I may be risking eternal damnation for this egregious breach of faith. But I need to ponder a question which has frequently bothered me in the past, because it became personal this weekend. I have long been amused by the tendency of believers who have suffered some tragic mishap to thank the deity of their choice that it was not worse. “It’s too bad the still exploded and killed Grampa, but thank God a few gallons of shine survived.” Why does the Almighty always get the credit for the good parts, but not the blame for the bad? If he was really intervening, why couldn’t he save the whole still instead of just a couple of gallons? Saturday, as Crossbo and I galloped through the woods with a freshly-blessed St. Hubert’s medal hanging around my neck, a catastrophe occurred which left me wondering whether there was any mojo in that medal at all.
We were running along a narrow trail which had a few jumps across it to keep horses and riders awake. Suddenly a voice behind me said “You’re leaking booze.” I thought maybe my flask cap was a little loose, and I looked down to see that the cap was not loose, it was completely gone, and rocknrye was gushing down Crossbo’s flank.
Under less strenous conditions, the obvious thing to do would have been to consume what was left in the flask before all was lost. But unfortunately, we were in a situation where that just wasn’t feasible. And, as we continued over several more jumps, that assured that the flask would be tipped up to pour out any contents that might have been saved if it had remained level. And the tragedy was mocked by the comedian behind me making more comments like “I’m getting drunk from the fumes back here,” and “You better hope it doesn’t soak into your horse and make him drunk.”
I don’t think Crossbo suffered any ill effects, other than the nuisance of the flies that were happily buzzing on his flank, in all senses of the word buzz. But where was St. Hubert when I needed him?
Maybe he was there. Another witness from the rear told me later that, as I was distracted by the tragedy, my head missed an overhanging branch by a mere fraction of an inch. It’s possible that St. Hubert was watching, and reached down and raised that branch an inch as we raced underneath it. But why couldn’t he have reached down a few minutes earlier and tightened that cap before it was lost? Is it possible that some greater emergency needed his attention at the critical moment, and he only managed to get back to me in time for a little damage control? Or was it due to the incomplete blessing murmured by the bishop as he hung the medal around my neck? If I recall correctly, his words were “The Lord bless you and your hunt.” Maybe he should have specifically included the flask in the blessing. But if “you and your hunt” doesn’t include items in my possession, does that mean it also doesn’t include my beloved and trusted partner, Crossbo? If that’s the case, it’s a pretty damn worthless blessing.
So now I’m pondering whether I need to thank St. Hubert for my head still being intact, and if so, whether it’s fair to also blame him for the fact that I had to finish the rest of the hunt with only my backup flask of Rowan’s Creek (which I was trying for the first time and turned out to be quite acceptable), and some good port generously shared by another hunter.
And, as I was getting ready to post this, I realized that my last post was an extended discussion of Murphy and his unavoidable law. Now I’m wondering whether he had any part in this. Were Hubert and Murphy duking it out over my fate as I galloped down that trail? Was Hubert raising that branch with one hand while futilely trying to wrest my flask cap from Murphy’s grasp with the other? Was I blessed, cursed, or both?