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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Oops (01/14/10)

TITLE: Oops Final Score: Baptists 3; Methodists 0
By Mariane Holbrook
01/21/10


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Even now, decades later, we’re still trying to figure out how one day could produce that many “oopses.”

Was it a mistake to invite a Methodist preacher to speak at our Baptist Camp Meeting near Sawtooth, Georgia that July? Maybe it was a classic case of water and oil not mixing, and which was only exacerbated when our pianist, Miss Lucy Ledbetter (or Miss Bedwetter, as the kids called her) asked the guest preacher if he’d like to be baptized like all real Christians were, in some place like Big Muddy Creek behind the camp meeting’s pavilion next Saturday.

“If baptism by immersion was good enough for Jesus, it ought to be good enough for us!” Lucy harrumphed. Rev. H.B. Stoddard kindly explained that baptism is symbolic, and it doesn’t matter if you are sprinkled, sprayed or submerged; just so you are baptized.

“Is that all the Baptists ever think about?” he pondered. “There are other things besides the sacrament of baptism in the Good Book, for (St.) Pete’s sake.”

He grinned knowingly an hour later when Lucy played the piano for the morning service: “Shall We Gather At The River.” The congregation sang lustily while Lucy glanced surreptitiously at Rev. Stoddard.

Worth honorable mention that awful “Oops” day was the theft of Rev. Stoddard’s 1940 Ford Woody Station Wagon, the Deluxe Model, no less. After four pimply-faced teenagers were caught driving it through the town of Sawtooth at breakneck speed, they were given a police escort back to their parents at Baptist camp meeting.

Standing there, digging his toes into the dirt road, young Ralph Sink explained, “OK, so, Oops. I made a mistake, Daddy. I thought it was your car.”

“Sure you did, son. Have you looked at our twelve- year- old battered, beaten-up Ford lately? It’s rusted badly on the trunk and three of the four hub caps are missing. The left back window has been broken for nearly a year so we keep replacing the tape. I can easily see where you’d mistake my car for Rev. Stoddard’s spanking new 1940 Ford Station Wagon with paneled sides and leather interior.

“Yessiree, Ralphie, I’d consider that a real “oops” moment; an honest-to-goodness mistake. Arrest him, officer!”

No one could accuse the Baptists of mollycoddling their camp meeting guests: the roads weren’t paved, everyone slept in tents, three meals a day were served in the large open-sided pavilion which quickly morphed into a church replete with crude wooden benches for the morning, afternoon and evening services. Showers were in several wooden stalls placed randomly around the tent area as were the men’s and women’s outhouses.

Immediately after the 3:00-4:00 pm service, Rev. Stoddard entered the men’s four-seater outhouse closest to the pavilion. He settled onto one of the middle seats.

He heard voices behind the outhouse but paid them little mind. Likely they were part of the grounds-keeping crew.

Suddenly, he felt a gush of water from a large fire hose shooting up from under the crude wooden seats. Someone was hosing out the outhouse! Water was coming at him through the three empty wooden holes as well as from under his own seat.

“Stop! Stop!” he screamed, but his voice could not be heard above the roaring, gushing sound of water being thrust through the huge fire hose.

He wasn’t only being covered with water but from other “debris” as well, so grabbing his pants twisted around his ankles, he opened the door and flung himself out on the grass.

Suddenly, one of the men from behind the outhouse appeared, emitting the loudest “OOPS!” in the history of “Oopses.”

“Carl,” he demanded of his fellow worker. “Didn’t you check to see if anyone was in there before we turned on the hose?”

“No, I thought you were going to check!”

“I’m very sorry, sir,” he called to Rev. Stoddard. “Would you like me to hose you off?”

Rev. Stoddard quickly thought of several appropriate responses, none of which would be welcomed at a Baptist camp meeting.

Speaking nary a word, Rev. Stoddard pulled his trousers up and walked directly to nearest shower, ignoring the gasps of adults and giggles of teenagers.

When Rev. Stoddard didn’t show up to preach at the evening service, no one asked why.

