My dad, a minister, should hug the liability forms kids signed before they went on youth group trips. Seriously, is there a harder working piece of paper on the planet? I had a hard time picking just one time that we put that liability form to the test but then I remembered the “snow incident.”
Our youth leader thought it would be funny to have a kid named Sean sled on his feet by holding on to the side mirror of his pickup truck because the snow was so thick. It was hilarious, like a moment out of Dawson’s less attractive creek. For extra kicks, my youth leader decided to run Sean into a small tree on the side of the road. When he hit the tree though he fell at an odd angle. He slipped back toward the car and with a sickening bounce, the rear axle rolled over him.
We skidded our van to a stop and ran to where Sean lay screaming in the snow. He was grasping his knee. It wasn’t bloody. There wasn’t a bone sticking out but he was definitely in horrible pain. As he yelled, he started to curse, which given the situation was fairly understandable. Out of circle of people around Sean I heard one of our youth leaders say, “Sean, language please.”
There aren’t any strangers in Lonesome Crick. In a town that small, everyone is either family or friend. Everyone knows everyone else and there’s a sense of kindness that permeates the town like a vein of cinnamon running it’s way through a delicious loaf of raisin bread. But this morning was different, because on a horse as black as night, a man was riding into town. With a beard that said he’d spent the night out in the open and a glint to his eyes that seemed sharp and dangerous, he slowly rode into Lonesome Crick. Who was he? Was he safe? Probably not, because you knew he was bad to the core. Because, because … he was smoking a cigarette. What did he want with Lonesome Crick?