Something very interesting happened to me today. An old friend of mine sent some articles to me about a place where I lived, twice, in my life. This little town was at the foot of a mountain that to the eye just looking at the scenery is a beautiful place. The ride on those mountain roads was a frightening experience to me because my dad would pull up to the edge to look over the side at the beautiful valley and I was terrified the car was going to slip and go rolling down bouncing on the rocks and we would die. If you looked closer you could see the blood that ran in the creeks and along the sides of the road, one body found still clutching his gun with his finger on the trigger. It was a family feud that was like the Hatfield-McCoy feud in Virginia and Kentucky according to a national radio program that shared the story and had members of each of the rival families on the program shaking hands and saying it was over… it wasn’t.
But that is not my story to tell.
I read the articles with great interest then did a Google search to find out more. I found a very interesting article by a man I had never heard of and as I read it I could vividly remember the fear in the whispered stories that came to my dad because he was the “preacher man” to the people in that community.
Something that is interesting is that the man who was the head of one of those families actually attended out church. On Sunday mornings he and his sons would line up on a pew halfway back on the right side of the church. I was only seven years old but I had heard how the lady that sometimes played the piano before my mother came along carried a bullet in her head, she was the leader-of-the-pacts wife. They would worship on Sunday then go about their business of making Moonshine during the week.
In those days the “preacher” was called upon all hours of the night to come to pray for the sick and some of those calls were up on the mountain, so “Leader” came to my dad and told him that he would see he was protected as long as he didn’t trade cars while he was there. He didn’t.
My dad wasn’t afraid of anything, I have told you stories about how he led the motorcycle gang, the East Los Angeles Falcons, which evolved later into the Hells Angels. I have told you of the pride he had at seeing a lot of his gang members find the sawdust trail at his tent revivals after he was called by the audible voice of God while he was body surfing on Seal Beach. He was never the same.
While we lived in that small town my dad averaged preaching two funerals a week. So much violence, and yet so many wonderful people.
Maybe more to come but for now I think you’ve heard enough, and in case you were wondering I didn’t name the town because people I love are still friends with me and some of them on my social media pages so I leave them with their privacy.