Young Shane McGillivray had waited patiently - his parents steadying him on his metal leg braces - on that July morning at Cypress Gardens. He'd been in line to meet the great healer, the Reverend Arthur Smyly. In line before him, Shane watched the fat lady waddle up the bridge to the Reverend, who pressed the palm of his hand - push-button style - into the woman's forehead. She dizzied and fell sideways, snapping the bridge rail before falling into the water. A trio of alligators quickly aimed their snouts towards her. There was a garbled scream (Shane's parents shielded his curious eyes from the blood spurts) as the crowd dispursed into mayhem. Reverend Smyly, himself in shock, stood frozen on the bridge. Shane's parents took this opportunity to guide him up to the healer. A laying of hands followed, plus a few jerks and twists from Shane - before a cure was pronounced. He left the gardens that afternoon, walking proudly - unassisted - with his braces under his arms.
© BILL BLAIR 2009