The camp director issued the following statement:

”Despite rumors to the contrary, let it be fully understood that today’s unfortunate incident involving our guest speaker, Methodist minister Rev. H.W. Stoddard, is NOT (I repeat, NOT) an approved method of baptism.”


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This article has been read 766 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Leah Nichols 01/21/10
Oh, the fun of camp pranks....NOT!
Lol....fun entry!
Helen Dowd 01/21/10
VERY funny! But not so funny for the poor Methodist preacher...SO, I surmise that Methodits and Baptists don't mix. Well, they DO-- sometimes. My mother was brought up strict Methodist, and my father was a Baptist...'nough said....My score is Methodist 3; Baptists 3. The mixture in my case produced 6 kids!!!...Great reading...Helen
Verna Cole Mitchell 01/21/10
We had lots of fun at campmeeting when I was young--but never anything as great as this. I love the descriptions and the humor in your story--beginning to end.
Sheri Gordon01/22/10
Very funny. Having sat on those old outhouse seats at church camp, I can only imagine the gushing water spraying up from underneath. Total yuck.

Great voice for this piece.

Barbara Lynn Culler01/22/10
I loved this piece, especially the ending remark about baptism. Too funny!
Gregory Kane01/23/10
A delightful, amusing story. I felt that the joyriding episode detracted somewhat from the central theme of baptism and might better have been omitted. But nevertheless an apt insight into camp meetings of a bygone era and the humour that accompanied all of the serious stuff.
Catrina Bradley 01/24/10
LOL! Too much fun. My Baptist church is next door to the Methodist church so this "rivalry" struck a familiar chord. Love it. :)
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 01/26/10
Having been the only United Methodist at many all Catholic and again the lone Methodist at the Baptist Church, I have empathy for the poor minister. But boy was it funny! My dad used to play the prank of outhouse tipping. A miscreant would tip an outhouse over on the door; leaving the only exit being the seat's hole. This story will qualify if an eeww topic comes up! It was delightfully told. I could picture my dad telling a similar story. He was quite the storyteller in his day, so that is a compliment.
Carol Penhorwood 01/26/10
I would have said delightful, but "Oops", guess that's not quite the right description! Great writing as usual!!
Bryan Ridenour01/26/10
Super writing and hilarious throughout. Well done!
Carole Robishaw 01/26/10
Loved this, so funny!
My dad used to tell about outhouse tipping, also.
Shirley McClay 01/26/10
Masterfully written, of course! I can't believe this actually happened. Humiliating. Wow. I think I would have died right then and there.
Patricia Herchenroether01/26/10
A fun read. That poor guy probably never went to another camp. Great ending. Patty
Noel Mitaxa 01/26/10
At first I thought we might become "immersed" in theological debate. I also wondered about how the car theft related overall, but I desperately need to know if the good reverend was "flushed with success!"
George Parler 01/27/10
What a fun story. This reminds me of the Baptist preacher comedian, Grady Nutt, who said, "The word baptize actually means: Put 'em under 'till they bubble."

Great telling of a funny story. The fact that this actually happened makes it even funnier. Good job.
Glynis Becker 01/27/10
Very funny! Nicely done :)
Jan Ackerson 01/27/10
Oh, so funny!

I felt mildly distracted by the incident with the car in the middle of the story; it didn't seem to fit in.

Your writing is always so excellent--I got a huge kick out of this, particularly the visual in the last several paragraphs. Hilarious!
Mariane Holbrook01/28/10
A couple of you mentioned that the car incident was disracting to the story. The reason I included it was because the topic was "oops" and the young man driving the "borrowed" car tried to convince his dad that he mistook the minister's car for the famly car. He used the word "oops" in his apology. It was just another of the unfortunate oopses that involved the visiting Methodist minister. The topic was not about baptisms but about oopses. But thank you all for your comments.
c clemons01/28/10
I read this entry because of the title. Enjoyed it. A minor bobble here and there but otherwise very good. p.s. I was raised Methodist.