No one knew how old Granny Locke was but she had lived on the outskirts of town as long as anyone could remember. She had chickens and a fairly large garden, she canned and sold her extra at the side of the road. She would crochet afghans for sale with elaborate patterns and designs which sold for a lot of money to the city folk who drove by her place and stopped.
Everyone liked the old lady. Rumor had it she would help out the young girls in trouble who came to her late at night . Granny could predict the weather by staring at a mason jar full of bear fat. She could cure most things with her little pouches of different herbs she made up. Some say she could talk to the animals and they understood. Granny could walk up to a growling dog and it would lie down and whimper.
One day a fire and brimstone preacher came to the area and found out about Granny Locke. He said she was evil and derived her powers from the devil. A small following started listening and pretty soon a small group of "Granny haters" were formed. Instead of concerning themselves with being better people they convinced themselves that somehow getting rid of Granny would provide them with the salvation they craved.
One Sunday as the church services of the new preacher were about to start the door swung open and to everyone's amazement there was Granny dressed in a nice dress and shawl leaning on her cane. The usher escorted het to a seat near the front and the preacher glared at her with an unmistakable dislike. After a hymn and opening prayer the preacher launched into a bible thumping rant about evil and witchcraft and black magic and the machinations of the devil.
Granny sat peacefully as the preacher got louder and louder and more venomous. He suddenly stopped mid sentence and grabbed his left arm. He broke into a heavy sweat and his knees started to buckle under him and he fell to the floor. He was white as a sheet and his lips were turning black. A small frail voice said "get out the way and let the man have some air!' She went over to him and knelt down beside him. She loosened his tie and held his hand for moment. She leaned in and said in a quiet voice , "do you want to live"...He looked into her eyes and whispered . "yes". She reached into her bag and brought out a pinch of something in her fingers. She said for him to open his mouth and swallow it. He did as he was told and she placed the pinch of mysterious substance in his mouth. She said, " in a few minutes your pain will be gone!. live a good life" She got to her feet and walked out of the church.
The preacher recovered and moved away a few months later. He never spoke about the day the "evil old witch" had saved his life. But his sermons were now full of messages about loving kindness and forgiveness. No one can remember the preacher ever raising his voice again. Everyone who was there that day tells the story of the time Granny went to church.