Righteous Ralph’s Wrath

I’ve been imprisoned since I arrived back here in Iquitos last week. No, I’m not in jail. I have experienced a jail cell before.But that’s another blog.

“So why am I imprisoned here in this jungle town in Peru?” you may ask.
When I arrived back here in Iquitos the seventh of January from a prolonged stay in Atlanta the heat didn’t affect me much. At least not for the first couple of days. The third morning, though, I awoke to find my arms and legs painted with red dots. Heat rash. So I’ve been avoiding the sun since then. While stuck in my house I’ve been reading a lot and watching the telly.
Yesterday I saw an old movie that wasn’t dubbed in Spanish. In this flick a tall, gaunt-face old man decked out in a black suit was brandishing a huge black Bible as a weapon at a neighbor he was having trouble with.Striking the smaller man on the chest and shoulders with the book.
The scene reminded me of an incident that happened in Atlanta when I drove a city bus during the day while attending night classes at Georgia State University. Since I was new on the job and had little seniority, I had to work Sundays. One Sunday morning I was driving a group of young nurses I’d picked up from the Georgia Baptist Hospital to the Atlanta First Baptist Church on Peachtree Street.
I was to drop the nurses off at the rear entrance of the church. I wheeled the old bus into a narrow driveway I should not have entered. Suddenly, a shiny new Buick entered from the opposite direction and headed for the bus. A portly, middle-aged man hopped out of the Buick and shouted for me to back up. I tried to put the bus in reverse. But the gears became stuck. I motioned to the man that the bus would not move. I didn’t know if he misunderstood me or he just wanted to take out some frustration on me.
“Would one of you ladies please explain to him that I can’t move the bus?” I asked.
A slender red-headed nurse sitting in the side seat across from me replied, “Oh, don’t worry about him. Being upset is just his nature.Everybody calls him Righteous Ralph.”
The man’s face turned a bloody red. Shouting at the top of his lungs—I could only conclude that he was speaking in his version of the “Unknown Tongue”—he thrust the huge Bible at me like a heavyweight boxer trying to knock out his opponent. The nurses found this amusing. They came to my defense by playfully jabbing their own Bibles at him.
I believe, dear reader, that the Bible is the greatest book ever written. Regardless if one views it as a historical document, a book about theology, or, as I believe, a daily guide as to how to live one’s life—I’m confident the author didn’t intend it to be used as a weapon.

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