that doesn't mean I haven't tangled with him from time to time.
Y'see, we had a church just a few houses down from ours on Morrow Avenue. And, back in 1962, that joint was hoppin' with "hallelujahs" and amass with "amens" -- and you could hear the service almost all the way to our house.
Well, one Sunday night, they had a big baptismal service (some churches like to use creeks or swimmin' holes; all we had was Sugar Creek, down in Jimmy Miller's pasture. That was off-limits though 'cause, whilst it's a good thing to be baptised, I don't think becoming "glow-in-the-dark radioactive" is part of the deal ...)
Now, we'd just come in from our own church's service and, at about 9 PM or so, mama gave me a big, black garbage bag and told me to go put it in the can at the end of our property. I
But, in the silent darkness of that side of Morrow ...
and walkedasfastasIcould to the trash can.
Everything was eerily quiet ... and a little bit foggy ...
SUDDENLY ... from down the street I heard this guy, screamin' all kinds of gibberish, running like a madman and flailing his arms ... and he was coming my way! Then, frozen in my tracks and hoping it was just gas I was passing, I saw him: sopping wet from head-to-toe and wearing ... a sheet or something!
I made it back to the house and under the living room chair in seconds! (Where the bag went is anybody's guess ...)
A FEW WEEKS LATER, after being told at school that the guy had just been baptised "in the Spirit" as well as "in Pineville water", I was asked by my part-time friend, Bobby (who'd only beat me up at recess when his friends were watching. Otherwise, he was cool ...), to go to church with him.
Uh-huh ... that church!
He came by the house at about seven or so that Sunday night, but we got there late anyway. I didn't know until later that they'd just had a play of some sort, with one guy playing an angel and another one dressed as the Devil.
After the "fire-and-brimstone" preaching (and I've gotta admit: Preacher King could put the fear of the Almighty in you with that booming voice of his ...), there was the obligatory "altar call".
Bob whispered "Let's go on up front and kneel at the altar." I asked him why, and he told me that, unless somebody went up there, the preacher wouldn't close the service.
So I went ... and kneeled ... and, like Bobby, bowed my head like I was prayin'.
SUDDENLY (yep ... here we go again ...), the organist stopped and, from the side door came ... The DEVIL! Or at least the guy who played him, still in costume with horns and tail and lookin' a little like an evil "Elmo" doll (I've gotta tie this into today's culture to relate, right??).
Now, remember: I didn't know about the play that went on earlier -- and, hearing the commotion, I opened my eyes just a little and peeked to my left.
Remember that chair I'd crawled under after that baptised guy scared me?
Yep. And I think I broke my old record in gettin' there ...And I haven't seen Bobby since ...
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