Church.....

... when I was about six years old my family relocated from Madisonville, Tennessee southwards to a border-feud middle-ground area halfway between Englewood and Etowah... if memory serves, I do believe that we had an Etowah telephone number and an Englewood address - which kept us quite confused through most of my childhood....

... all in all, though, we gravitated towards the smaller town of Englewood for most of our family fun.... I went to grammar school there, I played little league baseball there, we preferred the community swimming pool there as well, and I was on the swim team from the age of 6 until I left for the Corps at 17....

.... we also went to church in Englewood every Sunday morning, Sunday night, and usually on Wednesday evenings as well....

.... for those of you schooled in the Culture of The South, I'll not mention the exact denomination of Charismatic Pentecostal Evangelical Protestant Christianity that we practiced..... but I will say that we made the good ole Southern Baptists look like Episcopalians....... as a matter of fact, if my church had been located about twenty miles further east, we'd probably have had snake handling sessions in between choir recess and the beginning of the sermon..... indeed that church was, and remains, quite hardcore when it comes to the flexing of the Jesus muscles....

.... be that as it may, I was reminded of an incident yesterday evening whilst chatting with my Mother..... she came through her recent elbow surgery with flying colors, and the happy side effect of her popping pain killers on a regular basis for a week is that she now enjoys telling all manner of tales from mine and my brother's childhood to anyone who will listen..

.... the latest installment being the time that I snuck away from Vacation Bible School and hid myself in the janitor's closet lest I be forced to prove that I hadn't spent the time and effort to memorize my Bible verse of the day..... now that infraction in itself was bad enough, but when my eyes became accustomed to the darkness of the closet and found the loose tile which would allow access to the attic of the church?.... well, I took being "bad" to a whole new level...

.... the church was situated in an inverted T-shape, with the front door being located at the base of the T..... the sermon was delivered at the intersection of the horizontal and vertical lines of the T.... and the horizontal line representing the class rooms and offices..... well, the closet was right on the other side of the wall from where the preacher delivered his sermons.....

.... so, as you do, I climbed up into the attic - not really an attic at all, I guess - more of just ceiling joists with fiberglass insulation stapled between them...... and using these joists that were placed every 24 inches or so, I gingerly made my way along them until I was peering out the vent over the front door of the church....

.... and there I stood, happily watching the world go by.... and knowing that there was nooooo way anyone was going to find me in my newly found hiding place..... and that is when I saw the preacher roll up outside..... and just as he headed for the front door of the church, Miss Polly comes running, screaming, and flapping her arms about "missing a child"....

.... I was mortified....... I stood at the little vent and watched as the preacher began a mad dash for the front door of the church to begin helping with the search...... and it was at this point that I panicked into action.... and that, as they say, is always your downfall...... for lo, folks, panic is not your friend..... and you can trust me on that......

.... now, had I been a seasoned, tried-n-true fella like I am now, I would have completely gotten away with my little soirée into the attic.... alas, though, I was only twelve back then..... and in retrospect, my fate was probably sealed the minute that I decided to hide in the first place.....

.... I spun away from the vent as soon as I heard the front door slam..... and I began to hit the joists faster and faster with my tiny little feet as I heard the hurried orders being barked by the preacher below.... "Did you check every room?!.... How long has he been gone!?.... Does he have family within walking distance of here?!?"..... with each new query, I knew that my ass was grass when my Mother found out that I'd bailed on Vacation Bible School....... and my feet sped up - hitting those upturned 2X4's as fast as I could...... my heart was thumping in my chest as I made it to the halfway point....... I could still hear the preacher screeching his way towards the pulpit below me..... I looked up for a split second to see how much further I had to go, and in doing so, I missed the joist.......

.... the preacher and Miss Polly most likely heard the little muffled scream before they heard the "pop", and then the tinkling of mangled ceiling tiles dinging off the oaken pews below..... I still can't help wondering what went through their mind when they turned to see the spectacle of my scrawny right leg dangling from the ceiling in the absolute CENTER of the church..... oh, and did I mention that this was 3pm on a Saturday?...... yes, indeed......

