The parson snuggled himself into the warmth of the sweatshirt which covered his dress shirt which, in turn, covered his long sleeve t-shirt, all of which were covered by a warm sweater. The parson’s ancient blood ran thin, and one nights as this, sitting in a rocker on the porch of a mountain cabin perched on the rim of Cloudland Canyon, the layered clothing brought warm comfort. Additional comfort was afforded by the abundance of Georgia muscadine wine.
The parson was the guest of Ed and Jennifer Mauldin. They were spending a fall vacation week at the park and had invited the parson to spend one night with them. Ed and Jennifer had fallen in love while serving at student pastors at the parson’s church a couple of decades before. Now they served as co-pastors of a church a couple of states west. Once a year, the boarded their children with grandparents for a week and headed for a week of uninterrupted togetherness. This year, obviously, was an exception since they’d invited the parson for the night, the parson living only an hour’s ride away. The parson, who’d officiated at their wedding and baptized all three of their babies, was delighted to be with them.
It was shortly after the hooting owl has finished her lullaby and the second bottle of wine consumed Jennifer asked, “Okay, Parson, I’ve been waiting a couple of years to ask you about something. Now, Ed and I sometimes recognize people from your stories. And the truth is sometimes, while the story is true, things didn’t happen quite as dramatically as you sometimes describe them.”
Jennifer glanced over at Ed with a smile on her face. She then turned back to the parson. “So here’s the thing. You used to insist that we be professional in our sermons and such, making sure we gave credit where credit was due and all that. So, do you have an excuse for the literary license you take with some of your tales?”The parson finished his glass of wine, set it upon the porch rail, leaned back in his rocker, and said, “Oh, Jennifer, I don’t have an excuse. But, the truth be told, as the Wizzard said to the Hobbit, ‘All good stories deserve embellishment.’”