Friday, June 10, 2005
GUNS AND JESUS III
Booth Number 649
I stopped at several booths here and there and talked to different sellers and listened to their spiels. It was all quite entertaining, actually. I took a break for a cup of coffee and a donut, then stopped at booth number 649, owned and operated by Luther Bavitch and his wife, Melissa. Luther’s booth was mostly all knives, everything from the smallest Swiss Army Knife with two folding stainless steel blades, that would easily fit in your watch pocket, up to some really big Bowie knives with elk horn handles and grisly serrated bayonets. Somehow, I didn’t think those knives were for cleaning fish.
Hanging on the back wall of the booth was a beautiful four-foot long Samurai sword in a shiny gold scabbard decorated with intricate engravings. Price for the sword--$10,000. What made it so valuable, Mr. Bavitch said, was that it was about five-hundred years old and that it had been used by the actor, Toshiro Mifune, in the movie, The Seven Samurai. Well, I didn’t know whether to believe that or not, and even if it were true, I’m not sure that would make it worth ten grand, except in Mr. Bavitch’s mind. But I suppose it’s worth whatever someone’s willing to pay for it. To give some credence to his claim, Mr. Bavitch had posted several movie stills of Toshiro Mifune right under the sword in little black plastic frames. Sure enough, in each picture, the famed Japanese actor was shown either wearing a big sword on his hip or wielding one in his hands. But the pictures were too murky to be able to definitely identify his sword as the one hanging in Luther Bavitch’s booth.
Still, Mr. Bavitch was a jolly sort—very thin, stringy looking fella with long black hair, a ring in his ear and tattoos on his arms. He wore black blue jeans and a black sleeveless sweatshirt emblazoned with gold script that proclaimed: “Luther’s Knife World, Carson City, Nevada.” His talk was constant, sprinkled with a lot of jokes, many of which were somewhat off-color. Every time he told an off-color one, his wife, Melissa, would laugh and say, “Oh, Luther! You’re so bad!” She sat to one side, in a high-backed rocking chair, doing cross-stitch. In contrast to her husband, whose arms resembled shredded beef jerky, her arms were about as big around as fair sized watermelons. Her pale white and blue checked dress looked homemade. It fell to about mid-calf and tied in back with a bow. Not unlike the kind of dress you might see on a five-year-old. She had long lustrous blonde hair with little girl bangs and her skin was creamy white. She looked like she lived on a diet of mutton and fresh goat’s milk.
They both chatted like magpies and seemed to thoroughly enjoy the frenetic gun-show atmosphere. Melissa rocked and worked right along as she talked, never missing a stitch. Her cross-stitch featured a house with a man on one side and a woman on the other, both wearing overalls. There was a dog and a cat, a little boy and a little girl. And a printed legend over the whole thing that said: “A House Is Not A Home Without Jesus.”
I asked them if they had any children and they said, yes, they did, indeed, have a boy and a girl. Their names were Sammy and Shelby. Melissa said she was going to cross-stitch their names under them, but she just hadn’t gotten to it, yet. She had already put “Mother” and “Father” under the mother and father figures. “Oh, I would love to have three or four more kiddoes,” she said, “if I could just get him off the road for a few days.” Her whole body shook with laughter. She looked like she could handle having a few more kiddoes.
While I stood there talking to Luther and Melissa, another fella walked up with his young son. He introduced himself as Jubal Durfee and his son, Billy. Jubal was about thirty-five. He wore a T-shirt that said, “Christians aren’t perfect, just saved”; his blue baseball cap featured a hand gripping a large pistol with the words, “Keep Back” printed underneath. He looked like he worked out—his arms were big and muscular, he had a bulging neck and his pecs stood out through his T-shirt. Billy looked about fifteen, wore a Nike T-shirt, baggy pants and a baseball cap screwed on backwards.
Jubal asked Luther some questions about knives, then we all somehow got into a discussion about the recent fight in the Senate over the filibuster issue. Of course, Jubal and Luther were pretty upset that certain Republicans had compromised. That’s when Melissa chimed in. “Well,” she said, looking up from her cross-stitch, “far as I’m concerned, John McCain is toast. He’s a traitor to our party, and we just need to kick his sorry butt out, along with all those other moderates.” I noted her smile was gone for the first time. Now, her soft round face was flushed and she was panting a little. You’d have thought the Republicans had come out in favor of abortion instead of merely brokering a compromise in which the filibuster can stay as long as the Democrats don’t use it, and the Republicans will still be able to seat the most zealous right-wing judges since the Salem witch trials.
“Yeah,” said Jubal Durfee. “I’ve just about gotten my fill of these moderates in the party. They’re out to destroy our country.”
Jubal’s voice cracked slightly. For a second, I thought he was going to cry. I couldn’t help but be amused over all this grieving over “moderates.” It seemed only yesterday, it was the “liberals” who were the devil incarnate. Today, it’s the “moderates.” I wondered who it would be tomorrow. But I’ve heard that in some circles nowadays, even G. W. isn’t considered rabid enough anymore.
More to come, including an interview of Mr. Durfee! A real eye opener!