Preacher Kermit quickly went through the life saving paces and appropriately got the loudest and longest round of applause.

Then the crowd began to wander away, until there were only a few remaining.  Clyde Chester was packing up Resusci-Annie when he noticed Preacher Kermit by his side.

“Clyde,” he said, “Would it be possible for me to take Resusci-Annie home?  I could return her to you tomorrow.  It is just that I know how diligently you work

in the High Shoals Rescue Squad, and I really want to be prepared should the need for CPR occur.”

Clyde Chester looked at Preacher Kermit and beamed a huge smile, causing the disfiguring scar on his right cheek to bunch up in tight rivulets. 

“Why of course, Preacher,” Clyde said.   “You just fold her up and take her on home.  You can keep her a couple days if you want ‘cause we ain’t got another demonstration until next Thursday over at the Gastonia Moose Lodge on 321.  That’ll be fine.”

Clyde helped take Resusci-Annie out to Preacher Kermit’s car; they laid her gently in the back seat of the Preacher’s DeSoto, in a sitting position.

“Thank you Clyde.  I know I will feel well prepared after this practice,” said the Preacher.  Kermit cranked his car and was starting to pull away when Clyde Chester came running after him, carrying a small package.

Preacher Kermit rolled his window down and listened to a slightly winded Clyde Chester say.  “Oh Preacher, you will be needing these,” as he handed over the plastic hygiene lip protectors.

“Why thank you, Clyde, plum forgot ‘bout ‘em,” said Preacher Kermit.  Clyde smiled and departed.  It was dark as Preacher Kermit motored toward the parsonage.  Once he got away from the church he turned on the dome light in his car, and all the way home, he glanced up every once in awhile, to see how Resusci-Annie was doing, as if he thought she might return his gaze.

Preacher Robert Kermit was in his little shoe box office in the educational building.  He was trying to work on his sermon, for it was already Friday, but he kept thinking about poetry.  He had been an English major in undergraduate school, and he had loved poetry.  His favorite classes were the poetry survey classes where all the students read the same poems and the professor had the interpretive discussion.  He would let his imagination run wild in these classes, with mixed results.  One of his favorites was by Dylan Thomas, “Do not go gently into that good night, rage, rage against the dying of the light.”  Another poet he found interesting was an insurance executive named Wallace Stevens.  Stevens had a poem called “The Emperor of Ice Cream” an enigmatic poem that the class dithered about for quite a while.  In the poem a rather sordid life in a rooming house was described.  Preacher Kermit remembered that he had learned what “deal” furniture was from that poem, although like the rest of the class he had remained unsure of a correct interpretation.  He did remember the antics of Professor Williams who taught that Modern Poetry Survey.  He was plenty bright, but very dramatic, tending toward pacing up and down the aisles of the class, throwing his arms in the air, looking skyward along with various other histrionics.  Dr. Williams also essentially dressed in a uniform; no matter what the season he was clad in jeans and a long-sleeved black tee shirt.

Since he was so into the interpretation and used his creativity so well, Preacher Kermit was lauded on several occasions by Dr. Williams.  But there was one ignominious moment that the preacher would never, ever forget.

They had been dealing with “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock,” and Preacher Kermit couldn’t precisely remember the circumstances, but he did remember his famous interpretation.  Some student had been discussing changing forms and how the form was always different in some ways.  That was the moment when Robert Kermit, future Methodist minister, quickly raised his hand and said, “Yes, Dr. Williams, I can see a vagina working there.  It is always different—never the same.” The room became deathly quiet, and Dr. Jerry Williams was lucky he wasn’t drinking a soda, because by the look of incredulity on his face he surely would have spit it across the room.  Preacher Kermit remembered how embarrassed he had been; mercifully, Dr. Williams recovered quickly and continued as if nothing had happened.  Preacher Kermit did remember that one of his classmates remarked to him, “Man, you really get into poetry.”  Somehow this made him feel better, but he was a little more careful after that in choosing his words.

Then Preacher Kermit thought about another class, Transformational Grammar.  He recalled that he had extensive “almost” arguments in class with the munchkin-like prof.  He came out with a C, but did recall that he told Dr. Carroll one day that the whole concept was “gobbledegook.”

