Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Growing Up In Himni, Utah - Episode 7

Brother Goodwin’s Seminary Class was always a delight. Released time Seminary, for Latter-day Saint kids was held across the street from the High School in the Seminary Building. One period a day we spent over there ostensibly learning about the gospel. Brother Goodwin made that pretty likely. He loved the Lord. It showed. He loved us too. That also showed. Who can forget the day he stood upon his desk and delivered the Rameumptom Prayer. Or who can forget the day the phone call came to inform him that he had become the father of two adopted twins.
At the beginning of the year Brother Goodwin informed us that we’d be studying the Old Testament. He handed out our new Bibles. Next he divided us into Scripture Chase teams. He instructed us to organize our teams and to use the Bible in selecting names for our teams.

We huddled together and started brainstorming our way through the concordance. After some giggling, negotiating and mayhem the four teams came up with their names. Many of my best buddies were in that class and two of my closest, Mitch and Lew, were on my team! We called ourselves Noah’s Ark-angels. For a short time about then I had been nicknamed Noah on account of my having become proficient at reciting Bill Cosby’s “Noah” routine which we had on a long-play album.
Another good friend, Rob Hanke, lead up a team that called themselves Solomon's Wise Guys. (I’m sorry about that and I’m sure Brother Goodwin is too.)
The other two teams came in with Daniel’s Lions and, the envy of all of us The Golden Emerods. We had no idea what an emerod was but it sounded cool to us and cool was everything. If emerods were cool, golden ones had to be fantastic. The Golden Emerods included all girls and was headed up by a prissy little chick named Marci Merrywether. They were pretty good scripture chasers too and became our main rivals throughout the year. In fact later in the year, in a charitable ploy to even the odds, Brother Goodwin cheated in their behalf and spauned the Wet Topcoat Incident, but that is another story.
So the year labored on and we found ourselves studying in the book of First Samuel, whereupon we read:
1 Sam 5:9
9 And it was [so], that, after they had carried it about, the hand of the LORD was against the city with a very great destruction: and he smote the men of the city, both small and great, and they had emerods in their secret parts.
This was the story of the Philistines stealing the Arc of the Covenant from the Israelites, which sorely displeased the Lord. Naturally, we asked Brother Goodwin, again, what an emerod might be. He said he didn’t know, but something in his eye made me think otherwise. The Bible Dictionary didn’t offer a clue. Niether did the big dictionary over at the Library. I didn’t spend a lot of time fussing over it, but there was this little nagging itch in the back of my brain that really flared up when Marci got particularly snotty.
And so it was, that I found myself at BYU for a debate tournament with a little free time to visit the Library there. On a lovely wooden stand stood the largest dictionary I’d ever seen, Funk and Wagnal’s Unabashed Dictionary of the English Language or something like that. I looked up emerods and check out what I found:
‘ophel {o’-fel}
Hebrew: noun masculine
Possible Definitions:
1) hill, mound, fort, stronghold, Ophel
2) tumor, hemorrhoid
You can imagine which definition I favored. You can imagine Brother Goodwin’s dismay at my revelation to the class. You can imagine Marci Merrywether’s reaction to belonging to a scripture chase team named the Golden Hemorrhoids. (Might as well have been Gomer's Piles.)  And, I’m sure, you can imagine my thoughts upon the occasion of my own first encounter with those unpleasant little companions.

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