Saturday, April 21, 2012

EXCERPT: Christ Walks in Blessed Springs

 Sometimes a photograph inspires a writer...

“Christ Walks in Blessed Springs”
Eric Arvin

Blessed Springs, KY – Yesterday afternoon the calm of a spring day was shattered by events most likely never before seen. The 50- foot statue of Jesus Christ that blessed Blessed Springs from Blessed Hill was reportedly struck by a freak bolt of lightning and came to life, after which it headed to the community below with large, indiscriminant steps.
The statue, its arms spread wide in acceptance, was erected in the early 1980s, a gift from the Blessed School of Performing Religious Arts. “Christ walks among us,” the Reverend Beedy was heard to quite prophetically proclaim during the statue’s dedication.
Bets Hardy, 60, an eyewitness to the lightning strike and the confusion that then ensued, watched in wonder from her trailer below the hill.
“It was the darndest thing I ever saw!” she said. “The sky just clouded over real sudden like, and then a bolt just hit Jesus right on the noggin. My mother-in-law, Emma Jane, said it was like the hand of God done slapped Christ on the forehead. Well, I don’t know northing about that, but I can say that when I got up this morning I sure as the Dickens wasn’t expecting the Second Coming! And, you know, I’m not one to question how the Lord chooses to reappear, but he sure didn’t look how I was expecting he might. He was so tall and big!”
According to Mrs. Hardy and other eyewitnesses, the statue of Jesus then rumbled down the sloping hill, casting quite a shadow as he came, and destroying a prized campground reserved for a band of Boy Scouts.
“You should have seen the folk scatter,” explained Burl Hadley, 45, who watched the townsfolk from his pick-up at the stoplight. “Big, burly lumberjacks screaming like little girls, and little girls…screaming like little girls, too. But I guess that’s their right. Anyway, it was a hoot! And you know the funny thing? Jesus didn’t trip once as he’s a-coming down that hill. That’s no easy feat, my friend, let me tell you! I’ve been up there drinking plenty of times with my hunting buddies, and we fell on our asses plenty.”
Reportedly, as Jesus made his way into town, the more pious members of Blessed Springs Baptist Church could be seen bowing in prayer and worship to their lord. At one point, it was noted that Main Street became so congested by the worshippers that those caught in their vehicles had to jump out of them and head for the sidewalk for fear of being stepped on by the Christ. “G-d d-mmit!” a man was heard to cry as his new Festiva was demolished. “I meant that literally!”
A truant group of high schoolers seemed less impressed by the spectacle than most. “It was cool,” sophomore Lucas Goiter, 17, unenthusiastically stated. “But the effects were kind of weak. I definitely think Spielberg could have done it better.”
“Or that guy who did ‘Independence Day’,” another of the group, Buddy Friendly, 18, offered. The group agreed with this assessment wholeheartedly.
Still, the more pious of those watching put themselves dangerously in harm’s way as they prostrated themselves in the Christ’s path. They offered prayers and thanks and began to sing hymns until the unthinkable at last happened. The first to be squashed was the church social chair, Rebecca Vancour, 54, as she hit a particularly high note in her hymn.
When asked what Mrs. Vancour’s messy demise at the feet of Jesus meant, the Reverend Beedy replied, “Clearly, she didn’t have the faith that is required of us as Christians. Our Lord has no tolerance for doubt. That’s why the church is here.”
Another witness to Rebecca Vancour’s unexpected and sudden death who asked not to be named became an atheist on the spot. “Jesus is supposed to raise the dead,” she exclaimed, “not raze the dead!”
When it was clear that the Christ would not be deterred by anyone or anything, most of the townsfolk stood to the side and let him pass, many noting that he was a particularly wobbly lord. One man, a town disorderly named Pete Blue (originally from Michigan), who had long been known to have suicidal tendencies and depression, threw himself onto the pavement directly in front of the approaching savior, but was stepped right over without the occurrence of any more bloodshed.
The police arrived on the scene soon after Pete Blue’s third attempt at suicide-by-holy-road-kill and put a stop to it, much to the intoxicated man’s dismay. Chief Harland Parkins, a 5 year veteran of the force, was on the phone with Mayor Huey Hinkle, vacationing south of the border in Tennessee, as they tried to find a solution to the Christ crises.
