Church wasn't a big part of our family life when we were growing up . We'd go occasionally, but Easter was a must. We kids had it made. For Easter we'd get new clothes. We were growing kids, so for a while it must have been new clothes every year. We'd make sure that whatever church we went to, we'd walk around the block a few times before entering, just so we could parade our cool duds. Along with everybody else I should add.
There's no point in my trying to discuss inner city finances and logic, I really don't know why my folks, being poor and all, would spend big bucks on our fine clothes. Probably to convince the other poor folks that we weren't poor. I don't know, but I DO know that we looked good.
I can only think of a few church moments:
For a very brief time my sister and I went to vacation bible school. While there, I didn't know what they were talking about, but the lunches were great.
Eventually I'd find myself hanging around and thinking, "Man, enough of this LAWD business, just give me a g** d**n sandwich." Oops my apologies, that doesn't sound like a kid, does it? Let me rephrase that… "Gee whiz, enough of this lord stuff, just hand me a sandwich please." Vacation bible school didn't last long.
The other two church moments were kind of traumatic.
For another brief time we went to this corner church. It was a good walk away from our house. It was Easter of course. One great thing about Easter, was being handed chocolate and jelly beans. This was a little church and being Easter Sunday, it was packed. It was also a LOUD church. The organist and the drummer would be tearing it up in there. As the music would get louder some ladies sitting near us would start "feeling the spirit". They'd jump up, they're hands would be flying around and they'd be muttering some gibberish. My brother and I would do all we could to not laugh, but we couldn't help it. What's wrong with these old ladies? It was too funny. It stopped being funny when our mom jumped up and started hopping around and muttering gibberish. Then we wanted to get the hell out of there. I'm not sure if she was feeling the spirit or was competing with the other ladies. It was a terrifying sight. We never went back.
My most traumatic church experience was getting baptized. One evening my mom asked me if I wanted to be baptized. It really wasn't a question because she wouldn't let me say no. I don't think we knew what kind of church it was. It was just a church. A big church. The service took place in the evening. We didn't know anybody in the church, and until that evening had never set foot in the place, but Mickey's getting baptized.
"Some deacons are going to escort you to that large pool of water and the guy in the pool is going to grab your head and push you under the water." What??!!! What the heck is a deacon? It sounds like a space alien or some nut wearing a vulture suit. I had no choice but to go through with it. The congregation was singing a mournful version of 'Wade In The Water'. Slow and creepy. Hearing this, all I could imagine were those mournful black male faces that you would see in a 1960's sci-fi flick whenever someone would use the word 'freedom' in a monologue. The camera zooms in. Mournful black male faces. Wade In The Water. DEACONS!
There I was with the Deacon boss. He grabbed my head and pushed me under.
We never went back.