The Catholic Defender: Livin On A Prayer
It was a hot summer day in June of 1968, I was a 12 year old boy living in Southern Missouri. My Mother was just in an automobile accident and was recovering so my Brother and I were living with Aunt Terry near Stockton Missouri. We were actually going to go to public school there in the fall because Mom would still be recovering. My older cousin, Floyd JR. brought me to a place called Caplinger Mills not far from Stockton. In the outskirts of town, there was a bridge made of wood and I remember it felt scary to cross it with the truck worrying if the bridge would hold. On this particular day, people were sitting along the edge of the bride with their fishing poles. Definitely Middle America at it's core. I don't remember much about this event except that I went wondering off the bridge and went to the river's edge. I guess I had been fascinated with the landscape, it looked really dense with grass and brush. I would soon find out that my oasis was not as safe as I trusted it would be. I was really a city kid trying out this new found way of life and really didn't understand the danger I had placed myself. One of the adults noticed me and yelled towards me that I needed to make a break back up to the bridge, he told me to do so rather hurriedly. What I didn't know was I had gone into a place known for water moccasins and they apparently were being aroused by my presence. I didn't see anything where I was, but the crowd of people that was gathering on the bridge certainly did. I never did see the threat I was in until I myself had reached the bridge. There were several snakes that had come out ready to defend their home and I was one lucky kid. Luck was the first impulse I had when I found out what had happened. It was a close call. I later learned that there was something like 200 snakes that were killed or chased away from that area. Kind of makes me cringe even today thinking about it. Water Moccasins are notorious for being territorial. They have been known to drop out of trees and into canoes. I witnessed this once on the Buffalo River in Northern Arkansas. We had just stopped to take a break when a gentleman was paddling a canoe on the other side of the river. That's when this snake fell into his canoe. It seemed like slow motion as this guy pulled out a pistol and shot at this snake in his canoe a number of times until he was out of bullets. Then he jumped out of the canoe after throwing his gun at the snake. I guess the snake was good at dodging bullets or the guy could not shoot straight. As I think back to that time, I am reminded how much my Mother had prayed for me and that really hits home. I have been livin on a prayer all my life. Until my Mother died, she always had our names placed with various orders of religious. Many Masses were said for our benefit and I can only look back and see where the hand of God had touched my life so many times. Today, there are many people living life as if there is no danger, they do not recognize what is taking place around them. Everyday, people will awake not knowing that for them this is their last day. Are they ready. Prayer is so important to place in your life. We are to be alert and ready for what may come our way. Here at Deepertruth, we want to encourage you to make the Mass the center of your life, to make a commitment to prayer and trust in God. No matter how hard it gets, we must stay the course.