Good Old General Baptist Church
I was fortunate to have been raised in church from the time I was born. My dad abandoned the family when my mother was 6 months pregnant with me. And with my mom being a single parent, I soon became the community baby in the General Baptist church that my mother attended.
My mother had a beautiful voice and often sang specials as well as participating in the choir. She had such a rich velvety tone and could sing such beautiful harmony parts.
And while she was practicing or up front singing, I got passed from person to person. I guess you could say that I cut my teeth on the back of a church pew.
Talking To The Preacher
My first memory of having a conversation with a minister was in this church when I was of preschool age. I remember it vividly. It was at the end of Sunday morning service, and, as good Baptists do, the pastor was standing at the back door shaking hands with everyone as they filed out into the vestibule.
When this nice minister [Bro. Mallory] reached down to shake my hand, I boldly spoke up, telling him that I’d been thinking about something.
I then promptly said that I wanted to ask him a question. He was a very sweet and considerate man. He got down on one knee to address me at eye level. He sweetly asked me what that question might be.
Open Mouth & Insert Foot
Without hesitation, I piped up and said, “I was wondering. Do you think there’s any way that we can start the service with preaching and get that out of the way first? Singing is so much more fun. And listening to the preaching … well, sometimes it can be rather … boring.”
He replied, “You mean, like eating your vegetables first in order to get them out of the way?” Like the little chubby cheeked red-headed ringlet-coiffed Shirley Temple that I looked like at the time, I smiled a bubbly smile, nodded my head up and down excitedly, and exclaimed, “Yes, that’s exactly what I mean!”
Everyone within earshot laughed. My mother’s face turned beet red as she nearly melted into a puddle on the floor. Looking at it now, I am sure that she was hoping that he didn’t think that I’d heard that at home.
However, rather than be offended, Brother Mallory chuckled as he reached into his pocket and pulled out a crisp new dollar bill. He handed it to me and as he winked and said, “I’ll take it under advisement.”
Oh My Goodness!
Little did I know that little interaction might be a harbinger of things to come. Playing out there in the vestibule of that tiny Baptist church was the shadow of things yet to come. In other words, my mind—followed not long thereafter by my mouth—was going to get me in a lot of ‘situations’ as I got older.
Thankfully … when we got home … my mother let me live. Yikes.