Story: Thank Heaven for Pastor Joe

I was nine years old and picking berries in the woods with a few other kids from my Sunday school under the supervision of our church leader, pastor Joe. The pastor deserves some credit for due diligence, because each of us kids was warned that there was a large drop off of some 30 to 40 feet on the other side of the brambles, but it doesn’t seem that I was paying very close attention because I did my very best to fall to my death anyway.

I wasn’t a particularly stupid kid, and in fact at the time I would have argued that I was being rather clever. A portly and ambitious little boy, I had heard rumor that the best berries were deeper into the bushes, so I intended to get to them at any cost. I stepped down on the thorny branches, holding them to the dirt with my Air Jordan’s so that I could march right through to the back and get myself some of those alleged super-berries which would put the other kids to shame and thereby assert my status as the very finest berry-picker on the block. I took three conquering strides into that bramble, but on the fourth things seemed to go slightly awry and I came to note that there was absolutely nothing beneath my foot.

In a moment such as this one tends to become hyperaware. As I leaned into my doom I took a very quick inventory of the situation, weighed out my options, and determined with absolute certainty that I was definitely, completely dead. This wasn’t how I had planned my future at all. My berry shop would never get off the ground this way, and I had already picked out the colors for my first franchise location at the front of my driveway. I had intended to marry the pink ranger and buy a houseboat by the time I was twenty years old. I thought to myself, I’m not even a teenageds, and sighed as I gave in to the inevitability of death.

Luckily, pastor Joe was fully aware of what a stupid little shit I could be, and he had a hand firmly clasping my pants and belt– most likely before I had even taken my first overconfident step.

Say what you will about a man of the cloth with his hand in a little boy’s pants, but in this instance it seems to have worked out for the better.

In theory.

Backdated entry written in 2005.

Irreversible Mistakes