My brother’s birthday is this Wednesday so I thought I would tell a tale that bears repeating. Since I was older I was the one who took more responsibility and was responsible for him most of the time at home while my parents were doing church work and the social things that being a preacher in the South calls for, yes Fried Chicken dinners are included in this. My brother always said he wanted to be a preacher but he did try a variety of other occupations first such as being Zorro (black cape), Superman (red cape), Kit Carson and the Cisco Kid, they didn’t require capes but we made up costumes to fit the bill, plus bending hangers so that we could have sword fights when he was being Robin Hood (green tights). Our play yard, for five of our growing years, was the church basement. We were living in a 16 foot trailer right outside the HUGE church and the dark hallways of the basement left lots of room for our imaginations to run wild, and we did, up and down those halls and playing hide and seek in the Sunday School rooms. We got a spanking every Sunday night, we knew it was coming, daddy would get the razor strap and sit down on mother’s cedar chest (which is in my line of view as I type this) and then give us however many licks we had earned for talking in church. He would generally follow the spanking with praying for us and then giving us something cold to drink to “cool us off”. Now for anyone of you reading this that is “younger” you might not understand the era of “spare the rod, spoil the child” but we turned out OK, it was a spanking and we deserved every one. At least my brother did, I was just guilty by association! My brother was finally given the opportunity to preach! We were at a Camp meeting and whoever was in charge of the service announced to the people, and there were hundreds there, that this 6-year-old boy wanted to preach. He got a chair and put it behind the pulpit, my brother got up there with all the intentions of preaching a “stem winder” but there was a lady sitting pretty close to the front with a great big pink hat on, that caught his attention for some reason and he never opened his mouth! Now for the Coconut Cake; there was a lady in the church who was famed for her wonderful Coconut cakes. One Sunday she brought one of her prize cakes for us to take home for lunch! Mother told us to take it to the car and be very careful. The cake was in one of those plastic cake boxes and we just wanted to see, smell and maybe pinch off a little of that yummy icing. ONE of us pulled at the container top and DOWN went the cake, right into the foot of the car, right where our feet with all the gravels from the parking lot were, and came apart, we panicked! We picked up the cake, put it back together keeping a watch for our parents. Just as they got to the car we had put the top of the cake back on and mashed the icing around to make it look OK. We were very proud of our effort, however, when it was sliced, there was hair and bits of gravel my parents were shocked, how could a woman, so famed for her cakes make such a terrible mistake? We never told the truth we let her bear the shame, don’t you think they knew?
Have a Happy Birthday Brother! Eat some Coconut cake, for me!