I remember being frightened by grown people hollering and pushing each other into the creek early one evening and one man so moved by the spirit that he was leaping in the bushes until he tore a ligament in his groin. A woman had a fit. The God my father turned to taking us all along was a southern, hill country God. He was hard and rocky and did not abide foolishness. I remember my notion of God at the time as a huge ear pressed to the ceiling, a giant eye at eh window always watching, listening for a child to sin. And I got the idea somewhere that if you took His name in vain once (once was all it took) you were immediately condemned to Hell. You might, I understood, after years of repentant abnegation, find some mercy for things like lying, cheating, adultery, murder but on muttered blasphemy and you were damned without recourse. I put a lot of effort into not saying goddamn and, with it always on my mind, it did eventually slip out and I became acquainted with the concept of hopelessness. And I became aware of the tremendous freedom of being beyond salvation.