Between the two of us, Billy and I complained bitterly about having to march in like a row of ducks to line the pew every Sunday. No other kids our age sat with their parents. We looked like real doofuses. It was a social disaster. Finally, I decided I’d have to work up the nerve to ask permission to sit somewhere else. After the super ball incident, there was no way Billy would ever bring up that topic again. I knew I had to approach the subject delicately or there would be big trouble. At our house, a question could reap consequences as serious as an actual sin. It showed intent. I suppose it followed the same principle as “having lust in your heart.” Not only that, but whenever Daddy got news that a neighborhood kid had done something horrible, We got a preemptive lecture, just because. “Your FRIEND, Eddie, was smoking and burned down the preacher’s barn last night. THAT’s why I don’t let you …….”. It didn’t matter that I’d never spoken two words to Eddie and despised smoking, only Daddy’s total dedication to lecturing and haranguing kept me on the straight and narrow. But for his rigid control, I’d have been smoking, drinking, and fornicating on the back pew every Sunday.
Not knowing how to broach the subject, one Sunday morning, I revolted. Instead of following Daddy into pew three, I brazenly slid into pew four, right behind him. Billy followed me. The sky didn’t fall. Lightening didn’t strike. The world kept spinning on its axis. Daddy just turned and gave me a warning look, but I could tell I’d won my prize.
I pondered my victory in my heart as I sat smugly in pew four. I found out that day, God has a sense of humor. When we stood for a hymn, Daddy had a wedgie. Have you ever had to spend time in church standing behind someone with a wedgie? I experienced eternity that day as Daddy stood right in front of me with a wedgie. Billy and I looked desperately back and forth at each other each time Daddy and his wedgie stood. I thought about reaching up and pulling it out, but feared there might be a Biblical injunction against it. “Thou shalt not unwedge thy father’s wedgie!” I might be turned into a pillar of salt.
I spent the next three years trying not to see Daddy’s wedgie as he stood in the pew ahead of me ever Sunday.