Just Desserts

JUST DESSERTS – The history behind the Second Baptist Church. This is the second piece in the Uncle Earle and Aunt May series.

There’s not but one Baptist Church in Fairchild, Mississippi, the Second Baptist Church. That sounds kinda strange, there being only one Baptist church in town. Here’s the story of how this came about.

It’s all because of a huge banana pudding fight between the pastor’s wife and the head deacon’s wife of the First Baptist Church. Grandma Eunice was there and she swore that everything said about it was the Gospel truth! It happened on the fourth night of the week long “BROTHERLY LOVE CONFERENCE” sponsored by the Young Homemakers Club. (At least it was planned to be a week long.) That was on a Wednesday night, and the club planned a covered dish supper before the conference began.

Any self-respecting Southern Baptist knows you must have Cool-Whip in any respectable dessert. (Tom Barnes says that Cool-Whip’s a-number one seller at the Wag-A-Bag). That night the head deacon’s wife came in with a huge Banana Pudding she’d made from a recipe she found in one of those women’s magazines they sell at the at the Wag-A-Bag. Those magazine folks must not be Southern Baptist because that banana pudding had never been near any Cool-Whip. Of course, the pastor’s wife always brought her banana pudding, and it was considered the banana pudding of any church social. (She made it from her Great-Aunt Ida’s recipe, who once served it to Johnny Cash back in the 60s, when his show bus broke down when passing through town.) Of course, it was always made with Cool-Whip.

It was bad enough that the deacon’s wife brought another banana pudding to the event, but to pour oil on the fire, she even had the nerve (Grandma Eunice used the word gall) to think that her banana pudding was the better of the two! Soon there was a little eye-sparing around the serving table and some timid tasting by the two women. The rest of the crowd didn’t know quite what to do. It would’ve been in poor taste not to have some of both. And it would’ve also been in poor taste not to at least appear to be loyal to your pastor’s wife. And that would have appeared like you thought the deacon’s wife’s banana pudding was in poor taste… even if you thought it was great. See what I mean? Grandma Eunice said it actually did taste pretty darn good!

The two women nervously talked about their banana puddings, simple stuff like how many bananas they used, how ripe they were, things like that. You couldn’t cut the tension with one of those as-seen-on-TV miracle knives. Nobody knows what actually started the fracas, because everyone was giving the two women a wide berth at the time. But Grandma Eunice said she distinctly heard one of ’em say in a loud voice, (But she couldn’t tell which one) – “Yeah, well you know what you can do with YOUR bananas!”

The next thing you know, those two fine upstanding Christian women are flinging great handfuls of banana pudding at one another! Globs of yellow pudding, banana disks, and limp vanilla wafers were flying everywhere! The pastor’s wife slipped in the banana-goo, her feet slip-sliding away in all directions. She grabbed at the table to keep from falling – and the head deacon’s wife pounced on this opportunity, and lifted the bowl filled with what was left of the pastor’s wife’s banana pudding – sending it crashing down, pudding first, right on top of the pastor’s wife’s head! The two husbands rushed into the fray, desperately trying to separate their slippery, banana pudding covered wives. It was hard to tell who was who because both were so covered in banana pudding. It only took one good yank on the wrong wife by the wrong husband, in the wrong place – and it erupted into a genuine free-for-all. Grandma Eunice said it was the pastor who accidentally grabbed the head deacon’s wife in the most inappropriate of places.

In Baptist circles around here they refer to that night as the Great Banana Pudding War of ’84. To give each side credit, after the fellowship hall was cleaned up, the two families attempted to reconcile their differences. They never did. And neither did they ever finish the FIRST ANNUAL BROTHERLY LOVE CONFERENCE.

I guess the damage was done. The head deacon and his family quit First Baptist and started a new little church across town. At first the new group met in the deacon’s living room, bringing in a part-time preacher who was no more than a kid fresh out of seminary. They started out with about eight. Around that time the overall factory received a big government contract to make Army uniforms. Soon trailer parks and apartments started popping up around there like popcorn on a Saturday night. That little band of renegade Baptist started knocking on aluminum doors and luring dirty faced trailer-park kids to Sunday School – until pretty soon it was standing room only in that cramped little bath-and-a-half house. The pimple-faced preacher was hired on full-time, and with the help of a good band of new deacons, he got dried off behind his ears real soon. They built a small church building, and in no time at all they had to enlarge the place – twice!

