Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Charade (08/14/08)
TITLE: Boomer County's Finest
By Joanney Uthe
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My daddy’s sermons were a performance and I loved to watch them. He would hold the attention of the entire congregation with his animated illustrations. His clerical robe gave a hint of authenticity to the Bible stories he acted out. Every Sunday morning and Wednesday night, I sat mesmerized by my daddy, Pastor Tim Black.
Everywhere we went within Boomer County people would stop to talk to Daddy. If they didn’t know him from church, they knew him from the school board meetings and town council. A pillar of the community, people sought his opinion on everything from petty disputes and marriage woes to business dealings and financial problems. He would give them a gentle answer and a smile.
Twice a week we left Boomer County, leaving behind the church congregation, the school board and teachers, and the cares and worries of the friendly people. As soon as we crossed the county line, Daddy would sigh and we knew the real Tim Black would soon emerge. By the time we traveled an hour away to a remote place in the mountains to visit some of daddy’s friends we heard the negative feels Daddy harbored for each person he had encountered in Boomer County that week.
Daddy’s friends meet together every Saturday and Tuesday night to perform their own rituals. Unlike Daddy’s sermons, these rituals were not performances. They were serious business – business I wish I could leave behind. The evening would start with the men chanting around the fire. I never knew what the chants meant, only that they were eerie sounding. Before long, someone would kill and burn a small animal. Some of the group raised cats, dogs, goats, sheep and other animals for this purpose. I always felt sorry for the animals, but knew better than to express such to Daddy or anyone else in the group.
The animal sacrifices and reading the signs contained within them frightened me less than the orgy that followed. I knew girls who had to stay in the group village, away from their families, if they became pregnant as a result. Some families moved to the village so people wouldn’t ask the whereabouts of their daughter. Terror paralyzes me when I think about the result of those pregnancies. No doctor would be consulted. No birth certificate issued. Orgy babies belonged to the group and would suffer the same fate as the cats and dogs.
The nightmares that plague me as an adult mirror the occult activity of the three years when we lived in Boomer County. I tried to forget what happened in that mountain village all those years ago but the memories resurface at night. I’ve always slept with a light on, but it wasn’t until I met the Light of the World that the nightmares subsided. I wish Daddy had known Christ when he was preaching in that little church in Boomer County, or that he had met the Lover of his Soul before he died.
My dad’s sermons were a performance. Just like the rest of his life in Boomer County, they were nothing but a charade. I am choosing to break my life of the charades that I play to protect myself from that time. I still have nightmares and occasional paralysis of fear when I see or hear something triggers memories of that experience. I am working through these things with the Great Counselor and I know that through His Grace and with His Power, I will survive.
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