The Priest and the Peaches is one of the most delightful Christian books on today's market. While it is aimed toward young adults, I must admit that I thoroughly enjoyed Larry Peterson’s portrayal of the incredible problems young adults and/or children face after they have lost both parents.
Early on in this story, Teddy Peach leaves his dying father’s hospital bed without a hug or a final kiss. Pop’s hand is slightly raised and a tear rolls down his cheek, yet Teddy leaves straightaway for home. He is exhausted from the day's work and has also been drinking beer with several of his male companions.
To his utter grief the following day, 18-year-old Teddy finds himself the earthly caregiver of Beeker, Joey, and Dancer, his three younger brothers. Ted and his younger sister, Joanie, must now make every effort to keep their family unit together. Pops has died from pancreatitis due to prolonged heavy drinking.
Most of his life, Teddy’s deceased father had an artificial leg. Much to Teddy’s annoyance, the hospital neglects to send the prosthesis to the funeral home. His son feels the leg should be part of his father's body when he is buried. Teddy and his best friend retrieve the leg, placing it on the back seat of Teddy’s 1951 heavily dented and admittedly ugly Desoto.
At a sudden stop, the leg flips up and Pops’ shoe smacks Teddy’s head. He tosses it behind him, only to make another equally sudden stop a few blocks later. This time, the leg flips up and over the back of the front seat. With shoe still intact, it lands directly beside his friend’s left foot on the passenger side floor. Both boys laugh at first, but then Teddy grows serious because he feels his father's overwhelming absence. He questions his own drinking routine. He recalls not giving his father a final kiss.