I have a lot of fond memories of the forties. Store-bought toys and games were scarce – almost non-existent - so we had to make our own fun. One of our favorite things to do was hold church in the chicken house. I was the preacher; the congregation was made up of Lucille, Pricie, Opal, Ruth, Dorse, Clint, and two cousins, Roy, Jr., and Edgar. I also got to preach funerals of the dead animals we found and the biddies that died. I’ve begged for mercy on the souls of everything from rats to possums. World War II was going on then and I remember telling the “congregation” that the biggest truck that God ever made was made to haul the poor soldier boys. Little did I know that the truck I was referring to was a landing barge.
When I was about seven, I’d lay on the ground and watch planes by the hundreds pass over our house. They were piloted by women who flew them to the West Coast for the military and the Big Red One (the first airborne division). I preached “hellfire” and “damnation” the way I heard it from the adults. Each Sunday, at least two people repented. I stopped taking up a collection after I realized that all I got were marbles and bobby pins in the plate.
Mom and Dad and the rest of the kids went to a baptism and we all got a kick out of the fact that they couldn’t put Charlie Dotson – all of him – under the water at the same time. When they got his head under, his feet and legs would pop up. They’d push his feet down and his head would pop up. They ‘bout drowned the poor man before they got him baptized. Old Charlie came out of the water shouting - not because his sins had been washed away – but because they had let him loose. I guess it’s a good thing that we didn’t have any water holes big enough at home or I probably would have drowned a few of my congregation after I learned how it was done.
We had a foot-washing one time at a prayer meeting at Jesse Wolford’s house and I couldn’t have my feet washed because my shoes and socks smelled too bad and I was embarrassed. Mom would have killed me if I had taken them off with those stinky socks, so I told them I didn’t want my feet washed because I hadn’t brought a towel. I really only wanted a taste of the wine anyway, but I didn’t get any. I wanted to see if it tasted anything like moonshine.
Luther G. Eldridge©
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Artwork: Two Boys
by Frank Benson
"There's A Rainbow Over My Shoulder"
Sequenced by Frank Schober
Grandpa Schober's Original Midi Files