We called him “Preacher Man,” because he was an ordained Baptist minister, pastored a country church, and worked a full time job as a union carpenter.
He was a jolly fun loving guy, and would pull a prank on a co-worker in a heart beat. As a result, the pranks daily went back and forth between the preacher and the rest of us. And he could hold his own against the best. Preacher Man was, without a doubt, the best liked and most respected man on the construction job site in the 1950's West Texas town of San Angelo. He was about the jolliest and happiest, fun loving man I ever worked with. I just loved that guy.
Buddy sneaked out at lunch time, jacked up Preacher Mans pick-em-up-truck rear wheels, put blocks just so the tires touched the ground, yet would not get traction to move. Preacher Man thought the transmission had gone out, then had the biggest laugh of all when he found the “problem.” To retaliate, he put a whistling smoke bomb in Buddies truck. That one caused a commotion that was heard all over the job site.
Every day at lunch time, we sat down to eat, and Preacher Man took out his thermos of coffee, sandwich, apple, and boiled egg. He would crack that egg on his head, laughing like it was the funniest thing ever. We all kidded him about that. Then Buddy got the idea of switching a raw egg for the boiled one. So the sneaky plan was implemented, we switched the egg in his lunch box. Everyone was made aware of the prank. At noon, there were dozens of workers subtly watching as the prank played out.
Preacher Man laid out his lunch, took the egg and whacked it on his noggin. You can't imagine the look on his face as the egg splattered all over his head, running down under his collar. He jumped up and yelled, “I'm gonna kill that woman. When I get home, I'm gonna kill that woman.” All afternoon, he kept saying what he was gonna do to his poor innocent wife when he got home. A couple of us became worried that his wife was going to suffer as a result of the prank. At quitting time, he went to put his tools in his pick up, and was still ranting about “whipping that woman" when he got home.
I decided to tell him the truth about the egg, so it wouldn't cause him and his wife problems. I said, “Preacher Man, we put the egg in your lunch pail, not your wife.” He started laughing hysterically. He could barely talk from laughing. “I know that,” he said,”I pack my own lunch box. Had you guys going, didn't I?” He may still be laughing. He deserved the satisfaction of once again outdoing the pranksters.
That Preacher Man! One of the best pranks we ever pulled on him, and he had the last laugh. You just couldn't get the best on that old West Texas Baptist Preacher Man, circa 1951 Texas time. He was a wonder, if he preached better than he pranked.
You can reach Roy Bale at firstname.lastname@example.org