It grew up so quickly that they never got around to properly naming it! (Those at First Baptist referred to it as the “Other Baptist.”) There were so many people offering up so many different names as to what to call it, (names like Glory Road Baptist, Heaven Bound Baptist, and People of the Word Baptist were offered) that the young pastor simple threw up his hands and said they’d just call it The Second Baptist Church until they could come up with a better name. I guess they never did. (I wonder if anybody ever suggested BANANA BAPTIST?)

Young folks like a young church. So most of the younger bunch from First Baptist drifted over to Second Baptist. Soon, with thinning ranks, the old church began to wither on the vine. There’s a cemetery adjoining the spot where First Baptist used to be. Beside the church, and shading several dozen graves, was a great old monster of an oak tree. The old oak was diseased, and rotted out pretty badly. Kids thought the center of the old tree looked like a spooky cave! It really should have been removed years before. But the older members of the congregation would have none of that. A typical remark was, “My poor dead husband proposed to me under that tree just before he shipped off to the Great War – and that tree’ll come down over MY dead body.” And that was exactly what the church board was waiting for. But the old tree couldn’t wait.

It took a thunder storm no worse than any, maybe even smaller than most. But the old tree came down anyway, right smack dab across the middle of The First Baptist Church. It took out half the sanctuary and a third the pews, the pulpit, the organ, part of the choir loft, the choir room, the pastor’s study, one and a half Sunday School rooms – and the ladies’ john. It must have been the loss of the ladies’ john that did it. They could’ve met under a tent until they rebuilt the place, and had “open air” services for a while. But the old ladies of the church just had to have a bathroom, and there wasn’t another for half a mile away – except of course for the MEN’s bathroom. It still worked. But those old women were not going to share a bathroom, not with those old pee-on-the-seat men! Anyway, the insurance company had long ago realized that the old oak tree was a hazard, and they’d written in a clause that exempted them from loss caused by the tree. (The church board had forgotten about that!) The old church was a total write-off.

So that’s why the only Baptist church in town happens to be named The Second Baptist Church!

 

Honey Buns

The following short piece of fictional humor is one chapter of a collection of ‘Uncle Earle and Aunt May’ stories, original written several years ago. I hope to included several of these in the near future. Note: all of these stories, or parts thereof, are drawn from tidbits of personal experience, knowledge, or some taco induced wild dream. Who knows, you might just think you see yourself in one of these stories!

Last month the Wag-A-Bag hired on a new cashier, a youngster fresh out of high school. She worked only afternoons and Saturdays. From the first time Uncle Earle laid eyes on her, he was struck! Not on her, and not in the way you might think. Uncle Earle got all starry-eyed over the young lady’s rear end! “Boy oh boy, Billy,” he said to me, “That girl’s got the finest hinny I ever laid eyes on!”

Uncle Earle’s in his 80’s. I’ve always believed he was harmless, and still do. But just because there’s snow on the roof, that’s no sign there’s not fire in the furnace. Anyway, Uncle Earle was really fixated on that girl’s behind. And he wasn’t shy in spreading the word about her fair fanny to any and all who’d listen. “You mention that girl’s BE-hind one more time in this house Earle,” Aunt May barked, “and I’ll kick YOURS clear to the back side of nowhere!” But that didn’t stop Uncle Earle. He praised her posterior high and low. Most men in town, being men, thought that perhaps they’d better go see this thing that had come to pass. Men who’d never grocery shopped a day in their lives suddenly wanted to go shopping. Me included. I must say, Uncle Earle was right.

Earl and May really were out of eggs. So Uncle Earle naturally volunteered to go to the store. They often fix ‘breakfast’ for supper. It was nearly 7, and the Wag-A-Bag closes at 7, so Uncle Earle got a move on. He was briskly walking up to the door when Tom Barnes, the store’s manager, pulled out his keys to lock up. Uncle Earle’s still spry for his age, so as quick as a rabbit he darted in, almost knocking Tom over. Uncle Earle made a bee-line to the egg case, and began searching through each box to see if any were broken. It really gets Uncle Earle’s craw to find 3 or 4 opened egg cartons with one broken egg in each. So he proceeded to re-package the eggs, carefully putting all the cracked eggs into one carton.

“Earle!” barked Tom Barnes from the front of the store, “Hurry it up for crying out loud!” Soon, eggs were not all Uncle Earl in his basket. He had cheese, eggs, a package of wieners, and 3 small tubs of yogurt. Finally, hurrying up to the register, Uncle Earle was disappointed to see that Honey Buns wasn’t there! She’d gone to the employee’s lockers in the back to get her purse. Tom, checked him out. What a let down!

