Hello World….. Spiritual Depth Precept #3

 I was nineteen when I got my first taste of someone witnessing about something they did not even understand themselves.

My whole family were ‘tails’. None of us went to church, sunday school or watched religious stuff on the TV. We didn’t even listen to the radio. My Grandmother, who lived in Alabama, was the only person  I knew that went to church. She took me once – I was 10 yrs old, when we were visiting her. We sat on hard wooden benches, listened to 5 women and 3 men sing  songs that I  couldn’t understand the words they were saying because they had such strange diction. The preacher preached like someone who couldn’t get his breath and was choking for air every breath he took. He screamed so loud while he was choking for breath…the words didn’t make sense coming out of his mouth. I thought he might die at any moment because he could not seem to get his breath. It scared me so bad  I told Granny  I didn’t want to go back because I didn’t want to see that man die. She said he would not die preaching, it was just the way he did it. I told her if I couldn’t understand anything he said,  how did she know if he was telling us the truth?  She just smiled and told me, “You will understand someday.”  Granny was a ‘head’ because she read her bible everyday and prayed for everyone she knew and for the president and the government and she said she even prayed for the people in other countries. She told me once, “Jesus is my answer”. When I asked her, “what is the question?” She just said, “It is a mystery that only each person can solve for themselves.”

My dad was a terror when it came to religion. He was put out of church at a very early age because he had some habits that church folk don’t put up with. Driving fast and drinking faster while trying to light up tobacco. He almost had a wreck each week trying to get from work to home and people knew he was coming because they could hear the tires squalling for miles. He cussed like a sailor but mom would shut that up at home because she had 4 kids to raise. She didn’t want words coming out of his mouth that we could repeat in front of her friends who didn’t cuss. Dad didn’t like preachers, churches and people who went to church. Mom went once when I was 6 years old and didn’t tell him where she was going. She went with the lady, who was ‘heads’,  next door to us and didn’t get home until 8:30 p.m.  Dad had left at dark to go look for her because he didn’t know where she went. She got back before he did and was in the process of telling us that she had joined the church with Betty next door and it was a wonderful feeling to belong to a church. This was the first time she had gone since she married daddy and the last. When he got home, he raised such cain about her going and told her she was NEVER TO GO AGAIN or else.   I don’t know what the ‘or else’ ment, but she must have, because she never went back and we never went to church again unless it was to a funeral. That is how we were all raised without church affiliation – not even on TV.

At 15 years of age, I was invited to vacation bible school by a school friend. Mother said, “OK, your dad is out-of-town this week so go with her if you want too.”  Jeannie was tails, just as I was, but in vacation bible school,  everybody just about it was tails. The church people invited everyone in the neighborhood to VBS whether you went to church or not.  It was more play time than anything else. I didn’t learn anything except how to make a popsicle stick bird house and that Jesus had 4 disciples named Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.  I believed that until I was 25 years old. My Mama was a strict “live right or I will kill you, child!” and she carried a big belt to back it up. I was such a ‘listen to me’ first-born child that whatever my mama said, it was truth and law. You did it and didn’t question or speak back at any time. I grew up obedient to all in authority over me. I told mama everything I said or did or thought and she would tell me if it was OK or not. If it was not ok, I didn’t do it. I never heard a cuss word till I was 16 years old. I didn’t have any friends that came to visit until I was 15. I never had a date until I was 16 and then it was a double date.  I had a best friend who was male that watched over me like a daddy hawk. Nobody spoke to me unless he knew who they were and what they wanted. Nobody came near me or laid a finger on my person if they wanted to live. He  told everyone, “She is a nice girl and she is going to stay that way till she gets married. So leave her alone, she is my best friend and I am looking after her and no she can’t date you. If she wants to go someplace I will take her, I will get her what she wants, when she wants it and she does not need anything from any one else.”  He never treated me with anything other than respect and care. If I wanted to go some place, all I had to do was ask. If he was busy right then, he would tell me and ask if I could wait for a little while. He took me any place I wanted to go, answered any question I asked him about anything. There was open honest discussion with me about anything I wanted to talk about. He told me men could not be trusted and not to trust anyone who asked for any favors (he explained what he ment by favors) and told me to tell him if anyone was out-of-order with their actions around me and he would set them straight.  I guess he was like a guardian angel sent to watch over me and I didn’t even realize it at the time…I thought of him like my best girl friend even though he was male and 10 years older than me. When I fell in love with my only husband of 45 years, he told me, “Have a wonderful life, I am glad you found the man of your dreams and I hope the two of you have a long and happy life together.”  He thought I had made a good choice with the man who had  asked me to marry him. My husband was tails when I married him and so was I. “Good folks lost.)

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