In 1969, Geech joined the Jaycees. He had never had a chance to mingle with city folk that much, but these were a great bunch of people and they got along like peas and rice. At each regular meeting, they had a meal and a business meeting, along with story telling, laughter and lightheartedness.
Hump, as he was affectionately known, had just been elected President of the organization and was eager to make his mark on the community. He asked if the group would like to have a fund raiser for charity and of course they all agreed it was a good idea. Someone suggested a barbecue but the idea was voted down because everyone was having barbecues. Another said a fish fry would be something new, but how in the world to get enough fish for a community wide fish fry?
Geech wanted to be part of the plan so he said “I have a fish pond we can turn off. We’ll get enough fish to feed Pharaoh’s army.”
It was quickly decided this was a great idea and an opportunity to have an all night fellowship as well. Spend the night and seine the pond at dawn.
They were all gathered up at the pond, cooking supper, telling jokes and having a great time. Tents and sleeping bags were arranged and they were relaxing by the fire after supper when a jug of moonshine appeared. Everyone had to take a sip and all agreed it was the best they ever tasted.
Geech took a mouthful and spit it on the fire. The resulting explosion blew a burning stump off the ground and set two nearby Jaycees on fire.
At this, Thurman, a fellow Jaycee known as ‘Sucker eatin’ Thurman, named the whiskey ‘Old Earthquake.” One of the fishermen was enthralled enough to take a big drink, and another, and then another. He was told he better slow down but he wouldn’t listen. He was young, feeling his oats and thought drinking moonshine straight showed his manliness. His name was Mack and Mack didn’t last too long. In only minutes he was lying on the ground, stiff as a board, eyes open but not seeing anything.
None of them were feeling any pains as they took turns going over to look at Mack and to a chorus of laughter pronounce “come see the petrified man, still alive but out of touch.”
It threatened rain and they had to do something with Mack for it would have been unchristian to leave the poor man in the rain.
Harvey, a local florist who arrived after Mack went out for the evening, was pulling a homemade wagon behind his truck. The wagon was 8 feet long, 2 feet wide, 2 feet high and empty except for a few dried flower arrangements. He sometimes used it to haul flowers and thought they might put fish in it for it was insulated with styrofoam and burlap inside all around.
“Put Mack in the wagon,” Harvey said. This sounded like a good idea so they opened the lid and laid Mack inside. They put a pillow under his head, closed the lid and went back to the party.
According to Geech, after the rest of the Earthquake was consumed, things started getting a little foggy so everyone went to bed. He didn’t know someone fastened the lid on the flower wagon containing the petrified man.
About daylight Geech heard the awefullest screaming and pounding and looked up just in time to see the wagon lid splinter and fly open.
Mack jumped out, white as a sheet, and took off running shouting, “Thank You Lord, Thank You Jesuusss.” He jumped in his truck, spinned a circle and took off like Moody’s goose.
Three days later, Geech saw Mack at the John Deere place where he worked and, laughing out loud, asked him what happened. Mack’s hands were still trembling and voice quivering from what is now called post traumatic stress. We used to just call it ‘having the living crap scared out of you.’
Mack said, “I want you to know it ain’t funny. I woke up and it was pitch black. I couldn’t hear a thing. I had a pillow under my head and there were flowers around me. I felt overhead and on both sides and ends and it was like I was in a coffin. I thought, “Oh, Dear God. They think I died and they have buried me alive. I promised the Lord everything I had,” he said as tears began to flow, “and when that lid came open and I saw daylight,” his voice got higher and the tears got heavier, “I knew I was delivered. I didn’t have to be told twice to get the hell out of there and to get on the straight and narrow.”
Geech told him he had more Earthquake if he wanted some, but Mack declined.