It’s not everyday one hears a dynamic statement like this! Melvin was the ex-husband of Mother’s old friend, Maggie. A good man, he’d gone just a bit “off the rails” and Maggie, had reluctantly left him as a result of his increasingly fantical religious leanings. Mother and Daddy had long been faithful congregants of their church, only missing services if unable to attend. Melvin showed up to visit one day, not long after Daddy died. Mother wasn’t particularly anxious to visit with him but had no concerns about inviting him in for coffee, since the families had been friends for more than twenty years. She served him coffee, dreading what might be on his mind. She was wearing a faded jeans and a cotton shirt with the top button undone. Speaking pleansantly, he asked, “Would you mind buttoning your shirt and rolling down your sleeves?” She did as he asked, as though she’d been caught flaunting herself.
Melvin unfolded a hinged message board. Before starting his talk, he made another request. “Would you please uncross your legs?” She did. Back to the talk; on one side of the board was a crudely painted train, running off the rails in a mountain pass, on the other, a plane ascending toward a cross in the heavens. Melvin explained to Mother, that if she didn’t follow Christ, like the train, she was “off the rails” and headed for hell.
Without thinking she recrossed her legs. He caught her. “Uh! Uh! Uh!” Shamed, she uncrossed them. He continued. “If she followed Christ, she’d do like the plane and “go to Jesus.” She was anxious for this creepy talk to be over and have him on his way. He turned to stare out her front door, speaking in a monotone. “Did y’all know y’all had a snake in y’all’s tree?”
The hair stood up on the back of her neck!
He walked directly to the gun cabinet where Daddy’s loaded guns still stood, took one out, walked to the front door, shot the snake, returned the gun the its slot, and returned to his seat to finish Mother’s religious instruction.
She got her purse, told Melvin she had some business to attend to, instructing him to lock the door on his way out. He never visited again, his duty done.