Thursday, February 22, 2018

Wild Bucks, Honky Tonks And Other Crazy Stories From The American South: The Strange Woman On Indianola Street In Bowling Green, Ky.

An On-Going Short-Story Fictional Series
By Galen A. Smith Sr.

    It was February 22, 1988, exactly 30 years-ago today.

    Bob Richards had just moved to Bowling Green about a month before and landed his first job as a life insurance salesman right out of college for a small company from Louisville.  It wasn't exactly his dream job but it was all he could find at the time since the economy wasn't humming liked it used to be in Southcentral Kentucky.  Several factories in the area had closed down during the downturn of the economy in the 80's and had laid off a bunch of employees.  Spring would be arriving soon, so Bob would be stepping up his door to door sales pitches and tactics  But on this particular day, he decided go ahead and go door knocking anyway since the sun was shining and the temperature was unseasonably warm.  He walked down Indianola Street knocking on doors and having them slammed on his face.  However, he approached one house that seemed very strange.  When he walked on the front porch, he could see a large picture of Jesus hanging on the wall through the window. He also saw a sign attached to the wall that said, "No Smoking or Cursing Allowed!"

    Bob decided to go ahead and knock on the door.  When he did, a tall, thin, middle-age woman came to the door with heavy makeup on and dyed red hair.  Her face was not very attractive but Bob could tell that she seemed she have lived a hard life.  Bob introduced himself and asked her if she was interested if any life insurance.  She told him that she was uninsurable because she has had two open heart surgeries.  She invited Bob to come in and he accepted the offer. After a few minutes of discussion at the kitchen table, Bob looked up and pointed to the wall and said, "Are you Catholic?"

   "No son, I'm Pentecostal," she said.

"Oh," Bob said, "I just thought maybe you were Catholic since you had a lot of pictures of Jesus hanging on the wall."

    "No honey, he's just my best friend and he loves me very much," she said.  "I've actually met Jesus before."

   "Really? You mean, you've actually met Jesus? You're kidding, right?" Bob asked.
   "No, I mean it," the woman said.

   "Well, can you tell me where you met him at?" Bob asked curiously.

   The woman told Bob it happened when she was having her first heart attack.  She had told her son to help her get to the bed.  When he did, she passed out and he called 911. She said she felt as if she was out for a long time.  She said that she also felt her spirit leave her body.

  "When my spirit left my body, I went straight to my mansion.  It was a beautiful mansion and I was standing in the middle of it.  It had no furniture.  I was saying, 'It's so beautiful and another a man was there.  But I could not see the man's face. I was telling him, 'This is mine.'  And man kept saying, 'I don't think you are one of us.' And I said, 'I am too and I have lived here before.'"  She said that some other people were in the mansion too and they had black hair, curly hair and blonde hair.  She she their feet were not touching the floor and neither were hers.  She said heard a voice called out to her and said, "There is 'The One' who will know if you're one of us or not."  She said there was a crystal clear walkway circling around the mansion with pink bricks on top of it.  The voice then said that they would check the bricks first. One of the persons inside walks outside of the mansion goes over and picks up a pink brick off the walkway to examine it.  And then the voice says, "This is not enough.  I will take you back to 'The One' who will know if you are one of us or not."

   The woman goes on to tell the story to Bob. "So they walked us behind the mansion together to a little wood shed.  We went inside the shed and on a bale of hay laid Baby Jesus.  The voice then spoke in many languages and in other tongues."  The woman said she was awe of Baby Jesus and that she could see no ends to him.  All sort of sparkles of magnificent, bright colors were dancing around his head and body.  She said all she could see when Baby Jesus rose from the bale of hay was his robe, sandals and long hair.

   "His hair hung over his face and it was white as snow," she said.  The baby laid his hand on her shoulder and said, "Yes, she has lived here before but I will send you back because it is not finished," Baby Jesus said.

  "But I do not want to go back! Please do not send me back!"  she said. "All of sudden, I woke up in a hospital room and I had open heart surgery with a lot stitches in my chest. And I kept telling everyone, I had an out of body experience."

  After a while, Bob thank the woman for sharing her story with him.  He told her it was time for him to leave.  He walked out the front door and walked down Indianola Street to Broadway Avenue where his car was parked.  After he got into car, he decided to drive over the Little Brown Jug and have some beers with cheese and crackers.  He also decided that he would not tell his wife that evening when got home about the crazy story he had heard.  He drank his beer, put a quarter in the jukebox and put on some Hank Williams Jr. and lit a cigarette. For a brief moment, he tried to forget about his encounter with the strange woman on Indianola Street.

“This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.”

Friday, February 16, 2018

Lent 2018: Fish On Fridays



I have been a Catholic convert since 1990. So basically for 28 years now.
It was not an easy process. I began the process of becoming a Roman Catholic in 1986 after my wife and I married in a civil ceremony outside the church. Because she was married before, she had to get an annulment. Once her annulment was granted, I still had to go through the RCIA classes (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults). I attended for four years in a row. I was getting doubtful and losing hope. However, we had to work on some things in our marriage. So we did.



Finally, the day arrived and I became a full-fledge, confirmed Catholic! We were married in a sacramental marriage ceremony and I received my sacraments being confirmed. Through the years, I have had a great appreciation for my Catholic faith and Church. Of course, I have not always been perfect and I have failed at times as a Catholic. Even during some past Lenten seasons, I have not done some things right.


Sometimes when you’re working in rural Southcentral Kentucky, it’s hard to find a place that serves fish. (Catholics can eat fish on Fridays during Lent but not meat) One time I stopped at a little country store when I was in a hurry and went inside and I asked the lady behind the counter, if they had any fish to serve for lunch. She laughed at me and said, “Honey, we only serve sliced baloney and liver cheese sandwiches.” I said, “Okay, then. I will just get a bag of chips and a soft drink.” Then she asked me why I wanted fish when I was checking out. I told her that I was Catholic and that we could only eat fish on Fridays during Lent. I don’t know if she understood what I meant or not and I went about my business.


So, every time I would stop at that particular country store later on through the course of the years even when was not during Lent, she would laugh and say, “Here comes ole “Fish On Fridays’” when I came through the front door. And we would both get a big laugh out of it! Happy Lent everyone and God Bless! Remember, “Fish On Fridays!” Galen A Smith Sr