When we were little kids back in the mid-forties, the first thing Karen and I would do when Dad’s brakeless ’36 Plymouth came rolling to a stop just before running into the irrigation ditch at the July 24 reunion would be to tumble out of the doors and windows and go thundering off to the orchard to join our cousins and Stan. Stan, who was unofficially known as Snake, had been adopted by Onkel Abe and Tante Anna and would still have been a student at Inverness High if he’d paid more attention to the rules. They’d picked him up either from an orphanage, which was Tante Anna’s story, or from a reform school, which was the more widely accepted theory. There were also different opinions about how he’d picked up the nickname. It was either because he enjoyed swimming in Beaver Reservoir on the Snake River, which was Tante Anna’s explanation, or because the name fit the reform school theory, which was Aunt Lena’s view of the matter. I myself leaned toward Aunt Lena’s opinion, figuring that she was probably the one who’d started the practice of calling him Snake.
That a dropout from a rabbinical school in upstate New York, an ordinary young man with the ordinary young ambition of moving to Hollywood and becoming a ﬁlm star, should be chosen to discover and translate the now-famous Bear Lake Scrolls and then to establish what quickly has become the fastest-growing religion in America, seems incredible. I must confess that when Father Lustlieb ﬁrst told me his story, I too was skeptical. In fact, I thought it was a joke. But after spending eleven years in his illustrious presence and giving his testimony careful and prayerful study, I am convinced that Alazon Lustlieb was exactly who he claimed to be: a true prophet, and an authentic saint.
He stood before the door of the principal's office, hesitant. He tilted his head back slightly, adjusted his trifocals, squinted through the narrow slab, and read the new nameplate announcing the new occupant as Ms. Penni Mode, Ed.D.
He took a large white handkerchief from a rear pocket. He unfolded it and wiped off the dewdrops that were beginning to form on his balding dome. He carefully refolded it and put it back in his pocket. Then he reached into his watch pouch, extracted the gold-plated timepiece he had inherited from his grandfather, thumbnailed open its worn cover, and checked the hour. Two forty-one: exactly on time.
One morning not long ago, I awoke with a start from the dead of a dreamless sleep to find that I had no memory. I did not know where I was, or who, or what place I held in the commodious order of things. Nor did I know the answer to the prime questions: How did I come to be here? and Why? I was even innocent of the order of being to which I belonged.
But as I will recount, I have been able to decipher these enigmas and come to complete and total self-understanding, relying entirely on my powers of observation, reasoning, and more than a little reflection.
Paul Enns Wiebe perpetually asks himself, "What do I want to write when I grow up?"