He realized that Dr. Williams and Dr. Carroll were buddies after seeing them pal around on campus.  This made Robert feel a little funny, for he imagined that they talked about him – maybe even conspired against him.

Then Preacher Kermit started thinking about Joe McCarthy, and what a splash he had made of late, and how cutting edge and incisive and intuitive his ideas were.  “If I could be like anybody in this world I would want to emulate Senator McCarthy,” he said out loud, smiling at his pronouncement.  “And they call him paranoid,” he thought, “hmmmph.”

However, Preacher Kermit had another topic, a local one, that needed a lot of attention, and interpretation.  “Little seemingly innocent situations can be wolves in sheeps’ clothing,” he mused.

The morning after the night Clyde Chester had loaned him Resusci-Annie he had turned on the TV and seen, for the first time, a local kids show called “Fred Kirby’s Little Rascals Club.”  It came out of Charlotte and featured a guy, Fred Kirby, dressed in cowboy garb and strumming a guitar.  He would sing a song, and then they would show a Little Rascals episode with Spanky, Alfalfa, Buckwheat and Darla.  The episodes weren’t the problem with him; however, he thought he had figgered out some hidden meanings in some of Fred Kirby’s songs.  Preacher Kermit knew that if he utilized the interpretive skills he had learned as an English major he would be able to unravel the mystery.

The first song he thought about was one of Fred’s all-time favorites, “I’ve Got a Pocket Full of Candy.”  It went like this – “I’ve got a pocket full of candy, a big red stick of candy, and if you’ll be my sweetheart, I’ll give it all to you.”

Preacher Kermit loosed all his creative powers and immediately picked up on several sexual allusions.  “So obvious,” he grunted.  First of all, the bulging pocket.  “Doesn’t take a genius to see that obvious reference.  Is that a pocket full of candy or are you just glad to see me,” he thought.  Then the BIG RED STICK.  “My God,” Preacher thought, “overpowering phallic reference – and the mention of it being candy was so overtly fellatious”.

He wrote down his thoughts and then read them out loud.  Twice.  He was really getting upset; his face was starting to get very red.

Then he remembered the other song Fred Kirby, the singing cowboy, the hero Killer of Indians at Tweetsie sang – The Big Rock Candy Mountain.”

“The Big Rock” is so ridiculously obvious,” Preacher Kermit thought.  Candy another no brainer, and Mountain; an overt symbol for the mound.”  Reverend Kermit marveled at how the Piedmont goobers around here had listened to this sexually subversive rot so unwittingly.  “They are so lucky I came along,” he mused, and thought of how proud Senator McCarthy would be of him if he only knew what the Preacher was thinking.

“I know exactly what the Senator would say,” Preacher Kermit thought.  “He would say exactly what I am thinking this very moment – that the entirety of Fred Kirby’s message is a communist inspired attempt to influence the local children and indoctrinate them in the thinly veiled filth that the ‘Singing Cowboy’ is peddling.  The Little Rascals episodes were merely pawns in the corrupt plot,” he thought.

Then he reflected for a moment and thought about how this would be his sermon Sunday.  “Yes,” he thought.  “It is time to reveal the evil – My God what would Spanky McFarland think if he knew how his films were being used in such a defiling way.  Don’t worry Spanky,” Preacher Kermit shouted, the sound reverberating off the walls of his tiny office.  “Preacher Robert Kermit is going to set you free.”

Preacher Robert Kermit was putting the finishing touches on his outfit as he viewed himself in the long mirror in the hall.  It was Sunday morning and this was the day of the “Revelation” so Robert wanted to look his very best.  He had chosen the dark blue suit, starched white shirt with the French cuffs, the gold cuff links that had belonged to his late father, a red tie, blue and white Argyle socks and black Oxfords shined to a military brilliance.  As Preacher Kermit took one last look at himself he assumed a fierce look and thrust his right arm in the air, his index finger pointing heavenward, then he maintained the facial expression but moved the arm forward again jutting the finger straight ahead.  He thought he would need these mannerisms today, so a little practice would not hurt. 

