Scratching His Head

Scratching his head and rubbing his
new buzz cut his fingers felt the rough
scar of an old accident. He was trans-
ported back forty-five years. Trying to
impress his country parishioners, the
wet-behind-the-ears preacher from the
big city volunteered to cut tobacco one
Friday morning. He got caught between
the rows of cut tobacco, panicked, duck-
ed down and rose up too soon scraping
his head on a cottering pin. Blood gush-
ed like a stuck pig; they roared in laugh-
ter as he emerged from the tobacco.
They wrapped his head in a towel from
the general store next door and sent him
on his way looking like Omar Sharif or
Peter O’Toole in Lawrence of Arabia
driving fast past the farms on his way to
the physician. He had to drive himself;
the tobacco had to be cut. “See you
Sunday, preacher,” they roared after
him and then said to one another he was
told later, “Did you notice he didn’t say
a bad word?” In the moment he drove a-
way he realized he wouldn’t have a long
tenure in the country church. No he didn’t.
He thought about what stories would be
told between then and Sunday, what he
would look like as he entered the pulpit
on Sunday and how much laughter there
would be at his expense. All his fears
came true and it was then he thought he
wouldn’t stay long in the rural, Kentucky
countryside. But he did.

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