Aunt Lynn called me this morning with word of breaking news from Coldwater, Mississippi. You might recall that Coldwater is home to the Copper Kettle - where they serve the best catfish and hush puppies in the mid-south. But that's a story for another day.
Anyway, Aunt Lynn was preparing a bowl of oatmeal when she experienced a rather ecumenical moment. She had just plopped a dollop of butter in the oatmeal when she suddenly saw what appeared to be the Virgin Mary --- in her oatmeal. Friends, that sort of thing doesn't happen all that often in northern Mississippi.
This burning bush moment is somewhat unusual for two reasons. First, most folks in Coldwater don't have visions until after their third six-pack.
And second - Aunt Lynn is a lifelong member of the United Methodist Church --- except for a brief stint back in the 1980's when she was hired by the Baptists to play the organ.
The Virgin Mary doesn't have a prominent role in the Protestant faith. Aside from a starring role in the annual church Christmas pageant, that's about it.
As a journalist, it's always important to second source any such sightings, so I asked Uncle Jerry what he thought. There was an image of something in the oatmeal, he said. He wasn't so sure it was the Virgin Mary, but when the butter started to melt it bore a striking resemblance to Carrie Underwood.
I suggested they take a photograph of the oatmeal and send it in for verification - but my suggestion came a bit too late. Aunt Lynn was hungry and she didn't want the oatmeal to get cold. And that pretty much ended an episode that could have put Coldwater on the map.
I was about to hang up the phone when I heard Uncle Jerry shouting in the background. He was incredulous. During all of the commotion over the oatmeal, Uncle Jerry had left his bowl of Fruity Pebbles unattended. He was about to dip his spoon into the cereal when he was taken aback.