It’s doubtful the people who populate the Bible had any inkling that the automobile would one day replace the donkey on the road from Jerusalem to Jericho, or wherever, but your devious scribe has conjured a way to link the holy book with the modern mode of conveyance.
The inspiration came two weeks ago today (March 2), after my car was the primary prey in an accident involving three vehicles. I was on South Dixie Highway in West Palm Beach, headed for a seminar on internet search engine optimization as a way to promote my novel Murder in Palm Beach: The Homicide That Never Died. On the edge of downtown, a block south of Okeechobee Boulevard, a vehicle came out of nowhere and materialized 10 feet in front of me, perpendicular to my 2007 Toyota Corolla with 108,000 miles, fading red paint, frayed foot mats, soiled seats, and the vestiges of two Obama bumper stickers.
I have good reflexes – ping pong champ of my tiny college about four score and 19 years ago – and hit the brakes. I’d been cruising at least 35 mph, and didn’t have a chance. BOOM!!! I think they could hear it in Belle Glade (for non-Floridians, that’s 40 miles to the west). My car hit the rear side of the large Hyundai SUV, which lurched into a car traveling the other direction on the side road that the Hyundai was turning onto. Minor damage to it and the front of the Hyundai. But what amazed me was the minor damage to its side, as well. Its airbags deployed, but mine didn’t. My bumper was separated from the fenders, the grill bent, the hood crimped, and the passenger door unopenable (is that a word?). Nobody hurt, though my back felt a bit wrenched, which condition soon dissipated, from the jerk against the shoulder strap.
So what in tarnation does this have to do with the Bible? Hold your horses; I’m getting there. As the Bible admonishes, patience, patience. “Whoever is patient has great understanding, but one who is quick-tempered displays folly.” Proverbs 14: 29. (Uh-oh, I’m in the folly category.)
Here’s what happened. Dixie is a four-lane road at that location. I was heading north in the far right lane. The Hyundai was heading south in the left lane. As the driver explained it to me, a guy in the north-bound lane next to mine stopped to let him turn onto the side road, and waved him on. That’s where blind faith emerged.
The Hyundai driver was a professor of philosophy and ethics in a nearby university’s school of ministry. He practiced what he preached, and, believing the guy who waved him on, crossed the road in front of me.
Now, I’m a doubting Thomas kind of guy. I would have crept into the north lane and peered around the stopped car to see if a vehicle were coming in the other lane before completing the turn. “Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed.” John 20: 29
To be fair, the rest of that verse says, “blessed [are] they that have not seen, and [yet] have believed.” I’m not sure the professor will feel all that blessed when he sees his next auto insurance bill. The blind faith dictum would seem to be of dubious validity.
The Temporal Toyota
That assertion is bolstered by a couple of other biblical passages:
- “The simple believeth every word: but the prudent [man] looketh well to his going.” Proverbs 14: 15 The professor did not look well to his going – though I must add, I am acquainted with this prof and he is most profound. The admonition applies more appropriately to followers of President Donald Trump.
- “While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen [are] temporal (or Toyota); but the things which are not seen [are] eternal.”
Okay, so that last one is a little iffy. Suffice it to say that if I hadn’t seen the Hyundai at all before my Toyota hit it, or I’d have been moving faster, I might have driven right into eternity.
But that’s a hell of a depressing way to end an essay. Let’s see if I can find a secular literary work that’s more sanguine. Ah, I think I’ve got it. In his latest issue of The Perfect Write, Rob Bacon praises Sue Chamblin Frederick’s new novel The Front Porch Sisters. Here’s an excerpt from the first chapter:
“When stars appear in the night sky high above the fields of Madison County, the starlight seems to fall brightest along the Withlacoochee River, then across Bellville Road before settling quietly on the rooftop of the Donnelly’s grand house and its magnificent front porch.
“No one could really remember precisely when it all began: the importance of the porch. It was as though its roots were entrenched before the birth of time; the porch façade of faded white boards seeming to wear an expression that fell somewhere between slumber and the prick of a thorn, reminding one of the memories that had been created there, under its sloping roof and where jasmine twisted wildly around the white columns.
“There was no doubt that the porch was the soul of the rambling house, its heartbeat lasting at least until the Rapture or maybe even beyond. The porch heard and knew everything; tears, cussing and maybe even lovemaking in the cypress swing with the creaky chain.
“The porch ran east and west, all fifty feet of it shaded by hundred-year-old oak trees that promised cool afternoons during the furnace heat of a Pinetta summer. The distance between the two ends of the porch might as well have been to the moon and back—each end separate from the other and divided by the differences of the two Donnelly sisters.
“In its heyday, the long porch, studded with rockers like jewels on a crown and swings built from pond cypress, sagged with the onslaught of Sunday afternoon visitors who drank iced tea and ate Edith Donnelly’s famous buttered rum pound cake.”
My assessment: Frederick’s prose smacks of a combination of Faulkner, especially, and Fitzgerald, earthiness tempered by eloquence. I can only dream of possessing such flair.
Thus endeth the writing of the blog. May the Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you. May the Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace.
Now watch where you’re goin’, will ya?