Some say that life is complicated. At my age, I say it is relatively simple. Get up every morning, honor God is all that I do, and go to bed at a reasonable hour. As I’m fond of saying It’s not rocket–science. So, I volunteer a lot. As a retired pastor, I have plenty of time and I can always find things that need doin’.
So, that’s how I ended up with a trunk full of very used golf balls. The Crazy Horse Country Club had donated them for the boy’s camp that is held each summer out near the ocean. How, a country club in rural North Carolina got the moniker Crazy Horse was beyond me and has never been explained to my satisfaction. I do know that it has nothing to do with that fellow who killed George Armstrong Custer at Little Big Horn. But, I digress. But there was craziness afoot that morning and that’s where the story takes a turn and gets interesting.
Before I could deliver the balls I had to stop by and see Mrs. Leckie, a widow for now going on 15 years. Her husband, Ned, had died on a fishing trip when a swordfish that he was reeling in suddenly leaped in the air, came down and…well, there’s no polite way to put this, skewered him, right through the heart. They later said it was a million to one chance of that ever happening. LouAnn Leckie took little comfort in the odds. Ned was gone, million to one or not. Pam and I kind of took her under our wing and cared for her as best we could. As an attractive woman of 45, we thought she’d re-marry. But there was no one like my Ned she’d say and after about 10 years she gave up on the dating crusade.
Pulling up to Mrs. Leckie’s (I could never bring myself to call her LouAnn) place I noticed that something was out of place. I kept looking at the house from across the street, trying to figure out what was askew. Then I saw it: the stuffed swordfish was missing from the living room wall—you could always see it from the street, centered as it was across from the picture window. Everyone thought it a bit macabre that Mrs. Leckie had the fish that killed her husband mounted on her living room wall. I mean, who does that? Something was seriously wrong. Mrs. Leckie, for reasons unbeknownst to the rest of the free world, treasured that trophy. For a split second I thought of calling Sheriff Chambers. Baker Chambers fashioned himself our Sheriff Andy Taylor, when in reality he was more like Barney Fife. So, putting that thought aside I cautiously approached the front door.
I would not believe this next part if I hadn’t seen it myself. As I opened the front door (we don’t knock in our small town) and crossed the threshold, there was Mrs. Leckie on the davenport and there was was the swordfish—you guessed it, it’s “sword” was skewered right through her heart.
When it was all said and done, it was ruled as an accidental death. Mrs. Leckie was dusting the fish when she stumbled backward, caught her foot between cushions on the davenport, fell backwards, and the fish was knocked off the wall and, well, you know the rest.
If the chances of Ned being skewered by a live swordfish are a million-to-one, it makes my head hurt to think of the odds of the same fish skewering his wife 15 years later—oh, and did I mention it was on July 11th, the same date, 15 years earlier of Ned’s ill-fated fishing trip?
Mrs. Leckie’s children destroyed the fish. The boys never got the golf balls. I can’t eat fish anymore.