I find it quite amazing that as the years pass, events that didn’t seem so cute or funny at the time become hilarious.
It was the late 1980s and I had moved my family to South Central Kentucky. We had purchased a business, worked hard to become a part of the community, and found a home church we felt the Lord had led us to. We had two young children, a daughter and a son, and each possessed that angelic aura complete with a halo. But if you looked closely, you could see that halo was being held in place by a set of devilish horns. However, the folks of our new home church fell in love with them, and my wife – long before learning to even like me.
As a father, I was quite the disciplinarian, or at least I attempted to be, and for the most part it worked rather well. Usually, I could cast a look in the direction of my misbehaving children, and they would fall in line. Usually being the operative word.
One Sunday, just prior to services, we were seated a couple of rows back from the front of the church. On this day, my son was being especially social and found no harm in standing in the pew (he was about 4 years old) and speaking loudly to the folks in the row behind us. I instructed him to be seated and be quiet as the service was beginning. Thinking that Dad would not dare be so stern with him with witnesses, he continued his socialization at an even greater volume. As he did, the choir attempted to sing over him, but to no avail, as sweat began popping out on their foreheads.
The pastor and I had become fast friends, and he began casting looks of displeasure my way in silent pleas urging me to control my brat. I reached across my son’s mother, lifted him to my side, and I explained that if he did not stop visiting aloud with folks on the row behind us, I would take him outside and spank his little bottom. This tactic worked amazingly well for about a minute and a half, and then the ghost of “Welcome Wagons Past” resurfaced, this time louder than the pastor could speak over.
Embarrassed and exasperated, I snatched up my son and headed for the back door of the crowded sanctuary. Upon reaching the door, and just before I could escape and restore the quiet and sanctity of the service, my small angelic son, peering over my shoulder as he was destined to a father’s promised spanking, loudly implored the congregation in a thunderous cry, “People, pray for me!” On that note, about a third of the congregation and two of the deacons followed us to the parking lot to make certain that my son would be safe. All I can say is that we all saw the prayer of a little boy answered on a Sunday morning in the church parking lot.
Oh, everyone commented on how cute he was, but not one person accepted my offer to let him go home with them. Not one.
Herb Day is a longtime local radio personality and singer-musician. He can be heard Tuesday mornings from 8 a.m. to noon on 88.7 WOBO-FM, and can be reached at [email protected]