I lost track of singer Ray Stevens years ago, despite my affection for his fanciful story about Ahab the Arab and his clunky little camel named Clyde. That meant I missed his tale of the Mississippi Squirrel Revival, another funny song and a cautionary reminder to children of all ages: don’t take your critters to church!
When I recently was introduced to The Squirrel Revival, I laughed myself silly and then remembered another story about members of a congregation, a clutch of Pentecostals from the Texas Panhandle who tried to outrun the Devil on their way to Florida. Long before they reached the Sunshine State, they ended up wrapped around a tree in Vinton, Louisiana, while local cops stood around trying to figure out why they were naked.
A few years have passed, but the story’s just as funny today as it was back in 1993. Even some Baptists and Methodists in the area – folks who tend to take their religion pretty seriously – have been known to keep their clipping of the story close at hand. I saw the article tacked onto a refrigerator in Idalou, torn rather than clipped from the paper and starting to yellow with age. But there it was, bearing witness to the best part of the story – that it’s all true, every living word of it. Well, except maybe for those conversations the preachers had with the Devil. But no one’s even sure about that. (more…)