Kern's Holler Contrarian
Miss Kitty Brown

The Reverend
By Miss Kitty Brown

Even at 12 years old, I knew the only reason my mother went to church was to look at Reverend Baker. 
Reverend Baker was the minister at the First Congregational Church, a tall, slender man with movie star looks. Each Sunday in church, as the processional wound its way to the pulpit, his romantic resounding tenor sang Cecil F. Alexander’s lyrics, “All Creatures Great and Small” and my mother’s spirit was renewed.  His boyish looks and sandy colored hair was too much for my good Christian mother to withstand and he was frequently invited to our home. 
My mother was a vivacious, boldly beautiful woman whose French Canadian/Scotch heritage and serious dyed blonde hair gave her confidence no ordinary woman should have.  She had a flair for drama and mystery, and when she drank she was utterly charming and intoxicating until she got mean and started to break things.  She sometimes didn’t need to be drinking to break things, occasionally when she wouldn’t get what she wanted, she’d bust a cup as an announcement of her disapproval.  She was used to getting her way; that was for sure.  Even in her 40’s she could sell dentures to a dog if she wanted, and she learned how to parlay her good looks and big boobs into pretty much whatever she wanted. 
Subconsciously, what she wanted was the reverend.
One afternoon, the good reverend and his six-year-old daughter (a chaperone, no doubt) came by the house at mother's beckoning and there we all were, my precocious mother, the reverend, his six-year-old daughter and me.  Congregated outside on the driveway, my mother was as animated as ever with her guests, gesturing in a manner that brought attention to her bosom and hosting a coquette smile, she did everything but bat her eyelashes.  Laughing at one of her own witticisms, she threw her head back and laughed almost wickedly, and at that moment, God smote her for her indecency and her dentures popped out onto the ground.  Not one to miss a beat, she bent down, picked up the errant choppers, wiped them once on her slim Capri slacks and popped them back in her mouth, expertly guiding them back to their home port. True to form, she continued on with her monologue like nothing had happened, besting the beast of embarrassment.
Now I know better than to say anything to the queen of beauty about her dentures. However, the reverend’s six-year-old daughter hadn’t been schooled in the ways of flirting women and their dental cleavage that leave-age.
“Daddy, what were those?” she innocently asked, pointing to where the errant dentures had laid.
“Honey, some people have bad teeth and they have to have someone make them new teeth so they can eat and smile and be happy,” he offered.
“But daddy, why did they fall out? She continued.
Soon the reverend and his young daughter left, and by the time they pulled out of the driveway, I’m already through the house and out the back door, heading towards the skinny woods that bordered our property.  Waiting on the top of the hill, it was almost dark when the sound of breaking china stopped. 
Mom didn’t go to church as much after that.