This is for Debbie Kim~ she knows why

Friday, June 11, 2010


The next morning turned out much as I expected. Nanny did not whip me; she came up with a punishment much worse. I had to listen to her radio preacher every morning with her. She told me I wasn't getting enough training from church. Her hope being Rev. Oliver B. Greene and his messages could straighten me out. His program came on five days a week, airing from 9-9:30 each morning. His theme song was Blessed Assurance. In the past, when I heard the first note, that was my cue to run to the backyard and play with Chico. No more.

I hated the thought of spending more time in the house with Nanny, listening to yet another preacher. I came right out and asked for a spanking, just to get it over with. She said no. Mama didn't want me spanked, not for speaking my mind, and while she believed I needed a good wearing out, she couldn't go against Mama.
I begged her to whip me. Told her I deserved a whipping. I needed a whipping. I wouldn't even tell Mama, it could be our secret. She reminded me that would be lying, and the devil was using me to tempt her. No, there would be no whipping.
She yanked out a wooden kitchen chair and plunked me down. She explained I was to sit still, not talk, act just as if I were in church. "yes, Ma'am," I knew when I was beat.
Looked as if Oliver B. Greene and I were gonna become well acquainted. Thank goodness his program only lasted 30 minutes! Don't think I could bear a full hour of his screaming. He preached nothing like Preacher. No, not at all. Preacher kinda started out soft and slow. 'Bout mid way he'd grow louder, maybe start pacing, maybe even pound the pulpit. Get everyone whipped up into a full fervor. Then, he'd bring it back down, real slow like, sometimes whispering, "Brothers, Sisters, have you found Jesus?" Usually the organ player would slip from her seat to the organ. For the invitation she would most always play Just As I Am, or Softly and Tenderly.
Again, sometimes crying, Preacher would ask again, "Have you found the Lord and Master? Have you found Him? Have you found Jesus?!
I sometimes looked around to see if anyone was gonna answer. I had no idea he was lost!!
I wanted to ask if anyone had checked the Krispy Kreme, but thought better of it. I'd bet money he was at the Krispy Kreme with Daddy. That was Daddy's favorite place to go on Sundays. Daddy would stop and buy a Sunday paper, drop me and Nanny off at church, then read his paper at the Krispy Kreme until it was time to pick us up again. There he would come, pulling up to the church curb, donut glaze smeared all around his mouth. Then try and tell me he hadn't had any donuts. Daddy would then wink at me and surprise me with a different choice each Sunday. I understood I couldn't have it til after Sunday lunch. He never forgot me.
I was just thinking since Daddy loved the Krispy Kreme so, maybe Jesus did too. He and Daddy could be sharing donuts together for all I knew. And, if Jesus could be found there, it wouldn't hurt him any to buy a newspaper and get caught up on this Vietnam war either. It stayed in the news all the time. Poor boys dying in the jungles of Vietnam. Walter Cronkite gave the body count each day on the evening news. I used to watch the news with Daddy, but I wasn't allowed to any more. I would cry for all the dead soldiers and their Mamas; just get myself all kinds of worked up. Finally, Mama said no more Walter Cronkite for me.
Anyway, if Jesus happened to be at the Krispy Kreme, maybe Daddy could talk to Him about the war. Then maybe Jesus could talk to God about this war. The whole church had been praying for an end but the fighting kept going on. Personally, I don't think God was listening. Jesus might could get through to God. Maybe the war could end that way.
It was worth a try. Meanwhile, I would ask Daddy if he had seen Jesus hanging out at the Krispy Kreme.

