The Loganites:
People of the Slowly Word

It was a slow day in Tortuga Flats, which was just the way they liked it.

Most folks in Tortuga Flats were Loganites who had settled there precisely because nothing was happening. They were direct descendants of the original forty-seven families who had slowly come west with their Prophet, Zebediah Logan, in search of an unhurried life.

The forty-seven families had left Pennsylvania in the spring of 1853 to escape the corrupting influence of the Amish, who they considered wild pleasure seekers and quite frankly a bad influence on Loganite children.

It was easy to see why. While the Loganites wore only a single color of clothing (a deep brown to remind them that they were no better the Lord's own humble dirt) the brazen Amish wore two -- bright white and bright black, a loud, garish black that seemed to scream "Hey, look at me!"

Then there was the matter of fire. Though they had the technology to make it, the Loganites believed that fire was associated with Satan and forbade its use. Consequently, they would go to bed when they believed the Lord intended, at sundown. Meanwhile, the Amish, driven to a drug induced frenzy by their morning tea, would say up until seven-thirty, sometimes eight, burning their wicked candles and kerosene lamps, quilting and crocheting themselves into a hyperactive thrill-seeking ecstasy and rocking crazily in the chairs that they had so arrogantly named after themselves. Definitely not the kind of thing one would want young children to see.

Finally, there was the matter of the animals. It was bad enough that the Amish ate them, but to make matters worse, they first enslaved them. "It is like a cannibal asking you to set the table," declared Zebediah Logan. When a Loganite family would see an Amish horse-drawn buggy thunder past at nearly seven miles per hour, the mother would cover her children's eyes and hum a hymn to quiet the frightened youngsters. Singing was not permitted among the Loganites. While it might be fine for angels to raise up their voices it was considered haughty and proud for mere mortals. It was well known that most dancers had started out singing. Singing opened the door to a host of temptations -- King David had started out singing, and look what happened. Humming, however, was acceptable if it as done tastefully and no harmony parts were included.

It was true that the Loganites, like the Amish, had wagons, but instead of abusing the innocent beasts of the field they the pulled the wagons themselves, finding a simple joy in the task, sometimes softly humming a work song as they went. Also, this seemed to calm the animals who of course rode in the wagon.

It was because of these and a thouand other differences between the gentle Loganites and their neighbors that they bid goodbye to the green farmlands of Pennsylvania and headed, over so slowly, westward. For it was Zebediah Logan's Commandment that life must not be rushed. "Be not like unto he who runs, yea, shall he not surely fall down? And when his knee is skinned, and his trouser torn...what then shall his comfort be?"

And so on April 1st, 1853, they set forth, stopping only fror prayer service every hundred yards to give thanks to the Lord for having seen them safely that far. Sometimes, when the Spirit was on Zebediah, he would give thanks almost until sunset, as so progress was... well... slow.

Thus it was that on June 5th, 1922, they reached the quiet, flat, featureless plain of Tortuga Flats, New Mexico. None of the original Pilgrims except Zebadiah (who was by that time 109 years old) had survived the long journey, but the descendants of the forty-seven families, now over three thousand strong, had arrived at last.

Lovingly, they lifted the frail Zebadiah (whose health had been failing since the war between the States) so that he might behold the vast expanse of featureless desert before him. "Behold!" he whispered. "There is... nothing here!" And it was so. There as not one breath of wind, not one cloud in the sky.

Except the dust cloud.

It was miles away, yet visible to the naked eye. A mighty Pillar of Dust raised by the incredibly slow spring stampede of the thousands upon thousands of Southwestern Desert land tortoises of which Tortuga (Spanish for "turtle") Flats had been named.

The old man sat upright for the first time since World War I and pointed a shaking finger at the cloud. "Look, my children, how slowly they move. It is a sign. At last... the Promised Land!"

And the joyful sound of three thousand Loganites spontaneously humming slowly rose into the blue New Mexico sky. Very, very slowly.