Preacher Kermit then walked into the small kitchen and stared at the table.  It was the table where he had practiced on Resusci-Annie – for hours.  Then he remembered how he had mounted the table and laid on top of the dummy, and eventually, falling asleep, woke up at 2 a.m. and trundling off to bed, left Resusci-Annie alone.  “Good night darling,” he had whispered; then before he reached his bedroom he thought better of things and came back and scooped her up.

Preacher Kermit returned Resusci-Annie that next morning, telling Clyde Hester how good he had gotten at CPR and thanking him profusely.

Reverend Robert Kermit then patted his suit pocket to verify his sermon and hopped into the big DeSoto and headed down the road to First United Methodist Church.  Preaching was at 11:00, and it was already 10:30, so Robert goosed the big car a little.  Preacher Kermit always liked to get there early so he could spend a few moments with the choir before the service.  And, today being special, he may even want to hint to a special few, Howard Pasour or Al Passarelli, that it would be a Sunday to remember.

Preacher Kermit parked in the CLERGY ONLY spot when he arrived at the church and went around the left side of the sanctuary to the breezeway which connected the church proper to the newer Educational Building.  From there he entered the choir room.  It was a scene of bustle and the choir members had already donned their robes. 

Reverend Kermit sidled up to Howard Pasour and said, “Today’s sermon is going to be noteworthy.”  The Preacher thought it best to leave it at that, and accepted Howard’s knowing and appreciative smile.  Then he looked around for Al Passarelli; failing to see him he settled for Webb Parrish.  “Webb, today’s sermon is gonna be a humdinger,” he told Webb with a grin.  Reverend Krummitt enjoyed tailoring his speech style to the individual.  Webb looked at the Preacher with excited eyes and implored, “Ya mean some fire and brimstone, Preacher?”  Preacher Kermit showed Webb a knowing smile and replied, “Don’t be surprised, Webb, don’t be surprised.”

With that Howard opened the door to the sanctuary and led the way, Preacher Kermit bringing up the rear as was tradition.

Preacher Kermit approached the lectern, which was draped with a blue and gold banner proclaiming IHS in bold letters – IN HIS SERVICE.  In front of Preacher Kermit was a table with a gold covered metal cross in the middle of it, flanked by two candlesticks of the same material.

As was his custom Preacher Kermit started the service off with a short prayer, an idea he had picked up in seminary.  “You need to set the tone early, right away,” Professor Trumpey had said – “Give them a little foreshadowing; if they are paying attention it will really hit home with them at the end of the day.”

“Dear Omnipotent, Omniscient, and wise Creator, we come to you today seeking understanding of your will, and achieving that, pray for strength to do your bidding against the forces of evil.  Amen.”  And the congregation said “Amen.”

Howard Pasour noted that Preacher Kermit’s prayer sounded a little more forceful than his usual but attributed it to the Preacher feeling more at ease with the passage of time.

Webb Parrish was paying attention also.  “Now that’s getting to soundin’ a little fiery,” he thought, “kinda sounds like that Baptist in ‘im, might be startin’ to surface.”  Webb readied himself for what he felt might be a sermon he would never forget.

Preacher Kermit leaned against the lectern, his hands closing in on both sides until his knuckles showed pinky white.  Then he proceeded to light into how he had come upon his discovery of the subversive sexual and communistic groundwork that Fred Kirby was laying for the children in the greater Charlotte viewing area of WB-TV.

“The big red stick of candy,” he shouted, don’t you see the allusion – sooo phallic, he shouted, and looked about the pews for the reaction.

Ward Payseur, sitting on the back row with Bub Carter coughed nervously and looked out the stained-glass window toward the crepe myrtle tree in the graveyard.  “What in the world is he talking about,” Ward considered, turning back quickly at the eruption at the lectern.

“And if you’ll be my sweetheart, I’ll give it all to you,” Preacher Kermit screamed.  “Sex, sex, it is pure unadulterated sexual allusion, and we must, must bring it to a halt.”

