e-mail me


PITB,small cover (Custom) (2).JPG

Power in the Blood

There were about 25 people in the church, excluding our party. An old upright piano sat in one front corner. A heavy woman sat on its bench. A tall, skinny man with a guitar stood next to the piano. There was a scarred and worn pulpit in the middle, and behind the lectern there were four wooden boxes. The minister was a man of about 50 with a protruding stomach hanging over his belt. He was dressed in a pair of chinos and a blue shirt with the top button unbuttoned and the sleeves rolled up. His hair was combed over from the side, obviously to hide his almost-bald head, and he kept pushing his glasses back up the bridge of his nose. It looked as if his mouth was a slit because his lips were so thin. I thought he was probably deficient in B vitamins. Everyone called him Brother Herman.

The musicians took their places and began a rousing rendition of I Saw the Light. People were singing along while clapping their hands. I wasn't familiar with the song, but I would have never guessed it had so many verses. The crowd responded with more fervor during each successive verse. Soon they were lifting their hands up to heaven and swaying with the music.

Greta went back to the boxes and pulled out more rattlers. They were so large that I wondered how she held them all. The music continued to pound, and the people danced on. I was trying to remember the country singer who did the comic song about snake handlers. I couldn't remember the artist, but some of the words came back to me. Not wanting to appear disrespectful, I stifled a giggle. Looking up at Greta, I saw that she had all these snakes up around her head. I suddenly thought that Medusa must have looked just like that, and I started to giggle in earnest. Sassy punched me with her elbow.  "Be still", Lettie Sue, she whispered.

The music seemed to be winding down, and nobody had been bitten yet. They slowly began to put the snakes back into the boxes. Taking their seats, the people got out handkerchiefs and wiped sweat from their brows. The minister gave a final prayer and thanked everyone for coming. I noticed he hadn't handled any snakes himself that night, and nobody had drunk strychnine.

Cover design by Jonah Lloyd, SterlingHouse Publisher

frontpage hit counter