By Jack Cawthon 2006
I was once enrolled in The Payroll with an older woman who was always reminding me in a motherly fashion that an idle mind is the Devil's workshop. We both knew that our bosses had been deputized by the Prince of Darkness and that I was fast becoming a master craftsman in the Bottomless Pit.

That was another time and place. In later years my mind has been fully engaged in writing these thought provoking, intellectually stimulating, and life changing columns for the Herald. But, alas, just recently, as my mind was completely absorbed in my column preparations, the Herald shut down for several days. Once again, I found that I was idling along and drifting into that dark nether region.

I realized that the hoofed one would soon be on my trail, so to revive my mental shutdown, which some older folks call a "senior moment," but which I more up to date call a "Microsoft glitch," I let the little scan bar in my head float across as it does to clear a cyber mind and when it had finished I found myself in Big Puf. (Big Puf is not usually known as an oasis of the mind, but neither am I known as computer competent.)

Always a big summer event in the Tri-Holler region is the huge tent revival of the Reverend Les Pedeza and his rollicking, galloping Gospel Crusade, featuring the dulcet voices of the breezy Cyclone sisters who have shown many a man the way to heaven. Also, on the circuit this year was little Emil Finklemyer, the six-year-old "baby evangelist," who legend has it began speaking in unknown tongues the moment he emerged from his mother's womb. To top it all off, was the Swinging Pearly Gates Quartet, consisting of five members of gospel harmony. (I know a quartet is supposed to consist of four members, but if you have noticed, most have five, including the piano player who sings along. I just report this stuff; you figure it out.)

I was able to interview Reverend Les and found that he believes firmly that we are living in the final days. Our country has been taken by idols, he declared. I assumed he was speaking of a frenzy for material possessions, but instead Les emphasized that it was the television spectacle called American Idol, in which appeared the Antichrist, he said, in the form of an Englishman. "Everyone knows them British still smart from taking a licking years ago and they want to gain revenge by leading this country into the hands of Satan," he told me with considerable heat.

I felt he was giving the British too much credit for leading anyone anywhere, as George Bush seems to have led them by their stately halls into Iraq, but I let that smolder.

I wanted Les' opinion of the school board and ACLU fight in Harrison County about the picture of Jesus hanging in the Bridgeport school. He surprised me by telling me that he was qualified in matters of the law, as he had receive a law degree from Pikes Peak University. I hadn't heard of that institution, so I asked him what the requirements for a degree entailed. "Be able to go online, do email, and send $300," he said proudly.

He further explained that he wanted a law degree to go with his ministry so that he might appeal to lawyers. He felt that if something isn't done soon, the Devil will have so many that there won't be room for ordinary sinners and he might do like the prisons when over crowded: release them back into the population for recycling.

He had a novel legal approach for the Harrison board: require the ACLU prove that the picture is really of Jesus. There are no photographs, and no one really knows what he looked like. Even a school official said the picture was hung to cover graffiti on the wall, which would make it not a religious icon, but a wall covering. Les is willing to make his legal talent free if the school board should invite him to its fight.

Les was in a hurry to prepare his Chevy conversion van for the night's services. "Never know who I might convert in it," he winked.

Ushers were preparing washtubs for the nightly collections. Les has ambition to have his own television program. He also has ambitions to have a mansion on earth, before heaven, along Yuppie Lake, including a few chariots, if not of fire, then of a godly proportions.

I hope my efforts prove that with the restart of the Herald my mind once more has become what it once was, and that I am beyond tinkering in the Devil's workshop, although, I must admit, there are some wonderful tools provided, including a typewriter for my use, and loads of computers, all belonging in their natural habitat.

Hur Herald from Sunny Cal
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