When I was a little boy in Amarillo, Texas, I was a highly accomplished liar. I could lie my way into or out of any situation. Really. I could. Reminds me of a story (imagine that).
Back then, we went to church at Grace Lutheran Church on Western Avenue. Pastor Messer was our Pastor and my mom played the organ and was the choir director. It was not a big church and finally folded sometime around 1969 or so. Anyway, the church had two buildings. One was the main church building and would seat about, oh, 100 people or so. The other building was a single story house that had been converted to classrooms and a fellowship hall. After church, all the grown ups would go over there to drink coffee and visit. The kids would, in good weather, be outside. There was an empty lot right next to that house that we would occasionally wander towards. The weeds were very tall so it made for good places to hide and get into trouble.
This one particular Sunday, me and a couple of other boys got into that lot with a book of matches. It was dry this time of year and we were lighting matches to little patches of grass in the middle of the dirt road that ran through that lot. We were having a great time as boys and matches are wont to do. Well…I decided that I wanted to see a little more fire than we were getting in that area of the lot. I put a match to a piece of grass on the edge of the road and let it burn on just a little too long. Of course, the fire got away from us and the next thing I knew, we had a pretty major fire on our hands within 100 feet of the church house! A bunch of grown ups came out of the house to fight the fire but it got away from them too. Somebody called the fire department and they showed up right quick. I thought it best to get back over to the house and out of the way. On the way, I ran into my dad who asked me who and how the fire started. In a moment of blazing integrity, I said, “I did it.”
I don’t remember a thing after that. I just know that, from that day forward, I became one of the best liars Randall County, Texas ever produced. I did eventually gain an understanding of integrity but that story would take awhile to tell.