Saturday Report 01.02.2016
In the early 1950’s, I was a young boy growing up in a world without air-conditioning (maybe New York had it but not my town). The summers in south Georgia were hot and the windows in every home were open. The line of communication between the adults inside and the kids playing outside was through the screens that kept the flies out.
It seemed that every day I would find myself outside laying in the grass, dreaming about impossible adventures or sitting in a sand pile, humming to myself while trying to cajole doodlebugs up from their little caverns. The days were steamy-dreamy.
Every once in a while, I would hear an adult voice from inside (usually my grandmother) call out, “Zerrol, what are you doing out there? If you’re having any fun, stop it right now!”. Now I don’t think that’s exactly what was said but it was my interpretation of it. Most of the older women seemed to posses an iron will, and a strict policy against young’uns having any fun – if it felt good, don’t do it. If it was fun, stop it. The Church of God had convinced them that the only way to get to heaven was to suffer, and to condemn all worldly pleasures… with the possible exception of biscuits and gravy.
My immediate family attended the First Baptist Church while my grandmother was a faithful member of The Church of God (about as close to God as one could get). One afternoon it was decided that I would accompany my grandmother to her church for a revival meeting. The service began in the usual way, with some talking and singing. Then the preacher began to get pretty excited and animated. He began to pace back and forth across the stage, he started shouting and waving his arms about as if he was being electrocuted. Then someone in the audience stood up and began to emulate the preacher… then another and then another until everyone was up dancing around. I had never seen anything like it and began to wonder if I was in danger of being trampled to death. I really got worried when my grandmother began to dance around – singing a song that had no real words, just strange sounds. I observed this in awe until I finally decided that this was just my grandmother’s way of having fun and eventually everything would be all right. Years later, I saw the same phenomenon on TV and learned that they were doing something called, “Speaking-in-tongue”. I was relieved to find out that what I had witnessed was not an isolated incident and that there were other people in the world like my grandmother… well, almost like her… bless her heart.
Now that I’m old, worldly sophisticated and a legend in my own mind, I still see the world in much the same way as that young, lackadaisical, half-blind kid. I am in awe of how much I don’t know. How big and wide, how deep and diversified is the world. I have not always been able to discern and explain the differences between fact and fantasy. As I glide into the future, I find it even less desirable to try to do so. I’ve come to believe that the present is all we have and that it is enough for me. I appreciate and respect the science of modern medicine, and I believe that the art of medicine is to entertain the patient while Nature heals. As Voltaire said, “I have chosen to be happy because it is good for my health”.
At least that is how I see things today… tomorrow is another day. Cheers ~