ceiling fan pushed the summer heat between its blades, the congregation
flapped paper hand fans, and every adult in our old country church
hooted and hollered Amen.
a young age, all I could tell you was if you wanted some folks
to get happy, just talk about that Jesus guy.
up on the pews of that ole Baptist church, my grandmother would
hush my cousins and me for talking.
visited her and my grandfather during the summer months, and a
lot of my memories there were in that church.
a small former house just off the road in west Iredell (North
Carolina), religion was being placed in me even when I had no
need for religion. The hat lady, a woman who looked as if Sunday
was her extreme head art day, would pinch my cheeks. One
of the deacons would reach in his pocket and give me a peppermint.
South is more than the Bible Belt. As an African American child,
I knew I would get the scriptural quotes, while the leather strap
(spare the rod and spoil the child) went across my backside if
I acted up.
than anything I remember my grandfather cheering our southern
hell, fire and damnation, preacher in the pulpit.
Reverend doctor with handkerchief in hand would whisk out hallelujahs
as he warned of the woes and traps of the world.
grandfather: Well, say it ain't so ... They dont hear
ya or Preach, preacher.
Im glad to know they had their colorful parts of introducing
me to Jesus. Ive learned also to delight in the precious
memories now stored in my heart.
Nesbit is a writer for the Charlotte Observer in Cornelius
North Carolina, by trade, and an inspirational writer and poet