I must have been feeling spiritual that day I talked my two little sisters into helping me with a project.. We were at Grandma’s house where mother did her weekly wash since water was plentiful.
The spring branch ran from under the hill, and flowed down a short distance into the creek. While Mother went about washing the dirt and grim out of our clothes, we stayed busy doing what most little girls would do. Well, maybe our case was different, but that is how my story begins.
Grandma was known for having several families of cats. All lived out side of course, and they were forever at our feet. I don’t know what possessed me, but I decided the day was pretty enough, the water the right temperature and I had everything I needed.
“Let’s have a baptizing!” I announced to Linda and Martha my two accomplices. (My two little sisters who were game for anything I came up with.)
“OK”, they said in unison. They had been to a baptizing, we all had. We knew what they did at baptizings. (They didn't flinch with any kind of thought that they might be my candidates.) We were church goers, and lived before the day of baptismal pools inside the church. So when sinners turned saints, the next step was to go to a nearby creek and baptize them to seal their salvation. That’s the way I understood it anyway.
Off they trotted on their errand, and momentarily came back with a cat in each arm. Well I wasn’t planning on baptizing 4, but whatever…
I didn’t have to pull off my shoes, I was barefoot anyway, so I stepped into the branch at the edge of the creek where the water was a little more than ankle deep.. While they stood on the bank holding our candidates for baptism, we sang a song, and I offered a prayer. The girls stood by in obedience and waited for me to proceed.
Linda held one of her cats over the water to my waiting hands. I positioned my hand just right, lightly around the cat’s neck, and said the proper words “In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, I baptize you” (I don’t remember giving him a name, but to make it realistic, I probably did). I forced the cat down into the water and waited. I thought that was what I was supposed to do, so while Linda and Martha looked on, I held him under. He squirmed some, but shortly I turned loose. I expected the cat to come up shaking off the excess water and run for his life, but instead I stood watching my good intentions float on down the branch into the creek.
For several minutes, we all stood, mouths dropped open in horror that something had gone wrong. We looked toward the creek, then at each other. It was moments before we could speak. And then, we made a pact not to tell anyone, and kept that promise until time made young women out of us, and we forgot we promised not to tell.