Lizzie Carter was gauging Preacher Kermit with her one good eye, trying to figger out where he was going with this outburst, while Webb Parrish’s early enthusiasm had cooled considerably when the Preacher had started using big words like “allusion,” plus Webb was having a lot of trouble figgerin’ out why the preacher was so upset about candy.  Like most of the men in the church Webb brought candy bars home to his wife and kids every Friday.  So far it had not led to any sex; but for good measure Webb made a mental note to get his wife Mae’s opinion on the matter.  “Might be missin’ out,” he chuckled, then turned his attention back to the fiery Robert Kermit.

Preacher Kermit had moved on to “The Big Rock Candy Mountain,” and in an extremely loud and tremulous voice was very intently explaining how the mountain reference was actually referring to the female mound.  “My God, My God, Dr. Williams would be so proud of me,” he thought, as his voice continued to rise and he began pacing back and forth on the little elevated area in front of the choir and behind the railing, where the parishioners knelt to take communion.

“Senator McCarthy has told the country about this, time and time again,” he shouted, “but no one has listened.”  Suddenly Preacher Kermit stopped stock-still, as if frozen.  He looked out at the group, and seeing their faces, felt it was time for the clincher. 

Rescue Squad Captain Clyde Chester was also looking around at the people, and he could see on their faces a combination of fright and confusion.  But there was no confusion on Clyde Chester’s face; he had seen people crack up before, more than once in the war.  And he had sent his son Tim out to the Rescue Squad ambulance to retrieve the white canvas package.

“Lucky I drove the ambulance today,” he mused.  He collected the package from his son and leaned over and whispered into Bub Carter’s ear, “When I give the word we rush him and pin him, then I’ll do the rest,” he said and saw Bub nod solemnly.

Preacher Robert Kermit quickly thought back to his ignominious moment in poetry class.  “I will make them see it, understand it, know it,” he thought to himself.

“So you see,” he began, “the evil intertwinings of these foul songs, you see how they hint at this, and give allusion to that – the form ever changing never the same,” he shouted and jumped up on the table where the cross and candle sticks were.  “Don’t you see, my God Sweet Jesus don’t you see what is working there?”

Rachel Pasour was beside herself; she had never seen anything like this, and her daddy had been a Pentecostal snake handler.  Webb Parrish was having more trouble also.  “I can understand getting’ wild ‘bout wrestling’ but what the dickens is the Preacher yammering about?” he pondered.

At that moment Preacher Robert Kermit leaped from the sacred table to the floor, landing hard on his bad leg.  Struggling to his knees he screamed, “I see a Vagina working there, a vagina working there.”  His pale blue eyes were burning bright as he carried on; then Clyde Chester and Bub Carter rushed him and before you know it Preacher Kermit was safely ensconced in the one and only straight jacket owned by the High Shoals Rescue Squad.  The only other time it had been used was to subdue Pasour Rhyne when he had burned down Earl Lineberger’s barn.

As Clyde and Bub led Preacher Kermit down the aisle everyone stared in shocked silence.  Preacher Kermit kept shouting, “Vagina, I see a vagina working there,” much to the consternation of the ladies.  To the last one they felt very, very uncomfortable hearing that word.  Preacher Kermit was led out the door and Bub Carter held on to him as Clyde drove the ambulance up to the front of the church.  As they placed him in the vehicle Preacher Kermit looked out at his parishioners; they had all streamed out to see him depart.  He screamed “I can see a vagina working there,” one last time, then in a small voice said five words – “I love you Resusci-Annie.”

The parishioners began to disperse and head toward their cars as Cliff and Cleff Carden came out.  They were identical twins and 85 years old.  They still got around all right but their hearing was horrible; they were too tight to buy hearing aids.

“Cliff,” said Cleff, “whaddaya think was going on there?”  “I don’t know Cleff, but I did hear the Preacher holler about Virginia, so my guess is that must be a woman he liked a lot – ‘pears to have drove him a mite crazy,” posed Cliff.

“Either that, or mebbee that’s where he hails from, and he is missin’ it considerable.  I have heard tell of homesickness drivin’ people nuts,” said Cleff as they walked toward their cars.  “Guess we’ll be lookin’ for another preacher,” Cliff said.  “Mebbe not go with such a high strung one next time.”  “Yep,” said Cleff, “not a bad idee.”

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