Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Bold (emotionally) (08/30/07)
TITLE: Jack Parrish
By Katherine Kimbley
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Just when he was getting himself calmed down, and I was sure it was about time go home for some of mama’s best Sunday fixin’s, the doors swung wide open. Now, everyone in the county knows better than to interrupt Preacher Davis in the middle of a sermon. You might as well take a midnight stroll down the riverbank during gator mating season. Didn’t seem to matter none to this fella, though. He swung that door open wide and loud, and then stood there for a few minutes, like he didn’t know where he was going. But we all knew exactly where he was going. Preacher Davis had told us so lots of times.
You see, this wasn’t no stranger. We all knowed a lot about Jack Parrish. He was famous in these here parts, but not in no Billy-Ray-Cyrus-type of way. No, he was famous for what he done up in Jacksonville. A few years back, the paper was filled up with pictures of his face. Story said he used to be a high school teacher at one of them fancy private schools. He was one of them real brainy types – college and all. Daddy said he taught English, which just goes to show that just about anyone can speak this here language.
Anyway, mama would never tell me exactly what that paper said, but Jimmy Forrester from the hardware store, told me he done some really bad things to a whole bunch of pretty girls. Mama said it ain’t right for me to know about them things. All I know is once he got out of prison, there wasn’t one person who wanted his high-falutin’ criminal mug around their town. Ended up, he moved here. Don’t talk to no one and don’t go to church neither. Guess that’s why Preacher Davis don’t mind using him in his preaching so much. In fact, Jack Parrish was the only person I knew who already had a non-refundable ticket to hell.
Anyway, here he stood, back of the church, just looking around. No one said nothing for a real long time. Finally, Jack yelled out in a real proper voice, “Preacher Davis, sir, I would like to be baptized!” Guess he didn’t know Jesus only hears folks after they walk down the aisle.
I ain’t never seen a man’s face turn so red as Preacher Davis’. “How dare you bring your filth into this church! Don’t you know this is the house of the Lord?”
“Preacher, I’ve been studying the scriptures, and I am filthy no longer. Washed clean by the blood of Jesus Christ and forgiven for all sin. Now baptized with the Holy Spirit, I wish to be baptized with water.”
“Just who do you think you are? Do you really think a righteous God would forgive a man who has committed such atrocities? Your arrogance and boldness disgust me! Be gone with you…you…you, demon!”
“If you won’t baptize me, surely someone will!” he cried. Anyone?”
It felt like hours before another word was said. It sure surprised the heck outta me to hear them words coming from my daddy’s mouth. “I will.”
Now, to this day, I don’t know whether my daddy did what he did just to get under the preacher’s skin, or on account of the fact that he was on fire for the Lord too. But I’ll never forget the look on Preacher Davis’ face as Daddy put his arm around Jack’s shoulders and walked him down to the river. Years later, my daddy said this was his favorite ever day at church.
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