Well, as I was saying before I got all sidetracked, Rev. Greene didn't preach anything like Preacher. Nope. He was like a Thoroughbred race horse bolting out of the gate. He started preaching hard and didn't let up til it was time to beg for money. He preached and begged for money each program, five days a week. I have no idea what he did with
the money; he called it a love offering. I just figured it could get mighty expensive loving Rev.
Greene. Lots of people loved me, but I sure didn't see anybody throwing money at my feet.
Nanny said there were things I just wasn't old enough to understand; guess this was one of 'em.
All I know was it wasn't free if you had to send in $5. He was always giving his tracts and such away for a donation of $5. I tried to tell Nanny she was still out the $5, no matter what he claimed or called it. Free for $5 ain't free. Even I wasn't that stupid.
Plus, it wasn't even her money. It was Papaws. Some times she would ask him for the money; other times she'd sneak to his room and take the $5 outta his calf hide wallet. I loved his wallet. Made out of real calf skin with the hair still on it, black, brown and white with black leather whip stitching around the edges. Some times he would let me pet the wallet, as I tried to imagine the cow it came from.
Anyway, it sure looked like stealing to me. She knew my suspicions and one day attempted to explain her actions. Said it really wasn't stealing as she was married to Papaw and it was going to a good cause. I never said a word; just stared at her. Again, even I wasn't that stupid.
I reckon it was okay to steal if you were stealing for Jesus. Nanny could certainly say, then do, some odd things. Best to keep my mouth shut. If I had been able to keep quiet about hell and animals I wouldn't be in the mess I was in now. No, if I questioned her behavior at all it could lead me into all kinds of woe. Best to agree and move on. But I will say it here, sure looked like stealing to me.

I listened to Rev. Greene until I started kindergarten, over a full year. Nanny was legally blind and only had a 4th grade education. Back then there were no special programs for children with challenges. When her sight became so poor she could no longer see to do her school work, she was sent home.
My job was to address the envelopes with Papaw's $5 in it to Rev. Greene. I used a pencil so I could erase any mistakes I might make. By the time I did start school, I knew how to address an envelope properly, and write a simple form letter. That's how many times I had written Rev. Greene that year before kindergarten. I knew his address by heart, without Nanny ever having to tell me. I scrawled in my best print:
Rev. Oliver B. Greene
Box 2024
Greenville, SC 29602

I addressed all of the mail to him for Nanny until his death in 1976 or 77, by this time I was in high school. Nanny grieved for months. Me, I was thankful I never had to hear his name again.
Finally, I could forget him and his address!

After 45 years, I remember.

Oh, the things the mind holds on to from childhood.


Sharon Brumfield June 25, 2010 at 1:15 PM  

Funny...but I grew up seeing two different types of Baptist preachers. One who could barely contain himself...spit flying. :) And then there was my Mom's Dad who was a Baptist preacher. He was tall and thin and very reserved. He had a gentle smile and he was more of a teacher than a Bible thumper. I used to love going to church with them. And although I was pretty young still when he had to stop preaching because of alzheimers.....I still remember what a loving gentle man he was in the pulpit.
I think it was that in him that made me want to be a preacher. Now we know that that is a no no in the Baptist as a young girl I thought God messed up when he made me a girl instead of a boy. :)
And...your Nanna making you listen to the preacher....we were in the same boat anytime Dad had control over the t.v or radio. :) I think he thought it would curtail anything bad about to sprout up in our lives. Funny....but as soon as we knew they were going to be away from the house for long periods...the house radio was always turned to rock n roll.
But...guess some of the good stuff made its way in because all of us kids love the Lord. Not all of us worship Him the same....but although we strayed....we came back.
Love these stories...amazing how God can even use those that were a tad off to plant things in our lives that we will never forget.
Keep writing!

Midlife Mom June 27, 2010 at 3:54 AM  

When I was in boarding school they used to take us on Sundays to hear an old preacher named Silas Fox. He was a tiny little man but boy could he jump around the stage and pound the pulpit! Needless to say as teenagers we weren't too impressed with him and even snickered a bit because he got himself so worked up and went on for hours it seemed. Since then we have had many lovely, loving, kind, gentle pastors that get the gospel preached but in a much nicer fashion. I don't think you have to get all red in the face and screech, I don't think that would be the way Jesus would talk to us. That's a hoot about Krispy Creme!!

Rising Rainbow June 27, 2010 at 12:39 PM  

Funny, I've managed to find myself on a series with a relgious vein of it's own. Must be great minds, don't ya think? LOL

I can just see your granny. Scared she was going to burn in hell so projecting that on you. Sad really. And you're right about the stealing.........nothing stupid about you as a child.........or now, I'd reckon. LOL

Rising Rainbow July 8, 2010 at 7:45 PM  

You have posted in a while. Hope you are all right!


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