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The Sideshow From Hell

Updated: May 2

Do you ever see something and wonder why it was put before you? Maybe you are scrolling through the channels, looking for something that doesn’t insult your intelligence, and you pause on one of the “reality” shows. In those brief seconds, you see something horrifying. Eyes wide, you quickly click the channel and wonder if it was just God’s way of telling you to keep the idiot box turned off until the beginning of college football season.

It was not that long ago that Sandra and I glanced across one of the ravines of life and saw an Appalachian sideshow. A wagon full of the results of careful inbreeding, yelling at one another, squabbling about nothing.



The image was striking, the nasty father with a nasty beard and a snarl to match. An aging Ellie Mae-wannabe, complete with tube top, swollen belly and dark roots. A bevy of kids that looked nothing alike. We couldn’t hear the words, but the shrill cacophony made it to our ears. The voices evil, wicked and suggest gossip, hatred and pettiness.


We surmised that they won the lottery because instead of the expected rags, they were dressed in expensive and exceptionally tacky clothes, festooned with garish logos, advertising for the companies that make the overpriced, tasteless garb.


When you see something like that, you want to take your eyes away but in that brief moment, you simply can’t. Next we saw a young man fall into the ravine, his body pulverized against the rocks, lifeless and limp as he cartwheeled down. Was he was pushed or just couldn’t bear the environment anymore? Immediately the siblings feign horror, one with a sly little glint in her eye. The mom, with a cigarette seemingly glued to her lower lip, yelled at everyone. The wagon didn’t pause for even a moment.


The image was so vivid that we could almost smell the acrid tobacco. Dad hunched his narrow shoulders and cruelly whipped the swayback mule on his scarred haunches. The mule, seemed to try to be oblivious to it all, ears back in annoyance.


We were not sure what the hell we had just seen...and watched the tortured beast steadily pulling the square wheeled cart, perhaps willing his yoke to break so that he might be freed from this torturous servitude. In that small moment of time, before they disappeared around the mountain, the image was recorded in our minds, somehow more vivid than it had actually been.


We ask ourselves, “what the hell did w just see?”

And if you don’t believe in coincidence, you ask yourself “why?” Why?

Why indeed If you are like us, you take the glimpse into inbred theatre as a reminder to be appreciative for what you have. Our wonderful harmonious life, that is so blissfully free of drama. A delightful family on which we can depend. A treasure trove of dear friends that we consider family. A lovely house to shelter us, a nest in which to make a home. We could go on and on, but rest assured, we are blessed beyond measure not only because what we have, but because of what we don't.


So we take a moment, take a knee and pray to God. We promise that we will always be grateful. That we will always count our blessing. We also pray for the lost souls that we witnessed. On bended knee, with head bowed, we uncharacteristically ask something of Him, rather than as we usually do, simply accept everything that He so graciously gives us.


We pray that He keep that sideshow far, far away.

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