Church Fort

I considered attending a Sunday morning church service for the first time in 45 or 47 years. That’s a pretty long stretch in heathen time.

Why? Why not? There’s something in my irregular preacher kid background that calls to me every now and then.

A curiously named church, off a dead end road, stuck back in some woods, had caught my eye as I was dodging an octogenarian man wielding a cane, walking his dog. Both were wearing bathrobes.

The church’s facade was somewhat streaked with mold and the roof appeared capable of sinning rain onto the congregation. The grounds were unkempt and the parking lot dotted with potholes. A rangy-looking black cat stared at me from a stump. Adjacent to the church, leaned a brown and white single-wide manufactured home, with a sagging, jury-rigged wooden porch.

In other words, disheveled. Give me disheveled or give me death! Give me disheveled in taverns, cemeteries, parks, dogs, thrift stores, and occasionally, human beings. Following the disheveled always proves interesting. There are no stories in wrinkle-free dogs or groomed bars.

But before church, before my ass hit the pew (and it better be a wooden one), I visited the beach for my usual Sunday service.

I saw two bald eagles, found a crab pot float, rope and two excellent pieces of beaverwood. I also encountered a large pile of driftwood in assorted sizes that I instantly knew would yield a fort of my eccentric making that would delight others who happened across it.

Of course I would build it. I might even try for a steeple effect or confession booth effect.

I went to work and the fort rose from the dead. In short order, the fort was finished (although forts are never finished) and fit for occupation, for one person only, perhaps a sick and wayward or searching soul.

I checked my watch and realized that I would miss the opening hymns (or rock and roll set) but probably make it for the sermon. I suspected I would know what the preacher would preach but, then again, the church was disheveled and the preacher lived next door in a fatigued manufactured home and quite possibly addressed his flock wearing a corduroy blazer. Maybe the preacher would quote Rachel Carson or Karl Marx. Sometimes when you walk into an expected cliché, there is utterly originality. That especially goes for people.

One question dominated my mind: would they serve grape juice or wine for communion? Would I partake?

I pulled into the parking lot, exited the car, shook out the sand, and unpacked a corduroy blazer from the trunk (you never know when one will come in handy.) I donned the coat and walked toward the church. The black cat watched me the whole time.