If you haven’t read part One of the story, click here to read first.
As one can imagine, finding a suitable mate for a righteous and upstanding lady such as Mother Needlenose proved a formidable task: righteous and upstanding men worthy a perfectly sinless wife are few and far between.
And the most obvious choice, Billy Graham, was already taken.
Therefore Mother Needlenose was well on her way to achieving Old Maid status (which was just fine with her, because far better to sit home alone than to dare let an average man think himself approved unto Mother Needlenose) when at long last, just as her childbearing years began to grind to a halt, she met Papa Needlenose. Finally, a righteous and upstanding man of God who knew all the correct Baptist words to say to APPEAR righteous and upstanding!
Well, at least he appeared to be righteous and upstanding while Mother Needlenose was looking…
It was Papa Needlenose’s gift for quoting the words of the Lord semi-accurately with an air of self-important authority that won over Mother Needlenose. “Surely he is a great Baptist,” thought Mother Needlenose to herself, “because he speaks religious words so often, and with such self-importance,” knowing secretly that she was bound to find a trait or two of which to disapprove.
Disapproval was, after all, her spiritual gift.
Thus Mother and Papa Needlenose were married, and became a force to be reckoned with, intimidating non-church-goers everywhere with their religiosity. And under the watchful gaze of Mother Needlenose’s monacle, in true Biblical fashion, Papa Needlenose grew in righteousness and upstanding-ness and in favor with the Big Baptist Church.
(Or at least he learned to hide his tobacco habit really well, reasoning that it wasn’t a sin as long as only he knew about it.)
Papa Needlenose learned to bless those around him often with his self-important talk, self-importance being his spiritual gift. He spoke many words, often, both religious and otherwise, as he was quite the expert on any and every topic from dairy cows to college football to trombones to lugnuts. And he filled the ears of everyone from miles around with his many knowledgeable and self-important words.
However, it was the religious language he was truly a master of, and spoke Baptist words often, both to the righteous and upstanding who wanted to hear it, and plowing over those unrighteous souls who didn’t, uttering with self-righteous authority such profound Biblical phrases as “God will never give you more than you can handle,” “God helps those who help themselves,” and the all-time favorite Bible verse of righteous men everywhere, straight out of the pages of Proverbs*,
“A woman’s place is in the kitchen.”
*Whether those phrases are actually to be found in the Bible is irrelevant; Papa had read some of the Bible once, in his younger years, and having found himself to be in such like mind as the Good Lord himself, discovered he didn’t need to waste time reading it over and over again. Besides, it was widely accepted that he was righteous and upstanding, and had the gift of self-importance, so if Papa said it or thought it, it must be Biblical.
To the approval of Mother Needlenose, Papa was known around the Big Baptist Church as a gifted pray-er and was often called upon to pray out loud at church functions, being that he could pray the longest, wordiest, most religious-sounding prayers of just about any of the Deacons, prayers peppered with all the usual Baptist cliches: “Bless the gift and the giver,” and the most poetic, “Forgive us our sins of O-mission and CO-mission.”
His prayers were so impressive that many lesser Christians heard him pray (at length) and resolved to NEVER pray out loud because they were so inferior to Papa Needlenose’s self-important religiousity (to the smug satisfaction of Mother Needlenose).