No shit, there I was... or that is how a river runner says every good story begins that way. But in this case, I mean it literally. I was ankle deep in our hog pens mucking them out one spring Saturday after a long winter. During the summer, hogs sleep on concrete to help stay cooler but in the winter we toss straw in their pens for bedding. Unfortunately, when it is cold, they tend to excrete in their bedding instead of going outside as normal, and I can't say that I blame them. But it does mean that there is quite the mess to clean up come spring.
So I was working away with the shovel and pitchfork, mucking out the pens when a shiny black Lincoln Towncar pulled down our drive and upon seeing me, continued out to the hog barns. Doors opening, a family of four hopped out, a husband figure in a suit, a wife figure in a 'purty' dress and two younguns' all spiffed out in the Sunday finest. There was a black book in the husband's hand and I knew instantly they were Jehovah's Witnesses.
I was due for a good blow (break), so I climbed over the fence and after carefully wiping the shit off one of my hands onto a clean spot of my bib overalls and holding onto the pitch fork very American Gothic like with the other, shook hands all around. After shaking my hand, they stepped back a few respectful paces, glanced around and near as I can call, the conversation went like this:
Jehovah: Are your folks home.
Jehovah: I take it you don't go to church much.
Me: I think you have about ten seconds before I kill you with this pitchfork.
Their eyes all got considerably wider and they promptly got back in their car and high tailed it out of there. They didn't even offer me some of their literature! I don't know where their assumption that I didn't go to church came from but I suddenly wasn't in the mood to talk with them any longer. It wasn't even a question but just a statement! If I hadn't been a churchgoer at the time and believed that killing was a sin, even the killing of Jehovah Witnesses, I possibly would have stuck them just a little with the pitchfork just to make them jump. But I was a good Christian and just watched them fly up the driveway in a cloud of dust.
To this day, I don't think they have ever come back to the farm or any of their kind. I'm sure we are on their "heathen" list or at least written off as beyond saving. But they have found me across the nation wherever I have lived elsewhere. Sometimes when I am in the mood or in need of a blow, I'll get into a debate about whether or not they are sure that they are one of the 144,000 anointed ones who are getting into heaven and if so, how do they know. But most days, I just tell them I am a heathen or not interested and they go away. I leave the pitchfork propped up next to the door out of sight. Just in case.