This story deserves my Muttersprache but we have no Bud's for You. I always knew the contours of this lofty tale but this week a very dear friend, the world famous writer Bernd Laengin was remembered. His wife, Christa Laengin an entrepreneur and a lady of highest reputation among the Natives in Northern Manitoba and in Northwestern Ontario, had invited their chiefs to the Remembrance and they all came to pay their respects. As did a genuinely pious 92 year old minister of the word, an old-fashioned preacher, a savant who knew half the Bible by heart and who filled in the chinks of this story. Christa Laengin is the noblest spirit alive and since she has financially supported the Man of the Word as mentioned, she deserves a doff of the hat and a portion of our souls to bless.
Love to all!
When Peter Klassen Jr. of the Grünthal Bergthaler church became as wealthy as he had always been ambitious, the Mennonite community did exactly what it has always preached against but has always done: It made him the collection plate supervisor. Peter initially feigned resistance and professed modesty Mennonite style, namely humility, but then was formally installed as the keeper of the plate and purse. That worked. Should gossip surface, and the chiefest of such wagging was Peter's Frau Gertie, Peter now had the authority vested in him to prevail.
That worked and from that moment on, Peter had the finances under his control. Since he had long professed loyalty and commitment to mission endeavors, the necessary trust for the office was his of now and likely, by tradition, for evermore.
Everything worked just well; Peter was amusedly serious and his wife proud and their children dutiful. It was the sixth year into Peter's term as the keeper of the purse that the finances after the Thanksgiving Sunday celebration did not meet projected and customary amounts of gratitude converted into cash. For many years, previous donations and offerings had been niggardly of necessity but then the dairy, hog and broiler investments gradually produced profits, big time, and every church-bound alley was macadamized, both literally and figuratively.
However, the collection plate, under Peter's lordship had sustained a few miscarriages and now, suddenly, an abortion. Gossip turned to malice and Peter was summoned to what Old Colony men of serious repute called the Day of Thunder, Donnadach. Nothing jibed except shallow and hollow excuses and Peter was given till Christmas to come up with a redeemable course of action.
Peter was in deep trouble and other matters, to which benefits of the doubt had been previously granted him, were rehashed and Peter now had to resort to many nimble tactics to save his skin and his assholian repute.
He did the obvious thing and contacted his life long buddy, a more educated but equally seasoned in niftinesses, Peter Thiessen and asked for urgent accommodation. Such was granted.
Both had over many years honed the sharp edges of absolutes into manageable roundness of less offensive friction and, knowing their community and the priorities that worked, they mobilized an older, restless man of the spirit, one Martin Doerksen, a bit of a self-styled emperor without much of an empire. The Rev. Doerksen handily agreed to their plan to become a missionary among those less fortunate among us, the Indians, the Natives.
To that end, they had to come up with tangibles, namely where and when they could turn their intentions into practical application. And affordable in any case. They knew full well that when it came to native missions the prevailing mind-set was handily exploitable. Money could be mined out of obdurate and resisting pockets of the majority who were mission-minded enough but just as calculating when it came to investments of the Natives, widely regarded as lazy, no-good and useless. All three were agreed on these attributes but they also knew that those of guilty conscience, the Canadian government in this instance, could always be relied upon to disperse funds without many checks and balances in the direction of the Native Cause and Concern.
Within a month, the three had leased a bit of an old fashioned DC-7, a reliable old air-horse and a bush pilot to trace the initial route of their endeavors, namely a pontoon craft to fly Winnipeg, Dryden, Sioux Lookout, Pickle Lake and then home again. Old political contacts were re-heated, at least re-warmed, and they were off in the name of the Lord and with a Sweat Lodge, Native style awaiting them in the Sioux Lookout proximity.
The successful completion of this missionary plan would restore Peter Klassen's good name in the collection plate circles, give sense and direction and respectability to Peter's mentor and life-long buddy, Peter Thiessen, who intended to show his own world and himself what the Lord could and would do if finally given a proper chance; and certainly the endeavor would bestow on the ambitious man of the word, Rev. Doerksen an overdue blessing.
Der Mensch denkt
Und Gott lenkt;
Der Mensch dachte
Und Gott lachte.
is more than an adequate translation and intent.
The three bowed for a word of prayer, boarded the plane and were off on their new endeavor of saving the lost and needy of word.
Even before the ubiquitous water bottle was custom, the Rev. Doerksen, a huge man, drank copiously from every tank except the beer spigot. Flying is exciting enough but the laws of nature still prevail and while bush planes can execute almost unbelievable feats, they lack plumbing. After much re-arranging of legs and intentions, it was between Kenora and Dryden that gravity and a full bladder prevailed over decorum and Martin Doerksen copiously pissed himself for the first time since age three. He honestly and really did not believe that the Lord would allow this to happen but He did and now the good reverend sat there in wet discomfort and in terrible embarrassment and shame. The two Peters offered lame excuses but all consolations were as thin as the air whistling past them.
The Germans have a bit of an anecdotal response for such occasions: "Wer einmal liegt, kann nicht mehr fallen" once you're down you can no longer fall. Such worldly wisdom is sufficient to piss most people off but not Martin Doerksen in his present state. It was not long before a second voiding of the piss pouch in high altitude dampened shorts, pants and lofty spirits. Before the three were deposited for their nightly sojourn in Sioux Lookout, Peter Thiessen, likewise a stout three hundred pounder and the only one with an extra pair of pantaloons in his sparse luggage, assisted the Rev. Doerksen in re-panting.
The only reason the two Peters escaped the embarrassing fate of their missionary for hire is because the plane had on yesterday's trip transported American fishermen to a remote lake and two empty six packs were located in the luggage compartment by those of urgent bent. An oil funnel also came in handy and both Peters hauled out their peters and each pissed full six This Bud's for You somewhere in the remote loftiness between Dryden and the Sioux.
When this motley trinity later that evening emerged from the Sweat Lodge and took a dip in a cold pool Peter Thiessen's naval cavity, the center of his huge pot belly imploded, and two of the local Natives, noticing his receding bud, there and then bestowed on him the nickname of Pothole Peter.
Since Peter Klassen's reputation has somehow preceded him, his new Indian name was Beer Bottle Pete, while Doerksen's airborne fate, fully revealed, occasioned a re-christening as well. He was henceforth known simply as The Pissing Pastor.