“Well,” Parkins said. “We were just going to try and trip him or something. You know, maybe do a car pile-up like they do in those monster truck shows. I saw a real big one last time I was in Louisville. That might have worked real good. Being as big and, you know, stone as he is, it’d probably be real hard for him to stand up again. But then old Reverend Beedy said he had a problem with that.”
“You can’t put a hit on Jesus!” the Reverend Beedy exclaimed.  “He gave his life so that you might live.”
“What? And now he wants it back?” the Chief countered.
In the end, the Chief and Mayor Hinkle decided it was best that they not put the Christ down. “It might piss off the evangelicals,” Parkins admitted. “But then, what doesn’t?”
On Plainview Street, at the Hawsome-Dawson Apartment complex, a large gathering of revelers watched from their patios and decks, drinking beer and grilling out as the Christ passed them by. When asked if they were celebrating the Second Coming, Robert Lawrence, a twenty-something in the pharmaceutical business, said, “No, man. We’re just watching the dude take a stroll. I don’t blame him for wanting to get out of this town. Dude’s been on that hill forever. Way to go, big guy! The cool thing is, he doesn’t give a crap about all these folk trying to stop him or praying at his feet. I mean, look at his face: he’s stoic. Hasn’t said a word.”
It was a group of concerned farmers who finally managed to stop the marauding messiah. The townsfolk still followed Him, pious or powerless.
“Something had to be done,” stated Virgil Gunnerson from the jail cell where he and his fellow farmers are being held. “The government wasn’t going to do anything. With all due respect to Mr. Beedy, I’ll worry about Heaven later; I’ve got corn to grow and children to feed. Jesus was heading straight for my blessed fields.”
The group of six is being held for their own safety, according to Chief Parkins. They’ve received death threats from the angry Christian mob.
“I’ve always been a fan of Jesus,” Virgil continued. “But this time he went too far! We did what was necessary. We took the dynamite Roger Corley had been saving in his shed to get rid of those critters that were dogging his fields, and we blew Jesus back to Heaven. That’s all we did.”
“It was probably for the best,” Bets Hardy stated at the scene. “You know it wouldn’t have been an easy life here on earth as a big stone idol. I mean, look what happened the first time around. Hasn’t he been through enough?”
When the smoke cleared from the blast, Jesus-parts lay strewn about Roger Corley’s field. Reverend Beedy says they’ll most likely be preserved as holy relics. He just needs to find a place to keep them since the Christ plowed through the middle of the church. He’s also interested in the Corley farm as a place for pilgrimage. “Whenever Christ dies, there we’ll be,” he stated.
Parkins says it’s unlikely charges will be filed against the Sacrilegious Six, as the farmers are now being called by the outraged band of Christians. “We’ve got our hands full,” said the chief. “Bringing those fellas up on charges is the last thing on our agenda. Besides, we can’t find any of the paperwork that might require. Jesus’ left foot destroyed the office building as he made that awkward turn down Plainview Street.”
The question on everyone’s mind now is, Will Blessed Springs ever recover?
“Of course we will!” town councilwoman Vicki Hubbard, 38, said. “We’re like Lazarus. Remember? He was the young fella that died and was then touched by the Lord and rose. I always wondered how exactly the Lord touched him. But that’s just between me and you.”
The town council has assured everyone that reconstruction will begin immediately, and they would appreciate any free help they could get. Already there have been many people volunteer to help in the repairs of the bank and the elementary school, but the Blessed Springs Baptist Church is having a tougher time, especially with the brand new statue of Mother Mary just behind the alter.
There’s also talk and speculation from neighboring communities of what to do with their own statuary to avoid a similar devastation. The mayor of Trembly City, just 20 miles from Blessed Springs, is recommending to his town council that they take down the musket-carrying statue of Davy Crocket, “just in case.”

from The Blessed Springs Gazette, May 10, 2008.