Sunday Dinner and the Preacher

I believe I’ve mentioned in earlier stories that Mama had a religious turn about her, thinking that preachers spoke the inspired word of God. Daddy, on the other hand, having spent the depression making his living singing high tenor for evangelists, had a firmer grasp on the fact that preachers put their pants on one leg at a time just like any old sinner did.

Unfortunately, no matter what Daddy told her about his experiences with said preachers, Mama chalked it all up to Daddy being a backsliding reprobate. This created just a bit of tension in their relationship.

Throughout Daddy’s life experiences, he developed and lived by a code of ethics that any Buddhist would recognize. Mama based her life on the literal translation of the Bible, and she too, lived her beliefs.

Between the two of them, philosophical discussions around our dinner table ranged wide in concept, and as hot as the coffee we drank. I thrived on those discussions.

Some very early memories were of Mama, every Sunday getting me up early, scrubbing me down with what felt like lye soap with a wash cloth akin to steel wool. Then I’d be dressed in a frilly dress, that I didn’t mind, patent leather slippers, which I did mind, and dragged off to Church.

Now, I must admit, that I loved the singing at Church, that is, if Daddy was there to lead it. Oh my, that man could sing down the spirit! Many a time, I watched the audience fascinated by their response to his singing; their faces would begin to glow, eyes grow bright, then with tears streaming down their faces, they’d get out in the aisles and shout and praise God. Those are precious memories.

After the singing, the Preacher would take over and preach us all into hell, where as Daddy left people high on God.

As long as the singing was good, Church was tolerable. Unfortunately, Mama had a habit of inviting the Preacher for Sunday Dinner.

One time in particular, Mama was having fresh, fried chicken. Now, in the country, the first fryers of the spring were a delicacy, cause chickens didn’t seem to want to start families when the weather was turning cool, so we didn’t have tender fried chicken till the hens turned amorous as spring approached.

And she chose that Sunday to invite a new Preacher for Sunday dinner. There was this tradition with country folk of not allowing younger children to eat if company came to dinner. That fate befell Barnard and me that Sunday, and we were banished to the front yard until the Preacher ate.

You can imagine how we felt. He and I sat on the roots of the huge oak tree, that dominated the whole area, doing some impressive grumbling. Running away fingered prominently in the grumbles, after all, they couldn’t possible care for us, throwing us out like that. Applying astute reasoning to the plan, we concluded it would be best, if we first waited to eat the chicken before sneaking off to become hoboes.

He and I thanked God when the Preacher finally left, and we raced to the table. The fried chicken platter was big, white and oval. My eyes rifled to that platter, which held two, scrawny chicken feet, toes aimed heavenward. That was all. Barnard got one; I got the other.

I must confess to a certain amount of coloring that experience had on my views, where Preachers are concerned. To this day, every time I see a well fed Preacher, I see two chicken feet in the middle of a big white, otherwise, empty platter, toes pointing toward heaven.

February 9, 2011 В· Carolyn В· One Comment
Tags: ,  В· Posted in: country life, old time religion

One Response

  1. Kathleen - December 3, 2011

    This is my favorite one. I love hearing about Grandaddy and his singing! рџ™‚

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