Sunday Meditations

imageThe Swains lined the third pew from the front on the right side of the church.  Daddy insisted on it.  I might be a better person today if I’d gotten to sit on the back pew and write notes and giggle with my friends.  I had a lot of time over the years to study those in front of me, the only thing that kept me from going bonkers during the long service.

Brother Deck, an ancient deacon sat in the middle of the front pew, wearing ancient suits, heavy black, wool in winter and gray gabardine in summer.  The gabardine had been pressed so much it was thin and shiny.  Should it be hot enough for him to remove his jacket, we were treated to a view of a gray, gabardine wedgie, which somehow, he never seemed to notice, though I was always puzzled at how he could tolerate it.  Though the poor old man was stone-deaf, he never missed a service.  He nodded off to sleep as soon as the sermon started.  His anal sphincter must have relaxed as well since he punctuated the sermon with occasional farts instead of “Amen!”  It was nice comic relief to sermons.  I was fascinated with Brother Deck, anyhow, since he left the bed in a spooky old farmhouse with his two reclusive old sisters.  The kids told tales that they were crazy, but that didn’t discourage any of us from accepting the wonderful newspaper wrapped pears they passed out every Halloween.  They couldn’t have been nicer the few times I saw them.

Mr. and Mrs. Bob Lincoln sat at the opposite end of the pew in front of us.  Mr. Bo was on the school board and Miss Mary Lincoln a retired teacher.  They appeared quite prosperous and were much admired in the community.  I had plenty of time to observe Mr. Bob, and one day noted he was wearing BVDs. I had no idea what BVDs were at the time, but could clearly see a cross-cross strap pattern through the back of his his thin dress shirt.  Not only that, he wore fancy silky black socks, with alternating sheer and slightly heavier woven stripes.  I always felt a bit like a voyeur sneaking  peeks at the sight of his nearly naked ankles through those dashing socks.

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Miss Bonnie sat in the middle of the front row of the choir, next to her sister Miss  Ozell, whispering and giggling silently, her shoulders heaving with poorly concealed mirth. A mountain of a woman, that pew must have suffered under her amusement.  I always anticipated the collapse of the pew, but my evil thoughts were never rewarded.  One memorable Sunday, the minister preached with an unzipped fly, holding everyone’s attention.  It’s really hard to keep your eyes on someone’s face while they’re tromping around with an open fly.

One fine Sunday when Daddy worked, my brother Billy took convinced Mother to let him sit with his buddies.  They slipped into a back pew at the last minute.  When the sermon started, Bill pulled a super ball from his pocket to amuse himself and his friends.  Clearly, nothing good would come of that.  Predictably, it wasn’t long before It bounced to the sloping hardwood floor.  It was amazing how beautifully it entertained as bounced joyously to the front, not even waiting for the altar call.  As it neared the altar, the minister stepped from behind the pulpit and deftly scooped it up and put it in his pocket without a pause in his sermon.  Bill vainly hoped his ownership would remain secret till the minister returned it as he exited the church.

The next Sunday we all lined the pew.

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Goats Pop the Top

imageThe visiting preacher came home with us for Sunday dinner. He had a just gotten a new car and spent most of Sunday dinner talking about it. His wife had a bad heart and lay down for a nap after lunch. He whispered “She could go anytime.” This did nothing to lighten the mood. It was clear the new car was the only bright spot in his life. It would look nice at her funeral. They were from out of town so we were stuck with them until time for the evening service. The afternoon looked long and hopeless. The kids escaped outdoors as soon as possible. Our house was on the edge of the farm, sitting inside a larger fenced area where Daddy raised hay and grazed cattle, horses, goats.  The driveway was several hundred yards long and fenced separately, enclosing several pecan and fruit trees, and space for parking. As goats will do, the goats had slipped through the fence and gotten in the drive. Brother Smith had parked his nice new car under the mulberry tree in full bloom. Goats love new vegetation and as it turns out, new cars. We saw several hop agilely to the roof of his new car. Before we could get to it, several more joined their friends standing on their back legs to reach the tree branches. There was a big metallic “Pop!!” and the hood caved in, leaving the goats in a bowl. They leapt off. Mother heard the racket and ran out just in time to catch the whole disaster. Her eyes were huge as her hands flew to her mouth. We hadn’t had a new car for years and now we’d be buying this preacher one. Not only that, his wife would probably drop dead on the spot and he’d have to drive a goat-battered car to the funeral.

