Papadaddy’s Mindfield

It’s a Sign

A conversation with two small friends

By Clyde Edgerton

In a recent Star News letter to the editor, the writer suggested that the presence of a “Thank You, Jesus!” sign in a certain front yard was the reason that every tree in that yard stood tall after Hurricane Florence passed through — while many trees elsewhere had been blown down.

I was walking through my neighborhood with a couple of moles. They are blind of course, but they have smart phones that warn them if they are about to walk into something. Their names are Willy and Scottie. Smart moles — schooled in religion. They live under different yards in my neighborhood. They were talking about the issue.

Willy: What about somebody who wanted to buy a “Thank You, Jesus!” sign, but couldn’t find one because they were all sold out?

Scottie: Their trees would be saved because they thought about it in their mind.

Willy: Are you sure?

Scottie: Well . . . I don’t know for sure. Maybe the leaves would have just got blown off, but the trees would have stayed stood up, I’ll betcha. Or something like that.

Willy: Do you think the people over at your yard will get a “Thank you, Jesus!” sign?

Scottie: Oh, they already did — because they lost some trees, then read that letter to the editor. They got six signs. They put one in the trunk of their car, and one in their truck, one on their boat, and one in front of the dog house.

Willy: That’s just four.

Scottie: Oh, and one in the backyard. And one on top of the house.

Willy: On top of the house?

Scottie: Lightning.

Willy: And I’ll bet you if you take care of poor people and do unto others as you would have them do unto you, like Jesus said, then that means your trees won’t get blowed down, too.

Scottie: No. No. No. It just matters that they got that sign in your yard
. . . or in their car or back pocket. It don’t matter what you do. It’s like churches. No church trees got blowed down during the hurricane because of all those signs that churches put in their front yards.

Willy: Oh . . . you sure?

Scottie: Yep. God didn’t let any trees get blowed down in any church yards.

Willy: What if they did get blowed down?

Scottie: It’d be because they didn’t have the right sign up. The only thing that matters is if you got the right sign up. It’s all about signs. It’s like that in everything in the world. If you got the right sign and a fence around you, everything is okay. I even heard about a family who had a “Thank You, Jesus!” sign, and half of it was in their yard, and half was in their neighbor’s yard. One little prong thing was in one yard, and one little prong thing was in the yard next door. And the family next door had every one of their trees left standing after the storm — just like the family that owned the sign, and nobody could understand. You know why nobody could understand?

Willy: Why?

Scottie: Because that family next door drank wine and beer and were Democrats.

Willy: Whoa. But didn’t Jesus drink wine?

Scottie: No, no. He drank grape juice.

Willy: How do you know?

Scottie: It’s simple. He turned the water into wine but when him and all the others at that wedding started drinking it, it hadn’t had time to ferment.

Willy: Oh. That makes sense.

Scottie: It all make sense . . . if you know enough about religion. PS

Clyde Edgerton is the author of 10 novels, a memoir and most recently, Papadaddy’s Book for New Fathers. He is the Thomas S. Kenan III Distinguished Professor of Creative Writing at UNCW.

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