While looking over the location before signing the lease for his new barber shop, Frank Bell immediately noticed the panoramic view just outside the sizable front window of the establishment. From the barber’s chair, a customer could see a good portion of the town square.
Looking across the square diagonally, Frank and his clientele had a clear view of Bearden’s Corner, famous for the four churches that called the site home. Just up the street, almost directly across the square from Frank’s shop, was the Hoffbrau.
Following his visit to the Methodist church the previous Sunday, Frank thought it was funny seeing the Lutherans leaving church and walking di-rectly over to the ‘Brau for lunch. As he walked around the square a few times, hoping Sarah Hyden-Smith might make an appearance, he noticed the members of First Baptist Church leaving about 20 minutes later.
"Funny," he thought. "None of the Baptists seem to be walking over to the Hoffbrau."
Little did he know that Brother Billy Joe had a firm rule against his con-gregants having lunch or dinner at the ‘Brau through the week. Most Bap-tists had decided breakfast was okay, since beer wasn’t generally served during the early morning hours.
It was Friday, and you can be sure Caroline’s Salon was "filled to the brim" with ladies having their hair done for upcoming Sunday services. Some mothers would bring their sons to Frank’s for a Friday afternoon cut, but most working men reserved Saturdays for their grooming, which tended to happen sporadically at best.
Elbert Lee Jones was having his hair cut when he gazed across the square at Iris Long, who seemed to be taking a picture.
"You see that?" Elbert Lee asked Frank. "That’s Iris Long. She runs the newspaper in town."
After a pause, he continued. "Well, I guess I should say she runs one of the newspapers in town."
Jones wasn’t about to forget his old friend, Raymond Cooper, the town’s newest publisher.
"He must have done it again," Elbert Lee offered with a chuckle.
"Done what?" Frank asked innocently.
"That Loren McBeevy," Jones answered. "He changes the sign in front of First Baptist Church two or three times a week."
Elbert Lee chuckled again before continuing. "He has a habit of not paying enough attention to what he’s putting on the sign. A couple of years ago, he was putting up the sign and forgot about the pastor’s name being on the bottom. He’s done that more than once."
Jones stopped to laugh before continuing. "When he finished putting up the letters, it read, ‘Who’s the biggest sinner?’ Then underneath was ‘Brother Billy Joe Prather.’"
"I’ll tell you," Elbert Lee continued, "We laughed about that for a month, and it was about that long before Billy Joe let Loren put up another sign."
Frank made a mental note to check out the sign when he had a free minute.
As he was sweeping the floor following Elbert Lee’s cut, Frank heard the familiar bell ring above the door, meaning someone was walking in.
"I just thought I’d check on our newest citizen," Sarah Hyden-Smith said with a grin. She wasn’t doing a very good job containing her pleasure. "You haven’t turned Lutheran on us this week, have you?"
Frank laughed before answering, "No, but I’m thinking I might become Baptist if the sign appeals to me today."
He explained to Sarah about watching Iris Long take a picture of the sign, so they decided to take a walk across the square to see what all the fuss was about.
As they crossed the square, it was obvious they weren’t the first to take interest in Loren’s latest work. There were close to a dozen folks laughing and pointing at the sign as they approached.
Apparently, Brother Billy Joe had instructed Loren to promote the up-coming men’s breakfast and turkey shoot.
There it was for everyone to see, and Frank was so glad he had a chance to see it before Brother Billy Joe had it removed.
"Best breakfast in town! Come and eat."
Just below those words were, "Brother Billy Joe Prather."
Sarah laughed out loud. It was the perfect second date.