The Comics Had it Right

To Kevin. You know why. _________________

Martha Clark was a dust-bowl dame, a broad-shouldered Kansas woman who chicken fried her beef shoulder and hard-boiled her eggs. Her momma growed her up in the Methodist church, taught her to sing “Trust and Obey” as an alto. Martha was predestined before the foundations of the earth to be an alto.

Jonathan Kent was a farm hand on the family land. His bedroom was on the southeast corner of the ranch house, so his linens and things were always dressed in a fine layer of Midwestern dirt. His daddy had taught him that he’d come from that dirt and one day he’d return to it. Jonathan wasn’t much for singing or public praying, but he walked the fields in the afternoon whispering “help” up to the sky. He was predestined before the foundations of the earth to be a man of few words.

They’d married in the local church, tied the knot on Saturday and were introduced to the congregation on Sunday. By Monday evening Martha busied herself—and Jonathan for that matter—trying to conceive a child. There ain’t much more for a married couple to do in small town Kansas when the sun goes down. Month after month they tried but barrenness was a bitter harvest.

They’d read James 1:27, I’m sure—pure and undefiled religion is to look out for orphans and keep yourself unsullied by the pagan world. Kansas Methodists knew a thing or two about service back in those days, and the only thing that ever sullied them was farm dust and disappointment. Bible verses, like well laid plans, only give you as much life as you’ll allow. Sometimes it takes miraculous intervention.

They hadn’t planned on finding the bassinet at the end of the fiery chem-trail that cut through the middle of their corn field. The hadn’t planned on a Sunday’s worth of sermons materializing in a Martian space pod. It was a chosen baby, she thought, hidden in the reeds by her cosmic sister. Martha scooped up the crying baby, raised him to her cheek. Her new son was a prince, she thought, predestined to be a Kansas Methodist before the foundations of Krypton.

And I don’t think Martha saw that one coming in a million years.

**This post comes from a conversation with Amber, who remarked, “isn’t it interesting how the coolest superheroes were all orphans?”