(Author’s Note: The muses have been a messin’ with me of late, and so here’s the latest from the Wirebound Memo Book 90651 I always carry in my pocket, along, of course, with the pen of the day. You will find this, and the preceding 13 chapters, on the page marked: Religious Insanity. Signed chapbooks are also available for $10. Make check payable to “Charles McKelvy” and send order to: Charles McKelvy, The Dunery Press, P.O. Box 116, Harbert, MI 49115 USA. Shipping is free. Enjoy:)
By the Book(s)
If you are wondering where and when my fascination with religious insanity began, then you have to look no farther than a warm September day in the early 1950s in Wynnewood, Pennsylvania where the family was assembled at All Saints Episcopal Church for the baptism of my infant brother, Donald Adams.
As I said, it was a warm day, and even though I was a wee laddie at the time, I remember that it was a warm enough September day for my Uncle Jack to have put the top down on his convertible. I connected that obvious dot with the colored dots inside the church representing the red prayer books and blue hymnals in racks on the backs of the pews.
A voice told little Chachmo Kelmo (yeah, that was me) to transfer those color-coded books from the church and arrange them by color in Uncle Jack’s convertible: red prayer books on the front seat, and blue hymnals in the back. Hey, if you were in a wreck, you’d want to pray first and sing later.
I’m not sure who exactly it was who told me to do this, but someone, or something, did, possibly:
The Angel Gabriel?
The Walkin’ Dude?
Definitely not that annoying little insect who always admonished me to “let your conscience be your guide.”
No, it wasn’t Walt Disney or his Jiminy Cricket cartoon creature, but someone, or something, put it in my little noggin to fill my uncle’s convertible with every book in the church. And now that I think on it, I recall that Uncle Jack’s convertible was white. I could be wrong, but my mind’s eye says light as in white. So perhaps it was Polyhymnia, goddess of sacred poetry, who put it in my head to fill Uncle Jack’s light-colored car with red and blue books.
Or perhaps it was my nascent patriotism that spoke to me that day. I had certainly seen enough American flags by then, so perhaps I was trying to recreate one in my uncle’s car. Just doing my duty to God and my country.
And so, as the adults milled about smartly after the baptism of my baby brother, I systematically transferred the sacred texts from the sanctuary to the street-cruiser.
Uncle Jack’s two children—my cousins John and Anne or Bobo & Annie—watched in wide-eyed horror as I accomplished my Herculean task. Not only did Bobo & Annie refuse to help me, but also they warned me darkly of the dire punishment I was surely to suffer at the hands of our Scottish-American grandfather, who was among the milling adults in the church.
“I don’t care,” I said and off I went to complete my mission.
Certain that I was obeying a holy order, I worked with religious fervor to fill Uncle Jack’s convertible with red prayer books and blue hymnals.
What was I thinking?
Simple: Git ‘er done!
And git ‘er done I did, and, yes, I was rewarded for my efforts by a paddling by my stern grandfather and harsh words from Uncle Jack and an order from my father to put each and every book back where I had found it. And, later, of course, Mom gave me another paddling for good measure.
I was good with all that because I had completed my labors with the zeal of the little hellion I was.
Did I have a good time?
Was the blistered butt worth it?
Would I do it again?