Odoriferous Founders

Independence Day falling on a Sunday in 2010, Minister Easter Westminster of the Church of the Lost Sheep invited Curly Dowd of the Sons of the Battle of Little Rindle to address the congregation on some spiritual matter relating to the founders of our great nation. Printed below is a partial transcript of Curly’s speech, presented to a packed house: 

“When pondering life in yonder days, before the bees brought honey, when swifts had few chimneys, and rubber-lipped carp had yet to swim our streams, certain iconic things come to mind: reading ‘Pilgrim’s Progress’ by candlelight, butter churns, dovecots, spinning wheels and fairy tales, pots cooking on open fires, panty hose, wigs, wool underwear, sheep. One seldom thinks of soap, however, and if we could travel back to those hallowed days, we would understand why. We would discover that our founders were rather stinky.

“Did they have soap, you ask? They did, only they didn’t know what to do with it. Practical application frequently lags behind invention. The little soap they used for washing sheep before shearing could hardly retard the accumulation of unused product. Being frugal, they made soap each week, setting it aside, watching the piles grow larger and larger until some of them—if we would believe the reports—reached the height of a three-story building! Soap, one of mankind’s great achievements, made from a combination of…”

“This is the Lord’s house!” someone yelled. “Speak only of spiritual things.”

“Verily, verily,” Curly answered. “Are not all men created equal? I ask you, brethren, shall we judge a man by the odor of his armpits?”

“Amen,” said someone near the front. Minister Westminster cringed.

“I say nay! Nay and double-dog nay! Have our souls an odor? They do not! Many a man who stinketh will rest in the bosom of Abraham while sweet-smelling dandies suffer eternal damnation. But whether heaven is odor-free or smelleth of ambrosia, here on earth, good brethren, folks should use soap. And yet, when I leave this fair hamlet, frequenting retail establishments in other towns…”

“Shop in the Shadows!” hollered Lloyd Lloyd Chalmers, Hibb’s Department Store. Westminster prayed for deliverance.

“On the rare occasions I shop outside the Shadows, many of the people I meet smell like founding fathers, especially on the first of the month. It should not be. In times of ignorance, people smelled, but now is the time for holy hygiene, the time for Christians everywhere to proudly and regularly bathe, not on rooftops as Bathsheba nudily bathed, but in the comfort of our own homes, giving glory by pleasant smells.

A strange look appeared on Curly’s face, followed by a smile. Westminster held his breath.

“Let us consider Bathsheba for a moment…”

The thought of Curly speaking on Bathsheba was too much for Minister Westminster to bear; he directed the choir to rise and sing the patriospiritual medley “Yankee Doodle Glory,” drowning out Mr. Dowd’s speech and ending his career as a guest speaker at the Church of the Lost Sheep.

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