by Reverend Michael “Wombat” Walrod
Michael’s 2021 comment: Still like this memory. It has been over 50 years since this happened. William and I still both recall it like it was yesterday. I can remember the light snow starting to fall on the already snow and ice covered ground. The blue Christmas lights on the courthouse. The crisp winter air. How times have changed.
Saved by Nativity Scene
The controversy on the Nativity Scene on the court house lawn in Centerville (2019) brought some memories. I believe Dallas County had one on the courthouse lawn years ago when I was a young, ornery kid. The Christian Church also had one.
I remember a winter night my BFF, William Fetty, and I were making the trek from the Parkview (Pearson’s) to the bowling alley. We decided to throw snowballs at a passing car. We did.
Pat Quinn slammed on his brakes and we hightailed it down the alley by the sheriff’s office. We heard Pat’s tires squeal as he tore around the block and we could hear him screaming some words much like Darin McGavin does in “A Christmas Story” while working on the furnace. We knew that if Pat and the guy with him, Steve (Pete) Strand, caught us we would never be found. Coming to the end of the alley we could see the beam of Pat’s headlights coming down the street.
The church prevented him from seeing us at that moment. I knew we needed to find a place to hide and I knew we only had seconds or we would be caught. I looked to the right and there was the Nativity Scene in front of the church, complete with a stable and hay bales. Quickly I said, “In here.” We dove into the manger behind hay bales and hunkered down as low as possible.
At about this time we hear PQ come around the corner. He stopped and we heard him yell something along the lines of “You little SOBIng MFers better show your faces now or I’ll kill you.” We stayed down behind the bales.
PQ and Pete circled the area in Pat’s car continuing to try and draw us out. Finally, they gave up and left. William and I cautiously climbed out, made sure the coast was clear and headed toward bowling alley. We made our way there like two convicts who had escaped from the confines of prison.
Anytime we saw a car coming we found a spot to hide until it passed by. A couple of times it was Pat and Pete. We could still hear Pat cussing and telling Pete what they were going to do if we were caught.
We made it to the bowling alley safely. After we were there awhile Pat and Pete came in. Asked us if we knew any kids who were throwing snowballs at cars. Pat stood there with a scowl on his face and he looked to be as big as Andre the Giant to us. Of course we innocently said No but if we heard we would be sure to let them know.
Thinking back on it now, I guess one could say that Jesus saved us that night. And as far as the controversy in Centerville goes, leave it there, you never know some young mischievous lads may need it to hide from certain death.