It began yesterday when I stopped at the store to buy myself a pair of new suspenders – bright red one to replace my broken black ones. They reminded me of my step-dad, Delmar Middleton, who wore red suspenders all the time.
The memory slipped from my mind until this morning. That’s when I read a note from Pastor Paula White-Cain that said: “Mountains don’t move unless you speak to them.”
That’s when I knew I had to write about an incident that involved Del, my mom and me one morning back in 1993. The three of us went into the hills to an area recently cleared by some large logging outfit, to cut up some deadfall for my folk’s fireplace.
Del and Mom were on the down side of the road, the part we had jus’ travelled up and I was on the upside with Del’s winch-equipped truck. I had jus’ finish setting the choke on a thick branch-sized log and was awaiting Del’s signal to fire up the winch.
As the winch tugged and the choke tightened, the log failed to move. Thinking I had misset the damned thing, I turned off the winch and started back up the hillside.
Del hollered at me to go back and crank the winch up all the way. I could hear he and Mom talking as she wondered if the winch had enough power to do the job.
“Oh, yeah, “Del exclaimed, “It’s got enough juice to move a mountain.”
Right then I threw the thing into max-power and watched as the log shifted and started to slide down the hill. As if moved, I noticed that the dirt beneath it was also moving.
“Mudslide!” I yelled, but by that time Mom and Del were racing down the road.
Not wishing to be outdone, I took off in the opposite direction, leaving the winch in gear. Had I tried to get around to the front of the tuck to power it off, I probably would’ve been run over or sliced into by the cable as it violently shifted farther down hill from the vehicle.
As we watch, the truck began to bounce up and down, moving a couple of inches at a time, then by a foot or two. By the time the mudslide and truck stopped, the log was jammed against the grille of the truck and the truck was hanging off the edge of the gaping wound that replaces the road and hillside.
It took us a couple of hours to get the truck back up onto the roadway and the rest of the day to find another way off the hill. We teased Del the rest of the day, warning him to be careful how he invoked God’s word.