Muscadine Lines: A Southern Journal

Precious Memories

Bridgett Nesbit

A 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.

At a young age, all I could tell you was if you wanted some folks to get happy, just talk about that Jesus guy.

Growing up on the pews of that ole Baptist church, my grandmother would hush my cousins and me for talking.

I visited her and my grandfather during the summer months, and a lot of my memories there were in that church.

In 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.

The 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.

More than anything I remember my grandfather cheering our southern ‘hell, fire and damnation,’ preacher in the pulpit.

The Reverend doctor with handkerchief in hand would whisk out hallelujahs as he warned of the woes and traps of the world.

My grandfather: “Well, say it ain't so ... They don’t hear ya” or “Preach, preacher.”

Now I’m glad to know they had their colorful parts of introducing me to Jesus. I’ve learned also to delight in the precious memories now stored in my heart.


Bridgett Nesbit is a writer for the Charlotte Observer in Cornelius North Carolina, by trade, and an inspirational writer and poet by hobby.

© Bridgett Nesbit

Muscadine Lines: A Southern Journal ISSN 1554-8449, Copyright © 2004-2012