|JOKES 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 ABOUT CREED MEMORIES CEREMONIES|
The ancient locomotive, its carriages in tow, lumbered the final few hundred metres to the end of the line. Groaning and hissing it rolled at walking pace through the open gates of welcome and beneath the wrought epigram of the final arch: “The Truth Shall Make Thee Free.”
In the great marquee the Salvation Army were ready for the disembarkees: soup, tea or coffee, a kind word, a little smile and a rock cake for each, as the winding columns passed a battery of strategically arranged stalls. Cigarettes, tobacco of the Balkan kind, cigars too, but not good ones, for war raged a thousand kilometers away, on a thousand kilometer Front. The continent was in a state of seige, and austerity reigned.
Fed, rested and refreshed by their first shower, the arrivals were segregated by confession: Catholics to the right, Protestants to the left, Seventh Day Adventists in the middle, while Puritans, Mormons (there were six!), Buddhists, Animists and a lone Shintoist of Polish extraction were congregated near the Administration trestle table. Atheists, Agnostics and Materialists were marched off in squads of twelve to form Beyond Hope Brigades of the Fatigue Department – condemned by their unorthodox outlook to drudge as latrine cleaners and pot soullions in the battery of kitchens. “A greasy thumbprint on that mug” could cost them seven days’ pay.
An Interdenominationalist Priestess – for political correctness had its influence even then – sang the first lines of the freemasonic “Rock of Ages” into a megaphone accompanied by the camp orchestra “The Band of Death.” With manic gestures she enthused Catholic baritones to counterpoint Protestant sopranos while Hebrew cantors sang bass and Nonconformists improvised as tenors – a terrific ecumenical experiment in harmony.
But evil soon reared its ugly head. “You are not here to sing and tra-la-la, pigs!” the Commandant (a Caodaist?) barked: “You have each an allotment, the total task of which is, to feed a continent!”
A LIFE SENTENCE OF MEMORIES