In fact, his mother used to tie him to the front porch with her panty hose to prevent him from running around the neighborhood. In his childhood Kolz routinely threw chestnuts at passing cars, toured the next-door neighbors’ upstairs meth lab, and threw the family cat from the upstairs window. He often skipped the Mormon Church services his family attended and drove the family car illegally to the sub shop, returning just in time to pretend he had walked out of Sunday school with everyone else.
His mother’s nylons did not prevent Kolz’s eventual placement at New Life Homes, a center for boys who had broken the law. Neither did his mother’s Mormonism prevent Jesus from crashing into Kolz’s experience, harnessing his enthusiasm, and transforming him into a nine-fingered, blue-eyed evangelist with a tongue full of stories.
At the children’s center, Kolz met Christians. He listened over and over to records of the hymns of George Beverly Shea that staff members gave him. He later became an employee there, and has worked with the boys for 28 years making maple syrup and talking to them about Christ. At one time his desk drawer contained nothing but a hammer and Band-Aids.
Kolz forfeited his right pinky to a combine as he helped Jonny, his friend and fellow deacon in the Baptist church, harvest soybeans.
As he sits at dinner with his family, Kolz regards his de-fingered hand with a chuckle: “We could replace it with a series of small spoons: one for salt, one for sugar, one for cocaine…”
His family, seated around the steak and potatoes, laughs and rolls their eyes. They enjoy his rough edges.
He puts the invisible finger up his nose.