"I can give you all this!" That was what that Ole Devil Man had said to Jesus when he was tryin' to drag Him on down to Hell by gittin' Him to bend the knee. While he knew as it was a mighty sin, Shadrach Freeman was jest that moment wishin' Scratch was there offerin' him a fancy sit-down eat. He knew t'weren't no ways he could enjoy him no such food but he reckoned as, in his current state, just the smellin' of such would do him a fair amount of good.
He was powerful foot-sore and truly feelin' the need for some succor as he led his sway-backed mule down that dusty Alabama road.
He recalled a passage from the Book where the Almighty, hisself, done told Adam that, iff'n he had him a hankerin' for grub, he'd have to do him some sweatin' for to earn it. Runnin' one gritty hand crosst his forehead, Shadrach figgered that was one of the Lord's rules he was doin' his best part to follow.
He walked on, hopin' they was a town comin' up but not knowin' a bit for sure. Not every place he wandered to had them a use for a minstrel man. Last place, he'd no more than tied up Jezzy than a law man was on him. Tole him to take his ass on his way a-fore he got him any too settled in. Shadrach didn't see him no gain in arguin' the matter and move on he had.
He was regrettin' that now as he had naught but a few mealy biscuits and 'bout a spit's worth of warm water left to him with no prospects of nothin' better ahead no time soon. He knew he had him no choice but to keep on a-settin' one foot to 'fore the other long as he had it in him to do.
His resolve were strong but not enuff to move him further 'long. He went a-fallin' on that there road, knowin' he had him no gumption to git back up. He knew he didn't even have the will to say his piece a-fore he passed on. He allowed as if His eye were on that sparrow, then likely He knew the mind of one used-up ole minstrel man.
Fadin', he heard what seemed a right odd sound...the crunch of boots on the hard-packed dirt. He'd convinced hisself was some kinda trick until he heard the voice speak.
"Rise up Shadrach, you gittin' all dirty and the Master don't like his folks grubby when they meet up with him."
A tall, strong-built white man in a gleaming seersucker suit held a hand out to him.
"C'mon boy. Time's a-wastin'. We havin' fried chicken tonight and the whole Heavenly Host makes for a long line if ya dawdles. Best grab yer strum box up. Boss do dearly love him some good banjo pickin'."
Shadrach did take his hand and together they walked through them Pearly Gates and straight for that fried chicken.