Snakes on a cosmic disk
Torley's conclusive destruction
of HL Mencken's undeserved reputation as a reporter reminded me of something.
Torley focuses on the snake-handling Holiness types of Tennessee. In 1925 as now, the snakers were a small group, way off the mainstream of solid Baptists and firmly disdained by the Baptists of Dayton. Mencken intentionally conflated the snakers with the solid Baptists and tarred all of Tennessee with a style of religion that had a few dozen adherents. Modern commies continue to do the same.
The distinction between solid Baptists and undomesticated country folks was a big theme in my father's ancestry. He was two generations UP the ladder from those non-housebroken types,
and those two steps had been Doozies, as he was fond of saying. His father had made the hard jump into solid domestic Baptist, and my father had sprung up from solid Baptist to college professor.
Sometimes his grip on the top rung must have felt tenuous.
I'm thinking of the only time I ever saw him do something sneaky and cruel. It was 1962. He had bought a nearly new house from a strange character I'll call Harold Odom. Harold was a flipper long before flipping had a name. Once a year he would buy a city lot, buy a prefab house from National,
throw the house together, and sell it. This provided a decent living and a 'free' house for his family to occupy while doing 'sweat equity', again before it had a name. Harold thus had more free time than most men in the 1950s, and he filled it with odd Organic Food and Spiritualism theories. He sold Cosmic Disks**, which were supposed to reverse the counterclockwise vibrations
that cause diseases. Think Gribble in King of the Hill, and you've got Harold Odom.
These odd religions and lack of 'regular' work clearly stirred the old Snaker genes in my father's blood, and he needed to slap them down by slapping Harold down. So he spent considerable energy convincing Harold that a cactus in the house's back yard was really a Christmas Cactus, about to bloom for the only time in our lives, and that Harold was losing the chance to see it bloom by selling the house.
Strange! Sneaky! Pointlessly cruel.
I doubt that it worked. Most likely Harold went along with the gag to get the house sold. Harold wasn't nearly as dumb as my father thought. He'd found a way to make enough
money while spending plenty of time with his family. Smart.
= = = = =
** Footnote: Cosmic Disks looked a lot like Rose Rocks. I don't know if they were actual barite rocks or just made to resemble ... but real Rose Rocks have a similar reputation
in modern times.