Life in the Shadows

    The subject of Minister Easter Westminster’s sermon next Sunday will be, “How to File Your Taxes Without Losing Your Soul.” The first 20 visitors will receive a free copy of the book, “Render Unto Caesar.” Tax forms will be provided for all.

    Garton Purby found a pet groundhog yesterday and will hold it in his garage for one week. The rodent appears to be a young male, walks with a slight roll, and is wearing an Ohio State Buckeyes sweater. Purby says people shouldn’t keep groundhogs if they’re not going to take care of them.

    Ethel Mayberry wishes to know if there’s anything in the Bible against eating roadkill. She says if there is, John Bleau is going to hell.

    Mr. Blue responds thus: “When I’m the one who ran over the possum, it’s not roadkill—it’s hunting.”

    Curly Dowd thinks John would have better luck with a gun. “A lot of game never goes on the roads,” he says.

    John Bleau says, “Curly Dowd was born breech and stayed that way.” Isn’t it sweet how the three next-door neighbors get along so well?

    Joseph Ballard Sr. reports that every year, his back curves more, his neck loses muscular definition, and his head slumps further toward the floor. According to Ballard, “The top of my ears are already even with my shoulders. If God gives me another ten years, my head will be so low I’ll have to undo my zipper to spit.”

    Rocks and boulders are so steadfast that we seldom appreciate the work they do, night and day, in heat and cold, rain and snow, without complaint. To all the under-appreciated rocks and boulders of Little Rindle Creek and Sanderling’s Run that buck the flow, making the water sing, filling the town with that delightfully plishy swish sound, we thank you. It’s not easy being a rock and some of the best rocks in the land dwell in Sycamore Shadows, though we seldom notice the music they create until we leave the valley and feel stunned by the silence. Some have called the sound white noise, but I disagree. The sound is a symphony, supported by birds and crickets, echoing through our lives. Surrounded on three sides by flowing water, we live in a metaphor.

    Cleb Bowman says, “All that for a [expletive deleted] creek!”

    Adelphie Dowd rode a bus to Kentucky last week to participate in a candlelight vigil and spent most of the evening walking back and forth in the sleet singing hymns. “My candle kept going out, my nose ran like a hydrant, and I ruined a brand new pair of shoes from Ballop’s—then the governor delayed the execution,” Mrs. Dowd told me. “When I heard about the reprieve, I was so angry I could have killed the man myself. All that indignation for nothing.”

    Everyone wonders which lucky person will be the inaugural burial in the new cemetery, Ponder Gardens. Doc Ghesslet says he can’t think of any likely candidates. “It might be a while,” he tells me.

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