--Guest post by Jesse Taylor II
My Daddy insisted this story was true. You'll have to make up your own mind about that.
My Cousin Harvey Taylor wasn't as tall as the rest of the family. He topped of at a very skinny 5-foot six. Daddy always said smoking and drinking had stunted his growth. Harv claimed to have smoked his first cigarette when he was only 5 years old. In a tobacco growing country, where "roll your owns" are common and kids will be kids, that may be true. But, one thing is true, by the time he reached 15 years of age he'd developed a healthy taste for alcohol. Boys grew up fast in the coal camps of old Kentucky. Times were hard and the poverty took its toll. When he was 16 years old, "Little Harv" lied about his age and joined the Army. Hard to believe, but it really happened. But, I digress. We're not really here to talk about Harv's younger days. Let's have a word about his hobby...and chief occupation. Namely, that of being a drunk.
Now, just because Harv was a drinker, that didn't mean he was lazy. A great many heavy drinkers are very hard workers. They know that if they quit working then the money for alcohol will disappear. Harv didn't have any trouble holding down a job. Things were very different from what they are, today.
Anyway, as it so happened, Harv's outfit had a three day weekend. This meant Harv had Thursday night, all day Friday and all day Saturday to practice his hobby. He set to the task with gusto, according to reports. When Sunday morning came, Harv woke up in the bar. Actually, he woke up on the countertop of the bar, proper. You might say he had been "over served". As bad as he felt, he knew it was Sunday. He also knew there wasn't any use in trying to call anyone to come pick him up. Them that weren't in church would be in no shape to drive, having spent their time involved in their own hobbies.
Harv claimed he had a ringing in his ears, blurred vision, stomach cramps and a headache. Also, he knew that, if he was going to get back home, he was going to have to walk. His thinking was clear enough to realize that he really didn't want to put up with the noise of passing traffic, should he take the "easy route" by walking along the highway. Unsteady as his legs were, he decided he'd be better off taking the more direct and private route, down along the river. If the birds weren't singing too loud, he thought he might be better able to stand it.
As Harv walked along the river, he heard a sound that, in his impaired condition, sounded for the world like someone shouting for help. Somebody might be drowning. This spurred Harv into action. He took off at a "lope". The route took him over a high embankment and he ran head-long into a big "baptising" service.
Now, Harv was no stranger in the community. Some of those folks recognized him and knew him well. They knew what he'd been up to and could see he wasn't "up to snuff", so to speak. Well, one of the fellows clamped Harv in a good, old fashioned, "hand shake". This involved a few hearty pats on the back and a round of "well-wishings". Its a common occurrence between friends in that part of the country. Also, its not an uncommon trait that good friends can sense a conspiracy when it comes up. The first man passed Harv off to the second man, who passed him off again, and so on and so forth. Next thing Harv knew, he was standing in the river, shaking hands with the preacher. The preacher, being no stranger himself, grabbed Harv and, promptly, dunked him under.
Harv came up spitting and slinging water. The reverend, still holding Harv by the shirt collar, shouted, "Have you found Jesus?"
Harv shouted, "No!!" So, the reverend dunked him under, again.
Harv came up blowing more water and waving his arms around. The reverend shouted, "Have you found Jesus!!?"
Harv shouted, "No!!!" Back under he went.
Harv came up spitting and clutching at the air and the reverend repeated the question, "Have you found Jesus, yet!!!?"
Harv reached out, grabbed the reverend by the shirt, drew him in close and asked, "Reverend...are you right sure this is where he went under!!?"