MUSHY'S MOOCHINGS: THE TENT REVIVAL

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

THE TENT REVIVAL

Between my house and Woody’s was a vacant lot that sat empty for years, but this area served the community and the boys of Pine Hills well for years. In the fall, until the ground was perceived too hard, we played sandlot football until we could not see the ball in its spiraling flight on pass routes. I often joke about some of my aches and pains I now have coming from having played football in the SFLA (Sandlot Football League of America). I cannot count the dislocated thumbs and pinkies, twisted knees, rock contusions, and crack-back blocks I endured during my membership!

This field also provided local churches with space for great tent-revivals in early to mid-summer. Upon this holy ground I committed an act toward women that still haunts me to this day.

Now, as life would have it, Betty Anne’s church held this particular annual event, and signs were posted all over the county. Betty Anne and several of her girlfriends planned to attend, and naturally asked us guys to accompany them to the services. Naturally, we declined, setting off a two-week long “we’re not speaking to you” campaign.

Standing within a rock throw of the field was a Gulf Service Station operated by another friend’s dad. Morgan was the same age as Woody and me and had many of the same interests, especially in girls. We discussed our own strategy for the five nightlong revival, and it boiled down to spying on the girls from high atop the service station.

The first two nights we lay on the roof in the twilight and watched for the girls to file in and find seats. Each night, up until this time, they had taken the same four or five metal folding chairs with their backs to the station, and facing the podium and minister’s lectern.

Through the entire service we peppered them with the small roof gravel, and generally made a nuisance of ourselves. The girls would turn around and look in our direction, having figured out whom and where we were, and then nonchalantly flipped us “the bird” behind their heads.

Then came the third or fourth night and a new “grand” scheme was hatched. We would stand on the brace between the back legs of the usual chairs, making deep holes down into the soft ground, pull the chairs back up out of the holes, and wait for the fun to begin later! What a great plan, and everything worked as expected, we might see a flash of panties as the chairs rocked back into the holes and dumping the girls over the backs in our direction!

The music began softly as people filed in and took their seats, but for some unknown reason (could have been the rocks, I do not know!) the girls took seats on the opposite side of the tent facing us! Oh, my God - how could this be?

We watched puzzled and waited to see who took the designated chairs. It appeared the chairs would go unused as the first song began with everyone standing and flipping to the correct page in the hymnal. However, just then four little old ladies, the youngest about seventy-five came parading down the aisle in the “Sunday Best” looking for seats close to the front.

We held our breath as they moved down the row and stood reverently in front of the “booby-trapped” chairs!

As the song ended, and the minister began to welcome everyone, the little old ladies began their slow and deliberate decent to the chairs. As fate would have it, their little scrawny bottoms touched down in perfect formation. As they leaned back, the chair legs sank as calculated, and over they tipped, to a reclining position, eight legs in the air, with their backs still against the chair backs!

All I remember, as we hunkered down behind the roof wall, trying to stifle our belly laughs, was the sight of the eight opaque stocking legs, with the roll just below each knee!

If it had not scared me some much, I too would have been rolling in the roof gravel trying to catch my breath! However, I only thought about someone being hurt and the beating my mother would give me for embarrassing her so.

As I remember it, the girls got such a kick out of it that they only held out for “not talking” to us for a week.

No old ladies were harmed in execution of this transgression, but the preacher got an eye full, and like me, probably has trouble getting those spread old stocking legs out of his head!

17 comments:

Fathairybastard said...

Man, that's hilarious. Another great trip through the back of the wardrobe. Was there ever really such an idyllic time, or are you just makin' this stuff up?

Mushy said...

You can't make shit like that up!

I swear it happened...I don't do fiction, except at Cross+Hairs!

Suldog said...

That was great! Reminds me of Jean Shepherd (sp). You ever read stories of his from his childhood, Mushy? Nostalgic as all get out and funny as hell, too. If you've seen "A Christmas Story" (the movie) that was based on his stuff.

David Sullivan said...

he,he,he :-)

Mushy said...

I get the overall feeling you folks don't believe this stuff is true...scouts honor!

The only liberties I take is with dialogue...unless you keep a journal...there is no way anyone can remember exactly what was said.

I often wonder that about movies base on the truth...if there was a journal...like in Biloxi Blues...then maybe!

Marie said...

Beautiful imagery, thanks! ;)

Butch said...

Mushy,

I really enjoyed this post! Good stuff...

Thanks...

Fathairybastard said...

Relax, we believe you. It just seems so idyllic, like it's from Andy Griffith or somethin'. An older, simpler time. Yer sparkin' memories, makin' me think back and see if I can come up with somethin'.

Stewart Sternberg said...

This is excellent stuff. Mushy, a good read. The line:the sight of the eight opaque stocking legs, with the roll just below each knee! Now, that's just good writing.

Mushy said...

Thanks for all the kind words of encouragement, especially to Stewart!

Les Becker said...

Oh, Mushy; you are SO BAD! LOL!

Jose said...

Mushy, I wonder if our kids will ever tell stories like that to their kids. In this electronic game era memories like the one you just told us will just not happen anymore.

Your posts always make me think at how much simpler our times were and how we would think of things to stay entertained, and the best thing of all is that is was free. Times like this could not be purchased on ebay, I think that's were the new generation goes to find theirs.

Dana said...

Mushy, Mushy, Mushy! (shaking head) You bad boy!

Sounds like a Ray Stevens song. LOL

Fathairybastard said...

SEE what I mean!

Ron Southern said...

You know you were a BAAAD boy, but it's too late now.

Shrink wrapped scream said...

I'm sure I met you, as a kid. I could never ignore you for too long, though.. life got too boring!

(ps. You're tagged.)

BRUNO said...

A shame that "pocket-size" digital cams weren't invented yet! Of course, considering the age of the victims, you probably could've done a "tin-print" by the time they got back up!