The preacher and the vandals
Wednesday, October 30, 2013 5:00 PM
LINDEN, Texas - I loved that old preacher man. We worked together as carpenters in 1951, just before my Uncle called me to serve him. You know, Uncle Sam, with a "greetings" letter from the president saying, "Greetings. You are hereby ordered to report for duty ..."
"Preacher man" was a Baptist pastor, who worked as a church pastor for a small country church outside San Angelo, Texas, in the early 1950s. We were building an apartment complex, and Preacher Man was not the best carpenter on the job, but he was the most fun guy to work with. He was witty, a terrific sense of humor, and of course a good talker. He could take a joke, and knew how to reciprocate. Leaving him behind to go into the Army was a big time downer.
Like all of us on the job, he brought his lunch in a big lunch box with thermos bottle filled with slightly warm coffee. Unlike the rest of us, he always had a hard boiled egg in his lunch box. He would crack the hard boiled egg on the side of his head and laugh. Everyday, all of us would witness that ritual, because he made it look so much fun.
One day Earl and Buddy switched his hard boiled egg with a raw one. There were many onlookers that day when he smashed the raw egg on his noggin. What a mess that made. "I'm going to kill that woman," he shouted. Later, I told him we did it, not his wife. I know that, he said, because I pack my own lunch box.
He lived a mile out of a small town near San Angelo, on a small acreage he called a farm. He did have a large garden and chickens. He also had a carload of teenagers who drove up to his house every Saturday night, who honked their car horn and yelled "Wake up Preacher Man." Then they would speed off on his long driveway and head for town. What can I do to stop them from doing that? he asked us one day at lunchtime.
Buddy had a plan. (Buddy always had a plan.) He told him to get a long 2-by-12 board, drive about fifty long nails through it, then bury it in his sandy driveway, nails up. So before dark Saturday he set the trap for the brats and then waited to see what happened when they arrived.
The car slowly turned into his driveway, came to the house, when one of the boys hollered, "Hey, we have a flat." Another one yelled, "all our tires are flat. Let's get out of here before the cops show up." Down the driveway they went, four flat tires, and headed for town like a turtle. What a sound that made, sounded like a destruction derby, said Preacher Man. Sunday morning he heard about the incident in church. Everybody in town was talking about the dumb boys that drove on four flat tires. Not only did it ruin the tires, it ruined the wheels also.
The pranksters knew when they were beaten. They were not mean kids, just mischievous, so they never bothered the preacher again. We figured they were afraid of the consequences from pestering the witty and fun loving preacher. I could write a book from knowing and listening to the stories told by that man. Hey, you will probably read more about him later on. I think God threw away the mold after making that Preacher Man.
The Baptist preacher had been invited by a church family for lunch one Sunday. The preacher liked fried chicken. He was hoping for fried chicken. He asked the young boy, what are we having for lunch Sunday? Without thinking or blinking, the boy said "old crow." How do you know that, asked the preacher? "Well, I heard daddy tell momma we are having the old crow for lunch Sunday," said the lad.
Roy Bale can be reached via email at email@example.com.