07 September 2013
I am going to change formats a bit here and rather than continue the same post for an entire month I will make each week a separate post. Not sure anybody but me will really care but it should make it a bit easier for me to manage.
The prompts are:
1. I thought ________ I can do that
2. He glanced furtively around the room
There we sat on the side of the highway. The four of us in the car with the Texas sun beating down and smoke pouring from the engine compartment. I remember as though it was yesterday but, I was probably only about six years old and my shirt was soaking wet, stuck between my back and the plastic seat covers in my dad’s Buick. My older sister’s page boy haircut was limp and strands of her brown hair stuck to her face. My younger sister escaped this heat as she was yet to be born.
We had gone on a long car trip from Corpus Christi to Abilene to see my grandmother. My dad had been chain-smoking and driving, cigarette clutched between two fingers of his left hand; while that same left hand mostly hung out the driver’s window. My mother, as always, had been constantly busy trying to tune in a radio station; looking for Glen Miller, Artie Shaw, Benny Goodman, or one of the Dorsey brothers. The car problem announced itself with a large bang – followed almost immediately by a sudden loss of power and a cloud of dark smoke.
My father was an artist. He knew nothing about automobiles so we sat. We sat and suffered in the heat for what seemed like forever but was probably less than thirty minutes when a green and white Chevy truck pulled over in front of us, a local farmer and his wife on their way to a “Revival” meeting just up the road a piece. We took a ride and all jumped into the back of the truck.
When we got there the tent meeting was going full tilt and featured not one, not two, but three different “fire and brimstone” preachers. I listened to them with rapt attention, fascinated by the cadence of their voices as they testified to their faith in an awesome God, about which I had never heard before. People were singing, dancing and speaking in tongues. The effect was one of controlled chaos and elation. I was drawn into the tent and as I walked in a man handed me a sheet of paper listing the day’s schedule of events. I kept it to this day as a memento of that meeting and when I got out of seminary school I had it framed. That’s it on that wall over there.
The Reverend Theotis Baker is the one who inspired me to the church. As I watched him work the crowd that hot afternoon I recognized, even at that tender young age, that Reverend Baker was going to make a lot of money that day. I listened to him talk, shout and sing with the congregation and thought to myself, Shit! I can do that.
Time is up. Put down your writing implements and step away from the paper