When Chaos Arrived

What was that? Dad turned to hear a furious noise behind him. With limbs breaking and leaves crackling his anticipation grew. The closer the noise the more anxious he became. This was, after all, his first time. He didn’t know what to expect. Grunting grew to point that he felt as if the animal was going to attack him. Dad heard each hoof hitting the ground and the dogs continued their incessant barking. The animal feared for his life and ran as fast as he could.

Dad raised his gun. All he needed was for it to appear in his site. The louder the confusion between man and beast, the more intense and passionate he became.

Deep bulging sounds—panic in the air—chaos was about to debut. The noise stopped. Where was he? Dad eased his gun to left, nothing. Questioning his whereabouts he moved back to the right, nothing. He took his eyes off the site to look around.

The dogs got louder and Dad wondered if he had missed his objective. Chaos burst through the Colorado Spruce and ran toward Dad. He turned his gun for a perfect shot. His finger was on the trigger. He lowered his gun. The Elk ran a new direction.

Bugling Bull (male) Elk Yellowstone National Park Wyoming near the Madison River ** Note: Shallow depth of field

Google Photo

Dad had hunted in the Louisiana woods his entire life, but never like this, or for the largest land mammal in North America. He had just moved to Denver to pastor the South Denver Church of God. The men in the church invited him to go Elk hunting. They took him to the license bureau to apply for a hunting license and Elk tags. He was told that to get a tag you must first sign up, and then wait on the lotto drawing. If you were lucky you might get a bull Elk or cow licenses. If you didn’t get either, you got to stay home, or at the camp while the others hunted.

Dad was excited when he received his tags in the mail. He hadn’t won a bull tag. There was not a cow tag inside either. His tag said he could hunt both. When he told the men of the church of his luck they were amazed. One of them told him they had lived in Colorado their entire life and never won both tags. They patted him on the back and assured him he had won the Lotto.

When hunting day came he was taken up in the mountains and placed on a big flat rock. He was told to, “Sit right here, be still and wait.” He would soon hear the dogs and they would run the animal toward him. “When you hear all the commotion, get ready.”

Dad did as he was instructed and sat patiently. Even with the bull Elk in his site he could not pull the trigger. He stood in awe of his beauty. The display of power and dominance impressed him with an indescribable reaction for the animal. In view of vigorous muscle, huge antlers, and breathtaking presence Dad lowered his gun.

When Dad told us this story he said, “He was too beautiful to kill.”

elk-2Google Photo

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Do It Over!

As with many native pastors in the 1960’s, Pastor Oscar Lupe didn’t have a baptism tank at the church he pastored in Buxton, British Guiana. He used the one 18.3km away, at John Street Church of God in Georgetown.

After arrival at John Street, the front right pew was moved to the other side of the church and the unnoticed doors were pulled open from the floor. Under the wood boards was a concealed baptismal tank full of water. Brother Lupe, as we called him, entered the church with those who wanted to be baptized and placed them in pews toward the front for perfect viewing of each other.

Oscar was older and was the only Church of God pastor who wore a clerical white-collar. He asked Dad (Edward Oldham) to do the baptizing because he was too old to get down the steps to the water.

EPSON MFP image

Dad was happy to oblige. Pastor Lupe stood by the side of the tank, with his hands folded behind his back, and watched each person get baptized. After several men and women ascended the steps there was one last woman to be immersed. Dad raised his hand and said; “In the  name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit . . . “ He placed his hand over hers and lowered her into the water. Being an extremely heavy woman she fought going under. The buoyancy of the water allowed Dad to hold her on her back. But he could not get her to go under the water. She fought the decent like a cat with her claws out. Dad held her in his arms while she paddled around the pool uncertain of life. Her hair was soaked and matted when she stood up, wiped her face and began praising the Lord.

“Do it over,” Pastor Lupe said. “You did not go under. You have to go all the way under.” The woman looked at Dad and they tried it again. “Do it over,” said a stern voice a second time. “You have to be submerged all the way.” The woman looked at Dad and they tried it again, and again, until it was done right. Then everyone praised the Lord!

© All Rights Reserved – Andy Oldham