Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Stained Glass Windows

I watched from across the room as the large, sweaty, black woman shouted out, “Yes Lord!” and then went into convulsions. Her hands and hair flew in the air as she danced and hopped out of control. Then she fainted into the arms of a nearby woman, who gently lowered her to the floor. Near the front, another woman shouted out as the Holy Ghost took over her body. It was Sunday morning in the Church of God and Christ, and slanted sunrays from the East warmly poured in through the tall narrow stain glass windows.

It was a small church, constructed of pine, with a tall white steeple on top. The church sat in the center of a large grassy field with gray gravel-stones bridging a narrow pathway from the street until the church’s main entrance. There was another entrance at the rear of the church, leading into a tiny kitchen, where the women sometimes prepare meals. Beyond the main entrance, an aisle began dividing two sections of hardwood pews and ended with the front row. People of all ages filled the pews, in darks suits and ties, and colorful dresses with hats that had flowers.

Big mama watched from the piano near the pulpit, though she could not play very well. She also could not carry a tune. Even as a child of five, I noticed it, how her voice stood out like a howling cat amidst hounds that sang in harmony. Still, she loved to sing loud.

The room was hot, and colorful handheld fans waved in the air that smelled of Wrigley's Spearmint gum. I sat with my back against a pew, feet dangling and sometimes alternately kicking in the air, as I studied patterns in the stained windows and daydreamed to the sound of big daddy preaching fire and brimstone from the pulpit. He was a quiet man, except when he stood there.

Big mama then called me to sing a solo in front of the congregation. I was too young to be embarrassed. “Deep, and wide,” I sang, rocking back and forth as smiling grownups looked on, “Deep, and wide!” they rocked with me, “There’s a fountain flowing deep and wide!” Another woman jumped out from the pews and went into convulsions as I finished my song with wide eyes.


Tisha! said...

Beautifully written, is this all your work?


DariDonovan said...

I love the way you write, you certainly have a way with words. This is beautful.

DariDonovan said...

Gene, I responded to your comment over at CODEPINK. Please continue to visit and comment, your comments mean a lot and are very thought=provoking and informative for other readers as well as myself.


Sanni said...

That´s awesome!
Thanks a lot for stopping by my blog earlier today =)

starlet said...

see churches kind of scare me.

Mark Base said...


Amazing visuals in your writing.


BlondeMom said...

I love your writing style. Having grown up Southern Baptist, I can just envision this scene.

Dixiechick said...

I can so relate to that story. My darling other half and I go to a small Baptist Church in rural West Tennessee. There are many like you described in church.

I am so glad that I have found your blog. My son enlisted in the USMC a week before Christmas and will not ship out until July 23rd for Parris Island.

I'm going to add you as link. Hope you don't mind.

Cath said...

ta da ! new pic ! I hope you like it !!!! Love from Paris la belle :)

Caterina !

ps : J'adore la façon dont tu écris, mais comment fais-tu ?

mary said...

That brings back loads of memories..I loved it when I was too young to be embarassed. Kids get it right every time!