December 15, 2006
When I was a kid, my Mom’s favorite thing to watch on television was the Billy Graham Crusade.
My Dad liked The Twilight Zone, The Prisoner, and Roger Corman Edgar Allen Poe movies.
So, naturally, I grew up with a morbid fear of Billy Graham. The hymn, “Just as I Am” still gives me a massive case of the creeps.
But I feel kind of bad, for old Billy, because of an article I read the other day.
It seems, the son that has taken over the ministry is planning the final resting place of Billy, and his wife. A tourist attraction that looks like a barn, where visitors will be greeted by an animatronic cow.
Oooookay. Didn’t see that coming. I don’t care if he was raised on a farm, nothing about the rest of his life screams, “Bury me by a talking cow.” But apparently, Billy agreed to his son’s wishes, at one point, and now, the rest of the family (who are, apparently, anti-cow) are trying to talk him out of it.
#1 son was in the room as I was reading this, and I turned to him and said, “Under no circumstances, are you to bury me under a talking cow.” And then, in a moment of weakness, I said, “Although… it might be kinda cool.”
“Got it. Bury you under a talking cow.”
“You just said…”
“But I didn’t mean…”
“I distinctly heard it! Talking cow. Motion activated. Scaring people when they walk past.”
Well, damn. Now I know how Billy feels. You slip, for a moment, and the next thing you know, you’ve got a Holstein headstone, saying, “Even when she was little, we cows knew there was something special about Chris. She made the milk come out our noses.”
Except, when I was a kid, I was never allowed around cows, despite the fact that my mother’s side of the family was mostly dairy farmers. I was told that my presence would upset them, and they would give less milk. So, while I can remember visiting my Uncle Freddy’s farm many times, and I can remember Freddy’s voice (Teutonic Pop-eye. Buy me a drink, and I’ll do the impression) and the warm, unpasteurized milk, and flies, and the smell of manure, I can never remember seeing any cows.
Now, when I walk down the road, and my neighbor’s cows, who are really bored, trot over to the fence and keep pace with me, I am a little worried that if I look at them, they’ll dry up.
My neighbor assures me, this is not a problem.
“Do you want to pet them?”
“Because they won’t mind.”
“They’re a little pesty, but…”
“No, really, thanks.”
So, basically, I’m afraid of Billy Graham, and cows. The combination of the two is absolutely terrifying.