Thursday, October 6, 2016

In Fowlerville, Michigan, Wilbo Contemplates the Sermons of Pastor Bill Fleming and Enjoys Lunch at the Bloated Goat Tavern Downtown.

We attended a church in Fowlerville, Michigan. St. John's Lutheran Church still stands and operates as a Lutheran Church, although the church had no open doors today. Wondering if the pastor's wife was cleaning the inside windshield of her truck. She was cleaning the truck in the parking space before the rectory. I didn't want to bother her with a request to open the church. I could walk around the sanctuary by memory. We worshipped there until 1980, when we stopped attending church all together. Pastor Bill led the congregation, a man who came to the ministry late in life, encouraged by the woman who became his wife. She invited our confirmation class over to the rectory for hot fudge sundaes once. Pastor Bill often talked about the Bloated Goat Tavern in his sermons.

Pastor Bill often talked about the Bloated Goat Tavern in his sermons. Maybe he was kidding when he said, "The Devil fights for our souls even while we are sitting in the pews. The people who sit upon the barstools at the Bloated Goat Tavern? He's already won their souls. So the devil pays them no mind at all". So I had to pay a visit to the Bloated Goat Tavern. I had a connection to Fowlerville going back to 1969, and I had never stepped foot into the Bloated Goat. I wandered to the back of the narrow saloon with wooden floors and a long oak bar. I couldn't count all the beer mirrors on the eastern wall. The bartender walked up to me and asked if I wanted a drink. I did. I told her how Pastor Bill joked about the Bloated Goat in his sermons. She laughed. "That's funny. I teach Sunday School".

She laughed. "That's funny. I teach Sunday School at St. John's Lutheran Church. Many of my customers are Godly people". The door of the saloon welcomed me in when the door of the church wouldn't open. I took a stool at the bar between two farmers drinking Bud Light. I remembered the sermon when Pastor Bill announced that St. John's could no longer leave the door to the sanctuary open all hours for prayer. Local churches had locked their sanctuary doors at night also after a string of thefts. St. John's felt it wise to follow their example. Sermons weren't recorded in the seventies at small churches. I would like to hear that one again now that I know the story of Jean Valjean, who stole silverware from the Bishop of Digne. The Bishop of Digne gave Valjean the silver candlesticks from the cathedral altar and dropped charges against Valjean.

One of the farmers ordered another Bud Light and explained about goats and bloating, "Here's what I know about bloated goats. Goats eat all kinds of greenery to keep full. They are known for an ability to eat almost everything. Occasionally, a herb or grass will give a goat gas, massive gas. It almost looks like demonic possession, a goat ballooned up, lying on its side, legs thrashing. This massive gas is deadly because bloating can shut down normal organ function. Thus, a pin must pierce a tiny hole in the goat's bloated stomach. Saw a herd saved this way in a British Film once."

I stood him another Bud Light. 

 — at Bloated Goat Saloon.

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