RUBE WINTERS struggled to find the meaning of life from the time he was five years old with his head trapped between the altar spindles at communion.
Rube had a secret encounter with COUSIN CARESSE LAFAYETTE when he was fifteen.
In high school his disastrous first date with AMY ended with a shotgun blast. Rube was told that he shared a family curse when he visited UNCLE BILLY in Texas. On that fateful flight to Dallas he met MOOCHIE DUNLOP, a big woman with a bigger heart, who would play an important part in his life.
All his mishaps weren’t bad. He met first wife, KRISTY, during a rib tickling ski incident. Hilarity at their wedding was provided by pet parrot, PRETTY BOY, who escaped and dive bombed Moochie. Media coverage led to an appearance on the Tonight Show for Pretty Boy.
The marriage went well with occasional curse related and amusing happenings until Kristy was involved in a serious auto accident. Her life and that of their unborn child was in grave danger. The baby’s birth was closely followed by divorce due to a personality change Kristy sustained from the accident.
Rube and Amy reunited when Amy's parents perished in a death/suicide at the hands of her abusive father. Rube was struck by an automobile and put on crutches. Unable to work, he took Amy on vacation to Destin, Florida. Their good time was overshadowed by events such as a runaway wheelchair.
At the end of his rope with the spell cast on his great, great grandmother, Rube sought help from an old professor, DR.WILKINS. His mentor had found The Source, a magical spot in the North Georgia mountains where he received the meaning of life and health from Universal Intelligence.
Dr. Wilkins gave the information to Rube and Amy. Descending the mountain, their way was blocked by NED BLANKENSCHIPF, the enforcer of the curse. He is also tired of the curse and gives them a clue to help find the secret to lift it.
They began reading the information given to them by Dr. Wilkins and discovered why we are here and how to live a healthy and happy life. The reading is interspersed with amusing encounters at a restaurant, an antique store, and an old church.
They discovered the secret at the end of Dr. Wilkins journal and the curse was lifted.
P.S. An entertaining, irreverent rogue narrator provides the reader with the inside scoop.
Reuben (Rube) Winters was only five years old when the first unusual event in his life took place, at least the first one he could remember. His parents, Calvin and Betty, took their handsome son to the First United Methodist Church in Winder, Georgia on a beautiful Sunday morning in late May, 1973.
The church had been built twenty years earlier to replace the original wood frame building. A concrete path sliced through the lawn in front of the tall brick, steepled building with white columns. Ornate doors opened to a marbled vestibule leading to the nave of the church. Between the vestibule and side doors, carpeted staircases led to the balcony.
When the communion service began, they dragged Rube along to the altar railing, in front of the entire congregation. They bowed their heads in reverent prayer and let go of his hands.
Rube grabbed the spindles which supported the railing and wondered if his head would fit between them. He pressed his head against the spindles, and found the widest space allowed by the curve in the wood. He forced his head through the opening and worked his head up and down much like a dog scratching fleas. Bored, he tried to draw his head out, but his ears caught on the spindles. He panicked a little but knew that given time he could work his head out of the opening.
There was no time. Preacher Lee approached with the bread, and the associate pastor followed with the wine. Rube's father reached to take the small wafer as the pastor stared down with a puzzled look on his face.
Seminary school and fifteen years of ministering in the North Georgia Conference had not prepared the preacher for such a situation. How could he handle Rube's entrapment and maintain the solemnity of an important Christian ritual?
Rube's father dropped his wafer, grabbed his son by the back of his shirt and pulled. His mother, Betty, uttered a loud gasp heard over the collective sucking in of breath of those watching.
Rube must have felt like his ears were being torn off. He yelled in pain, and began to cry. His mother took his legs and tugged with all her might, trying to end this debacle, knowing that her bridge club members were watching in amusement. The preacher worked Rube's head from the other side of the railing, trying to find the best spot for the retraction. He wanted to do this quickly so he could restore order to the ceremony. A few titters of laughter rose from the younger church members.
His father and mother's urgency did not help young Rube. The skin behind his ears was soon rubbed raw from the pulling and he pleaded with them to stop. Rube's mother climbed over the railing to help the preacher's efforts and ripped her best Sunday dress down the back. The congregation lost interest in the sacrament. Some laughed aloud, others snickered, and one local jokester unkindly shouted, "Grease him up!"
The associate pastor was standing there, wringing his hands.
The members who had been at the altar railing were still there and didn't know whether to remain or go back to their seats. Some were kneeling, others stood to see what was going on. Old Lady Gilbert felt faint and sat down in the front row next to Lexsy Johnson who prayed loudly for the Lord to surround the boy with his love and protection, and prevent the preacher from pulling Rube's head clean off.
Ben Sumner, a carpenter, sitting five rows back on the right side of the church, knew what to do. He left his pew, walked to the altar, and yanked on the spindle until it broke. Mother, father, preachers, and congregation rejoiced. Rube had been freed from captivity! Hallelujah!
The church members began applauding as his mother, closely followed by his father, picked him up and carried him quickly up the aisle and out of the church.
Those closest to the aisle congratulated the carpenter as he made his way back to his seat. God had used a carpenter at least once before.
The preacher brushed the hair out of his eyes, straightened his robe, and wiped the foolish grin from his face. When he regained control of himself, he said, "The Lord works in mysterious ways." There was an "Amen!" and muffled laughter.
Preacher Lee continued, "We will have our communion next Sunday. Let us pray. Dear Lord, please bless young Rube and his family. Turn this embarrassing moment into a blessing for them, and a blessing for us all. As we experience the sorrows and tribulations of each day, and as we get our heads caught in the spindles of life, remind us that you are always there, ready to break the spindles and set us free, just as you did for young Rube. Amen." The congregation enthusiastically replied, "Amen!!"
The people filed out and shook hands with the preacher. They were smiling and happy, delighted to have attended church that morning. Old Man Kharr exclaimed that he'd stayed awake the entire time. Bunny Claxton said the service was more fun than when the last preacher stumbled from the dais and fell face down in front of the congregation.
Rube's blunder caused the most life and enthusiasm Preacher Lee had seen since he had taken over the church five years ago. He asked Old Lady Gilbert how she was fairing. She replied, "I'll be fine as soon as I get home and have a big glass of ice tea with half a lemon squeezed into it."
As carpenter Sumner passed by, he promised to come by next week and replace the spindle.
After the incident, everyone knew Rube, and gave him a warm hello with a smile or at least a grin, and patted him on the head.
In fact, the church was no longer the formal, stuffy place it had been before. Somehow, that single event had released a pent up fear among the congregation of making a mistake, doing something wrong, stepping over an imaginary line that had been established by the founders of the church some fifty three years ago.
Betty Winters took her son to the family chiropractor, Bill Glasson, on Monday. He found and corrected two misalignments in Rube's neck from the twisting and pulling.
Rube shuddered the next time he took communion and made certain his head remained above the railing. When he looked down at the newly replaced spindle, the bones behind his ears ached.
Preacher Lee always grinned when he saw Rube at the altar. Of all the children, Rube was his favorite. That pleased Rube. Nevertheless, he dreaded Communion Sundays.