..... so, yeah..... once upon a time, on a lazy summertime Saturday long ago, I fell through the ceiling of my ultra-God fearing church..... was I punished?..... sure, as far as I can recall...... but luckily a gentleman who frequented the church was also a builder..... so a quick call to him had the ceiling patched up before Sunday morning's church services began...... but, it being a bit of an old church, those replacement tiles were just that tiny bit off in color...... and every Sunday after that when I attended, Dad would poke me in the ribs, scowl, smile, and then slowly turn his face heavenwards towards the three virginally white tiles in the center of the church....... Mom always hated that he smiled at me after he scowled.......

..... I think she'd told him to just scowl every Sunday when he reminded me, but he just didn't have it in him to browbeat me for something that he'd most likely have been up to himself if he'd have even GONE to church when he was a lad......

..... as for me?..... well, I haven't been to that church in 15 years or more, yet I drive by it nearly every day.... but really?...... well, I just can't wait to see what Mom remembers the next time she has a surgery.....

by Eric on March 15, 2010 | Bullshit (11) | TrackBack (0) | SWG Stories
Bullshit So Far

I don't understand why they weren't happy to see you. Finding a lost person is what churches do.

Bullshitted by Lou on March 16, 2010 07:02 AM

Hehehe My cousin and I left VBS once and rode our bikes down the road to my Uncles house. (Down the road was a almost 4 mile trek through Wolf Pen Gap, a place with a much more ominous name than it deserves)

Several hours later, when our discovery was made the whuppin was indeed profound, and it would be fair to say we saw the light as it were.

Bullshitted by BloodSpite on March 16, 2010 07:50 AM

Yes that brings back memories. Not many know about the post-anaesthetic effect on the stirring of long forgotten memories. A few years ago my dad had hip replacement surgery on his 81st birthday…and everyone was very surprised to learn a post-op story about a 7year old boy, a dropped shotgun and a fatal injury!

Bullshitted by John C on March 16, 2010 01:44 PM

I could picture this whole thing playing out in my mind's eye as I read your inimitable Straight White Post... damn, son, Tom Sayer and Huck Finn had nothing on you!

Bullshitted by Elisson on March 16, 2010 10:32 PM

er, that'd be "Sawyer"...

Bullshitted by Elisson on March 16, 2010 10:32 PM

Heh, reminds me of the time me and my sisters cut out of services and headed to Cain Park. My mom rescued my baby sister dangling on top of the slide. And the never-to-be-forgotten 1960 Yom Kippur Bowl in the same location.

Good times.

Bullshitted by Cappy on March 17, 2010 09:27 PM

I think that very well may be the funniest damn thing I've read in a long long time. Holy crap. That story WILL be repeated...

Bullshitted by Bou on March 18, 2010 05:58 AM

OMG! Too funny... and have I mentioned how glad I am that I never had boys?

Bullshitted by Lemon Stand on March 18, 2010 10:02 AM

LOL! Boys? I think they may be easier than girls. I don't have a story of my own to tell, but an acquaintance of ours once told a good one. She and a friend of hers were the daughters of wealthy businessmen in Quebec. One day when they were about 12 (must be the age for fractious behavior!), they slipped out of school, donned worn out clothing, and stood on a street corner pretending to be starving orphans and asking for donations. I guess they had a fairly profitable morning and were looking forward to continued success during the afternoon when a woman who knew one of their mothers stopped to ask directions, realized she recognized them, and ratted them out.

Bullshitted by PeggyU on March 19, 2010 03:22 AM

I am so very glad I have a boy. An endless source of future stories! ;)

Bullshitted by Oddybobo on March 19, 2010 10:54 AM

I love it. As Elisson said - I was waiting for the ending from the start. You were quite the adventurous lad. ROFLMAO.

Bullshitted by Teresa on March 19, 2010 11:33 AM