My heart was full; I made no vows, but vows
Were then made for me; bond unknown to me
Was given, that I should be, else sinning greatly,
a dedicated spirit. On I walked
in thankful blessedness, which yet survives.
—William Wordsworth, The Prelude
And Jesus began to speak unto the people, 'What went ye out
into the wilderness to see? A reed
shaken in the wind?'"
I was born a preacher's son, the third of four given my parents, and probably the worst. I possessed an unflinching contempt for school. I got into fights, constantly, set off a smoke bomb in the girls' lavatory, and pulled the fire alarm more than once. Inevitably, I was sitting in the principal's office feeling greatly ashamed, for half the teachers in the school attended my father's church. Some sang in his choir.
We lived in northern Pennsylvania in a town called Smethport, where loggers, coal miners, mill workers, along with those teachers,
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