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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Christian Baptism (10/18/07)

TITLE: Feudin' Baptism
By Cassie Memmer


“Harmon, I think it’s time we be babtized. We’re gettin’ older and we need to be goin’ to
church. Make amends.”

“Church? Make amends? Even with them thievin’ McCoys?”

“Yes, Harmon. Even them ol’ coots.”

“WhooHoo, Clara Mae, thet’s some idea ya’ got thar.” He knocked the pipe he’d stolen
off the McCoys’ porch onto the tabletop, spilling tobacco ashes. “Stop the feudin’ with
the McCoys?”

“Not jest stoppin’, Harmon, but endin’ the feud. The circuit preacher’ll be ‘round next
week. Ya’ want to make things right with the Lord, don’t ya’?” She threw kindling in the
stove to start supper.

“I guess you’re right. Do I have to take a bath? Wear anything special?”

“No, Harmon, we’re gettin’ babtized in the river. You’ll get yer bath. Jest be sure ya’
wear your longjohns under yer overalls.”

“Chester, today at the general store, I heard the Hatfields is gettin’ baptytized Sunday
down at Tug Fork River. They’s turnin’ a new leaf.”

“Yer joshin’, Thelma Lou! That ol’ Hatfield cain’t never change his ways. He’s evil
through and through and his woman’s worse than him.”

Chester’s better half tasted the rabbit stew she was stirring for their dinner. “Yum. This
tame rabbit you stole from the McCoys shure is tasty.”

“If’n Hatfield gets religion, he cain’t come after me any more for taking ‘em either,” he
laughed. “I think we should go and watch come Sunday. You know, kinda egg ‘em...”
he cleared his throat, “I mean, spur ‘em on.”

Sunday morning both the Hatfields and the McCoys entered the church’s door for the
first time. They sat on opposite sides eyeing each other. “What’s the McCoys doin’
here?” hissed Harmon. “Them rascals have never been here afore.” Clara Mae patted
his hand. He settled down, determined to listen to the preacher.

Preacher Finley finished his dandy sermon. “Well, folks, now we’ll all go down to the
Tug Fork. We got us a baptism service to perform.”

Everyone left the pews and walked the short distance to the river’s edge. As they
gathered around, the preacher announced, “Hatfields come on down to the river.” The
crowd gasped and whispered to each other as they watched Clara Mae and Harmon
make their way.

The McCoys also walked to the river’s edge, grinning, displaying their mostly bare
gums. “Hey, Hatfields. You gonna stop feudin’ with us?”

”Yes,” said Harmon, scowling.

Preacher Finley tugged on Harmon’s sleeve. “Come on, Harmon. Don’t pay them no
attention. Let’s get the Lord’s work done.”

So Harmon and Clara Mae stepped into the river along with the preacher and they
waded out to waist deep water. The preacher dunked Clara Mae first. She came up
with arms flailing, coughing and sputterng. Finley then laid his hands on Harmon and
just as he was about to dunk the sinner, Chester McCoy bellered. “Hatfield, that pig I
got off your place last week was sure delicious.”

“Ignore him, Harmon,” encouraged the preacher.

Harmon’s hands became fists. If he’d had teeth he could have snapped a nail in two.
But he said nothing

Chester continued. “Yeah, and the rabbit too! What you feed ‘em? Sure makes good

“Shut up, McCoy!” Harmon seethed.

“Now, now,” cooed the preacher.

“Hatfield, no more makin’ or sellin’ moonshine,” Chester whooped. “Can I have your
still?” He slapped his leg, laughing.

Harmon shook himself loose from the preacher and scrambled through the water to get
to Chester McCoy.

“Wait, wait, Harmon, ya ain’t baptized yet!” the preacher pleaded.

But the man who made his living by making moonshine had forgotten the baptism. He
only wanted to get his hands around McCoy’s skinny neck and throttle the sniveling

The preacher, not wanting to lose his one opportunity to get the Hatfield household
baptized, grabbed up a hand full of water and threw it at the top of Harmon’s head. It
ran into his eyes as he chased after Chester.

“Come back here, you scoundrel,” Harmon screeched at McCoy.

“You can’t chase me, Harmon. The feud’s over for your side, remember. You got

“No, I didn’t get dunked.”

“But you got sprinkled! It’s all the same.”

“Is not!”

“Sure enough is, Harmon,” he hollered behind him. "You're baptytized whether you like it
or not!”

So was Harmon really baptized? It all depends on who you ask. Harmon says no. The
McCoys say yes. Dunking or sprinkling? Which is right? And so the feud continues

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This article has been read 1377 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Lynda Schultz 10/26/07
I can tell you the answer to the question, but that's not the point, is it! You did a great job at making your point. Super voice and a delightful story.
Joanne Sher 10/27/07
Too fun and delightful. Just creative and a hoot.
Betty Castleberry10/27/07
What fun! Being part of at least one of the McCoy families, this held my attention. I like that you left the answer up in the air at the end.
Laury Hubrich 10/27/07
Sure didn't see that ending coming! Great story!
Verna Cole Mitchell 10/28/07
Delightful story--I always wondered if the feudin' ever ended. I loved your ending here.
Phyllis Inniss10/30/07
Quite a vivid picture you drew there with the feuding by the river. The surprise ending was truly amusing.
Gregory Kane10/30/07
A great touch of local colour. I pity the poor preacher!
I think you got yourself confused about who stole from whom: in the second section you have the McCoys boasting that they had stolen a rabbit from the McCoys. But all in all a great story with a truly comical ending
Jan Ackerson 10/30/07
Good job with the dialect--an amusing story.

I got lost a few times, trying to figure out who was speaking. A few dialog tags or other identifying sentences to go along with the dialogue would help a bit.

This is creative, clever, and highly entertaining.
william price10/30/07
Very entertaining. A lil struggle with who was speaking, but the lively writing and unique voice kept my interest throughout. Glad you're writing again. God bless.
Sheri Gordon11/01/07
Congratulations on your EC. This is really good. What a clever blending of two old feuds. Brilliant.