As long as I’m on my nostalgia kick, I thought I might as well throw in another picture I just found as well. It was taken in Ft. Pierce, Florida. I was an assistant at St. Andrews Episcopal Church back then, working for Ernie Bennett (who is also in the picture).
As you may know, there are two big college football teams in FL—the Gators and the Seminoles. And it just so happened that Ernie was a big fan of—you guessed it!—the Gators.
So, a friend (Donnie Wilson) and I headed out into a swamp where we knew there were some alligators around. We took a little fishing rod with a bass plug and cast it out into the water. Sure enough, this li’l alligator came swimming out and tried to eat the lure.We reeled him in, and, very carefully, carried him to the car. At that time it was a federal offense to even touch an alligator, but sort of like the Jake and Elwood, we were on a mission from God.
It was Saturday, and the Animal Blessing wasn’t until the next day, so the alligator went in the bath tub in our apartment. There have been many over the years who have believed, for a great number of reasons, that my wife qualifies to be a saint. In my defense, I did lock the bathroom door behind me.
We kept the alligator hidden under a towel until all the other animals had their turn. And then we presented the Florida Gator, as you see here, for a blessing (you may notice the tape around its mouth).
The alligator was returned to the swamp from which he came immediately following the service, now what might officially be called a... “holy terror”.