Snake In The Grass
The Big Sandy campus was unique in its own right. While Pasadena was formal, dignified and very sophisticated, the Big Sandy campus was farm like and more like a family atmosphere. That does not mean that the students were any less serious about their studies. It just means, as HWA once put it, they mutually excelled each other. And I can not think of a better way to state it. Each campus was alive with excitement, adventure and dreams of victory and a misguided hope for a better world through ministerial rule.
I learned to appreciate its ruggedness and unsophisticated life style. And that is not a criticism, it is just that in its own way it was very unique. And so were the students. I guess I liked it so much because in many respects I am independent and adventurous.
Having arrived there it took several weeks to adjust to this new life style. I grew up in the greater Los Angeles area, so being wide open and free was great! I quickly adopted to my new environment. In spite of the fact I was warned not to socialize with any of the women students, life on campus was fun. No there was nothing wrong with me, I was an employee and not a student and therefore was forbidden to socialize with the students. HWA said that by the time a student graduated the Work had invested something like $50,000.00 in each graduate. So they did not want losers, non AC students, to ruin their investment. Therefore it was a cardinal sin to talk to the young ladies.
There was something very unique about Big Sandy. For one thing they had a lake and Pasadena did not. I really enjoyed the lake because it not only provided a place of recreation but also was a place that some very unusual things happened...
One thing I discovered very quickly, senior students loved to find a freshman sleeping on the job. They had a simple solution to assure this kind of lazy behavior would never happen again. They would very quietly smear lots of chicken manure on the unsuspecting loafers index finger. And then gently tickle his nose with a feather. The sleepy student would rub his tickled nose vigorously with his finger. The sock and surprise was something to behold!
One hot summer afternoon, the temperature must have been in the high 90's, and the humidity seemed equally high. It was one of those hot miserable Texas days, the kind where no mater what you do, you just can not seem to get comfortable. I was just trying to find a quiet place to be cool for a few moments before I went back to work when I noticed some activity around the lake.
I found a shady area not far from a very curious situation. It was close enough for me to observe the coming and goings of students. I noticed about four or five male students near the edge of the lake. They were waving their arms, making faces and being very vocal, my guess is that they were rehearsing for a speech club. It was vitally important to use powerful gestures and facial expressions, it was equally important to develop and to be able to project a deep resonate voice. In the early years all the young men wanted to be like GTA, what ever for I will never understand. For an outsider it would appear that some sort of a strange ritual was taking place. For those of us that practiced for hours on end these techniques it did not seem strange at all. But what was to happen next was really strange and perhaps even a little bizarre.
The men all at once jumped back and really got vocal, you would have thought someone had set their pants on fire, or had told them they had been disfellowshiped from the church. But that was not the case. So what was causing all the commotion and their macho barking and arm waving, some sort of a new ritual? No, a snake, a rather large snake had emerged from the lake! I don't know about you but that is enough to make me a little uncomfortable.
They were running back and forth somewhere between panic and hysteria. Me I would simply have walked away and left the critter alone. Not these guys, their manhood depended upon them taking action. By this time other students began to notice the commotion and stopped to view this comical sight. The harder they tried to shoo the snake the worse the situation became. To say the least they were embarrassed, to say the truth, they were acting with complete and sincere stupidity.
The thing really got interesting when one of the beautiful, innocent looking co-eds entered the scene.. To look at her you would think her incapable of hurting a fly. Without hesitation she walked over to this slithery, slimy critter, and snatched the snake by they tail and sapped it like a whip. There was an audible pop and the head of the snake flew off just as slick as can be. She then threw the carcass into the lake. Without losing her composure she dusted her hands off, straightened her dress, smiled at the boys and walked off. She never said a word to them, just simply smiled and walked away. I just wondered if she perhaps was doing all she could to keep from laughing out loud. It was very kind and merciful of her not to have laughed, to do so would have devastated and embarrassed the men even more. What fool has said that a woman can not be decisive and act with courage and still not be a lady? And yet it was Worldwide Church of God attitude that a woman could never be anything more than a good mother and housekeeper...how could we have been so stupid as to let such insane ideals rule our lives and distort our values?
My only regret is that I did not have a camera handy. The look on those boys faces was one of complete and total disbelief. They couldn't help but wonder if they really had seen what they thought they saw.
It has occurred to me that many of the ministers use tactics like a snake in the grass. They sneak up on you and get you when you least expect it. I wonder if they were grabbed and cracked them like a whip if their heads would pop off...just a thought.
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