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Saturday, July 1, 2006

Cletus' Bible: An Introduction

Who the Heck is Cletus?

Well now. Old Cletus, he lived a-way up on Serenity Peak, about as close to the Almighty as a man could get.

Folks thereabouts couldn't quite agree on what he did. There was some (who didn't think too hard about anything) who thought he was just a yarn spinner, sittin' around jawin' all day. Others, of a practical sort, saw him as a shiftless bum. But some, a few, felt he was a mouthpiece of the Almighty, talkin' truth like the prophets of old.

Whatever folks thought most of the time, when they were troubled, whether from the outside or on the inside, most of 'em made the long climb up the rough, narrow trail to the top of Serenity Peak, where they knocked on the door of the little one-room shack next to the spring house (a spring on a mountaintop! A wonder!) And they'd ask old Cletus if he had somethin' to say about their problem.

And he did. Usually.

To tell the truth, no one knew just how he kept body and soul together. Some gossiped that he had a hidden treasure somewhere (and in a manner of speakin' I b'lieve he did). Others suspected he got his money by nefarious means. And a strangely reluctant few allowed that they had seen birds bringin' him sheaves of grain, and raccoons leavin' fruit on his stoop. They knew he didn't hunt none, and in fact nobody ever saw him eat meat--not even squirrel.

Anyway, he never seemed to want. And if anybody asked him where he got his daily bread, all Cletus would say was, "The Almighty provides."

And folks guessed that He must have provided powerful good, since Cletus was powerful old but fit as a fiddle. He could walk the legs off a younger man, up or down the mountain, and still chopped all his own firewood. One fine day he told me, "Some feller said 'I ain't my body,' but by Heaven! When my body's all outta kilter I jus' can't get peaceable. Likewise, if I keep 'er all tuned up and bushy-tailed, well, the Almighty jus' seems a might closer."

Watch for stories from Cletus' Bible from time to time.

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