Five Ninety Five
Long ago I was on Interstate 80 heading west across a Wyoming winters night. Patchy squalls of horizontally blowing snow created these moments when the headlights were obscured by the white flow in a dazzling screen of moving white dots some across the road, most strait at me as though I was jumping to light speed, tire hum and road noise muted by the snow. An instant later the blowing snow would be gone and the silver moonlit high plains would open up for ever in front of me, punctuated only rarely by a lonely farmsteads yellow barn light, miles away across the plains.
On nights like these I would listen to the radio, AM radio, FM just couldn’t penetrate the darkness of the high plains. On this night I picked up an AM station broadcasting out of Las Vegas, one moment clear, as if the conversation was in Fords cab, the next fading out into the whine and howl of static and night.
There was a comedy routine playing, the comic was poking fun at the stereotypical Southern, Bible Thumping, Old Testament spewing, Baptist. In a deep drawn out drawl meant to simultaneously strike fear and overcome the hand to wallet reflex. It went something like this.
Friends, our CHURCH!, Gawds holy church is in dire need, that’s why today I have a special offer for all you true believers out there in the night. I’m askin yew to open your hearts and wallets and shed the light of hope on this ministry so we can continue doing our LAWDS work to save the desperate damned sinners of this world.
If yew send me just five ninety five, today and today only I will send you, your very own, plastic baby Jesus for your car dashboard. And today and today only if yew send me just four dollas more I’ll send you his beautiful loving mother Mary, to hold her sweet baby Jesus and protect yew and yours as you drive the highways and byways of this great Christian land we live in.
The snow squall closed in, the signal faded out, leaving me to the rhythm of my wipers and the low hum of the heater fan. The rest of the routine lost to the night and the wind. In that moment drifted away in my own thoughts I wondered…..
Why does their Gawd always seem short of cash?