Preacher Victoria by Samuel Cole

August 23, 2012 Comments Off on Preacher Victoria by Samuel Cole

As a small girl, she practically lived in a tree house even higher than the top of her real house, playing church service with her six favorite dolls. She healed the sick; fed the hungry; clothed the naked; forgave sins; served communion; taught the choir how to sing. Everything she did was a great big success. Whatever she touched turned out better than alright, but glory to God on high.

“You shall call me Preacher Victoria.” She sounded prophetic, pointing to each doll as if to say, don’t ever call me anything else for I am this and nothing else.

But sometimes, stupid weekends, she had to climb down the ladder and eat turkey and green peas with her turkey-and-green-peas-obsessed parents, leaving the spiritually nurtured dolls in the ever-watchful eye of the Lord.

“Someone is always watching,” she told the dolls. “Don’t ever try something.”

“Have you practiced your ballet?” her mother asked, removing some of the green peas from her plate. “You’ll never be any good at it if you don’t try.”

So the girl tried, but she wasn’t any good at ballet, or soccer, hula dancing, chess, synchronized swimming, horseback riding, knitting, or even reading books about wild horses knitting at the ballet.

“You must never give up,” she told the dolls during a lengthy afternoon sermon, titled, Let’s Keep It Going. “You must stay the course. You must fight the good fight.” But the dolls seemed unimpressed with her homily, each one falling over in laughter, and then, as if turning rebellious and wanting to do things their own way, they became sick, hungry, bare, and unforgiving. They refused to take communion. They wouldn’t move their lips one ounce during choir rehearsal.

But sometimes the girl snuck in food at night, not turkey or green peas, but stolen milk duds, whoppers, and dill pickle potato chips by Frito-lay. “Eat up, ladies. You mustn’t lose your strength.”

But the dolls were losing strength. Little by little, things like eyesight, hairlines, and cheekbones were growing so thin, so fast, none of them had enough strength for an appetite at all, not even to eat milk duds, their once favorite snack of all.

“These dolls look disgusting,” her mother said, scooping them up and stuffing them into a trash bag. Her mother walked around the tree house, and the girl, pointing out everything that must go. “Honestly, this is no place for a lady.”

The next day, watching her father from the bedroom window removing the tree house piece by piece, she decided to stop talking altogether, figuring she had nothing important left to say to anyone.

Years later, out for a quiet jog, she heard a little girl’s voice preaching salvation high up in a tree house. Running in place, she smiled whenever the girl yelled Amen and wept when the girl climbed down the ladder and ran toward her mother who was waiting with open arms, as if welcoming her back home from a long, perilous journey.

© 2012 Samuel Cole

Samuel Cole loves to run, photograph old lanterns, play piano, hang with friends, and of course, write. Often, his eardrums pop from so much creative thinking. You can read more about him at

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