God smiled on us. As soon as the goats jumped off, the hood popped back in the shape. This time we enjoyed the sound and flew to inspect the roof. Surprisingly, there was apparent damage. Mother got the preacher’s keys and pulled the car to the safety of the yard. Mrs. Smith lived through the day, and as far as I know, Brother Smith had a fine new car to drive to her funeral a couple of weeks later. All’s well that ends well.

Sweet Hour of Prayer

imageMaggie married Melvin shortly after her first husband died.  Maybe she should’ve waited longer, but she was exhausted after her long struggle to support Ray through his illness and then Little Ray after he died, so she was glad to have Melvin’s companionship and support, even though he was odd from the start.  Things went well enough for several years, but by the time Melvin reached his late forties, he’d developed religious delusions that made him impossible to live with. Continue reading

Uncle Albert and Aunt Jewel, the Lowdown

imageAs I got a little older, I found out Uncle Albert and Aunt Jewel weren’t dull; they were just worn out.  Besides that, Uncle Albert had a fascinating physical attribute Daddy slipped up and mentioned one day, to his later regret.  Uncle Albert had a tail!  From that moment forward, my brother and I stalked him, probabably the first nasty little, Continue reading

Sweet Hour of Prayer

imageMaggie married Melvin shortly after her first husband died.  Maybe she should’ve waited longer, but she was exhausted after her long struggle to support Ray through his illness and then Little Ray after he died, so she was glad to have Melvin’s companionship and support, even though he was odd from the start.  Things went well enough for several years, but by the time Melvin reached his late forties, he’d developed religious delusions that made him impossible to live with. Continue reading

Cousin Kat and the Axe-Murderer

axeIt’s not what you think. They were good friends. The Axe-Murderer had played the piano at Little Pearson Methodist Church for years. She never missed a service, but let me start at the beginning, the part where Cousin Kat took us to visit her. Continue reading

Snake-Handling and the Rapture(Part 2 of Starry Night, Kathleen’s Memoirs of the Great Depression)

laying on hands                         snake handling 2 snake handling

You might want to go back and read this before reading Part 2

https://nutsrok.wordpress.com/2015/04/26/starry-night-from-kathleens-memoir-of-the-great-depression/

“When me an’ my brother Jim was boys, we heard they was gonna be having a camp-meeting at one of them snake-handlin’ churches up in the hills.  Now we didn’ want nothin’ to do with snakes, but we thought it might be interestin’ to stir them church folks up a little.  We slipped out with the Rascoe boys an’ caught us up some cats an’ a dog or two an’ had’em in tow sacks.  We slipped up on the back side of the church an’ climbed up, pullin’ them bags behind us.  With all that singin’ and testafyin’, and speakin’ in tongues, them church folks couldna’ heard the devil comin’ up the river in a sawmill, so we didn’ have a bit o’trouble once they got started.  Them folks was naturally doin’ some carryin’ on!

Well, we give’em time enough to get to really git serious about their religion before we turned them dogs and cats loose on ‘em.  Them cats tore outa’ them sacks, like their tails was on fire, screechin’ and spittin’, with them dogs right behind ‘em.  Some of ‘em ended up bustin’ right up in the middle of them snake-handlers.  I mean to tell you, they threw them snakes down an’ they all run outside screamin’ an’ carryin’ on about the rapture.  You wouldn’a thought anybody that messed with snakes would’a got so stirred up about a few dogs and cats!

Making an Ass of Myself at a Funeral

funeral cartoonMy brother Billy and I decided to go to Mr. Charley’s funeral together.  I should have known better.  He always gets me in trouble.  We grew up playing with Mr. Charley’s kids, in and out of their house a lot.  He was a good guy.  I certainly didn’t decide to go to his funeral just to make a total ass of myself.  That was Billy’s doing. Continue reading