There was a pastor of a church. He and his family lived down the street. Mr. Shank had three sons. You know what they say about preacher’s children and how wild they are. Well, this family was no exception. Some are, I suppose.

The boys grew up to be men. They were used to a heavy hand. Some say a sheltered life can lead to wild behavior.

They were in and out of jail and the pastor worried and wrung his hands. He felt the humiliation every day: every day of his life, and he folded under it. He grew more bitter and less understanding as the years rolled on.

His wife Millie got by. She handled her stress by using Mr. Shank’s toothbrush to clean the toilet.

Soon the sons were in lock-up for life. I went to visit the youngest in the state pen and he confessed to me that he had never loved anyone, really.

I still think about that. I don’t know what happened to Mr. Shank or Millie.

Jamie Godwin

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