But just as Uncle Earle was gathering up his purchases, suddenly the girl, Fancy Pants, Little Miss Booty-ful, Honey Buns – appeared at the ‘out’ door. Tom hadn’t locked the OUT door yet. She was wearing loose fitting, white cotton jogging pants. Warm-Ups folks call ‘em. She was carrying a purse, her car keys, and a bag of groceries. Just as she reached to push the OUT door, she dropped her purse scattering small change across the floor.

Now this girl, the subject of much praise and adoration from the wolves of town, had never been given any overt reasons to suspect that her hind end was the subject of such extreme interest. Otherwise, she’d been more cautious in her actions. So when her change fell onto the floor, she innocently bent over to pick it up. Bad move. Or good move, depending on how you look at it. (Pardon the pun.)

Uncle Earle was in the process of following Sweet-thing out the door when she dropped the purse, so when she stopped and bent over, well – her adorable posterior was – right there. Those cotton warm-ups were not all that thick. When she bent over, they became quite form-fitting – right across the area of Uncle Earle’s deep seated attraction. Underneath, Uncle Earle recalled in vivid detail, she was wearing yellow panties – with pink and blue flowers. Uncle Earle has amazing recall for a man his age. What happened next will be talked about around the Wag-A-Bag for years to come.

Once a mountaineer was asked why he climbed the mountain. “Because it’s there,” he replied. And ‘it’ was there – right within Uncle Earle’s reach.

He told me later that it was those pink and blue flowers that did it. “Had it a-been those baggy pink bloomers what May wears, that would-a been different. It was them bloomin’ FLOWERS!”

In a daze, Uncle Earle dropped his bag of groceries, and reached out toward those twin fields of pink and blue flowers, taking a double handful of her well defined rump! With a scream that could be heard in the next county, the girl jerked erect, her arms flailing in terror. Uncle Earle stumbled backwards, planting one foot squarely in the middle of the egg carton. Racing out the door, the freaked-out girl barreled headlong right into the side of Officer O’Neill’s patrol cruiser. I don’t know if Tom would’ve called the police or not. And that poor girl was too hysterical to think of anything short of rearranging Uncle Earle’s face. So Officer O’Neill, who just happened to be making his rounds, took control of the situation and did the honors.

A few hours later, Aunt May and I were at the county jail bailing out Uncle Earle. “Why, Uncle Earle? What possessed you to do that?” I asked. Aunt May was both furious and mortified with shame.

“Them flowers, them flowers,” was all he could mutter. Tom Barnes banished Uncle Earle from EVER coming back to the wag-A-Bag, and the traumatized Honey Buns never came back either. It cost Uncle Earle a hundred and fifty dollars of his Social Security check to get out of jail. “Well I hope you’re satisfied Earle,” said Aunt May, as she slammed the money on the counter. “Was it worth it old man?” she barked, “Was it worth it?”

I could have sworn a saw a tiny smile creep across his thin lips… “Yup. Yup… it wuz.”

HOW I CAME TO WRITE

christmas-head

It’s only fitting that this first ‘official’ blog be a history of how I came to write. I was about 12 at the time, entering that bewildering wonderland between childhood and an adult. I had by this time made up my mind, heart, and yes, spirit – that I really did believe all those unbelievable things we read in the Bible. Yes, I knew that God really was real.

I’d been asked to give a short devotional in our Methodist Youth Fellowship Class. I was beginning to think deep 12 year old thoughts about this time, so I decided to WRITE my devotional! Other than short school assignments, this was my first attempt at ‘serious’ writing.

Easter was approaching, so an Easter devotional seemed appropriate. I found a very, very large nail among my Dad’s tools, and planned to use the nail, a piece of 2×4, and a large hammer as props. Then I began to write.

My thought process centered of Christ’s sacrificial death for our sins.The more I focused on this truth, the more unbelievable it seemed to me that His own people could have rejected Him! And then, I remembered that people of my day were still trying to push Him aside, out of the way, out of their lives. For the first time, the use of ‘X’ for Christmas – as in ‘Merry Xmas’ suddenly seemed all the more repulsive. It was truly sad, and unbelievable. I worked this into my Easter story. I entitled the piece, ‘THE MAN CALLED X.’

That was 60+ years ago. I’m still writing. People are still replacing the real Easter story with stories of rabbits and eggs. And people are busier today celebrating anything and everything but the true meaning of Christmas. Who would have thought 60 years ago that it would not be considered ‘politically correct’ in 2016 to say Merry Christmas! More than ever before, our once Christian nation is X-ing Him out! We know what happened to the Jewish nation when they did that. Let’s pray it’s not too late for us. Bill Murphy

 

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