Thursday, January 8, 2009
Billy Ray Barnwell here, okay I admit it, I lied, I made up the preceding chapter, it never happened, I invented it out of whole cloth, except of course the parts about Mr. Barber, those parts are true. I guess I should repent and ask for your forgiveness because, as Virgil Abernathy’s sister Darlene always says, there’s a special place in Hell for liars, boy howdy, I am discovering that writing is really hard, prolly about as hard as being a stand-up comedian, which everybody seems to think they are these days, oops, Mr. Morris would say it should be everybody seems to think he is or seems to think he or she is or maybe even, God help us, seems to think s/he is, a monstrosity foisted on us by the W.M.B.C.I.P.C.L.P. which stands for the Well-Meaning But Completely Idiotic Politically Correct Language Police, I made that up too, but sometimes you just have to follow the crowd, go with the flow, take the easy way out, vox populi and all that, I do know when to say whoever and when to say whomever and I will never ever say between you and I so Mr. Morris you can rest more or less in peace, by the way how are you and Mrs. Brockett doing up there or out there or wherever you two are, it’s hard to place you exactly, it’s not like you’re on vacation in Corpus Christi, speaking of which, South Padre Island has always seemed a little like Heaven to me, only without the snow-covered mountains and spectacular waterfalls, if you know what I mean, even though I once lost a pair of prescription sunglasses in the surf there, South Padre I mean, not Heaven, well to tell the truth places like Alaska or Banff or Lake Louise up in Canada seem even more like Heaven to me than South Padre does for the simple reason A I have never been to any of those places but I would like to go one day and B they already have the snow-covered mountains and the spectacular waterfalls, but when I went to South Padre and stood on the white sand beach it had a beauty all its own, wild and spare and untouched and completely invigorating, it made me think of that old hymn I will sing, yes I’ll sing the wondrous stooory of the Christ, of the Christ who died for me, who died for me, sing it with, sing it with the saints in glooory standing by, standing by the crystal sea, the crystal sea, most churches don’t sing songs like that any more, nowadays they sing what a lot of people call seven-eleven music, you know, where the song has seven words and you sing it eleven times and you never have to crack the hymnbook because the words are on a big screen up on the front wall, well South Padre may not have streets of gold but it certainly has the crystal sea. I can hear some of you thinking what’s the big deal it’s just the Gulf of Mexico, well if you don’t appreciate what God made down here how are you going to appreciate what He made up there, I think people who make it into Heaven prolly aren’t the type who would look around and say it’s just a crystal sea, it’s just streets of gold, it’s just the throne of God, so before you get that blah-zay please remember that the One sitting on that throne is the same One Who created the Gulf of Mexico, I think if people spent more time at places like South Padre instead of watching The Real World on MTV or listening to blue material on what is called The Comedy Channel the world would be a better place, this isn’t blue but did you hear the one about the preacher who asked his congregation one Sunday evening how many want to go to Heaven? and everybody’s hand shot up except for this one old man, well the preacher thought the old guy might be a little hard of hearing so he leaned out over the pulpit and asked a second time a little louder how many want to go to Heaven? and again every hand was raised except this one old man so the preacher left the platform and went and stood in the aisle right next to the pew where the old man was sitting and put his hand on the man’s shoulder and asked a third time how many want to go to Heaven? and the old man still didn’t raise his hand so the preacher said to him, Sir, I’m surprised, don’t you want to go to Heaven when you die? and the old man said well sure, preacher, when I die, but it sounded like you were gettin’ up a load tonight, now just between you and I that’s comedy and this is Billy Ray Barnwell signing off.