Thursday, March 17, 2011

Say What You Mean, Be Careful How You Say It

At times we have something important to say, but we just don’t know how to say it.  Sometimes we just don’t think about how we say it, and we convey the wrong message. 

It was a rainy day in Memphis, in the late 1960’s.  My brother, two sisters and I were playing outside in the rain, just down the street at Larry’s house.  Larry had a great yard for football and wiffle ball, and we played there almost every day. Larry and his family attended Graceland Baptist Church, and we attended Central Baptist church that was near downtown Memphis. My dad was a deacon, and both of my parents taught Sunday school.  We attended Sunday school and church on Sunday morning, training union and church on Sunday night, and Wednesday night prayer meeting faithfully every week. We were at church all the time.  We memorized Bible verses, and didn’t drink, smoke or cuss.  If we saw somebody do any of those things, we just assumed we needed to pray for their salvation, because Christians just didn’t do that.  At least the Baptists didn’t.

Okay, back to the story.  It was one of those glorious rainy summer days when the rain came down so hard and fast that the storm sewers could barely contain the water running off from the streets.  We had been playing at the storm sewer in front of Larry’s house, using mud and sticks to block the water so it wouldn’t go down the sewer drain.  We were building a dam, and the water was backing up just the way we wanted it to.  But Larry’s mom didn’t think it was a good idea, and she sent word by way of my younger sister, who was probably about six or seven years old, to remove the debris and allow the water to drain off the street.  So my sister called out from the front porch, “Larry, your mama said to get that dam stuff out of the sewer!”

At first, we were stricken with fear!  Did Larry’s mom hear her say that?  Did she unintentionally commit a sin?  After all, that was one word that Christians just didn’t say.  But then, we started laughing, and asked her to say it again.  So again, we heard her shout across the front yard, “YOUR MAMA WANTS YOU TO GET THAT DAM STUFF OUT OF THE SEWER!”  We howled with laughter, experiencing the joy of hearing my little sister shout out the expletive again!

Well, nobody got spanked or grounded, and lightening didn’t strike any of us, so we figured we got away with one.  After all, she didn’t mean to cuss.  She was just delivering a message.


  1. That is just tooooo funny!! I can picture the whole scene perfectly in my mind's eye ... right down to the rainy street escapade of dam building to the 'training union' and choir practices!!

    Good one, Joel


  2. I too remember the looong Sundays, which were really long with the drive to the old location. It's gone now, but what a glorious sight the church must have been when it was brand new. I wonder if anyone still has the collection of the decorative plates (I don't remember the appropriate term for these items), that depicted all of the magnificent buildings that the church (very same church that dated back to the 1700's, or near) had owned trough the years. The building before the one many of us were brought to soon after birth, resembled the Cathedrals you could see in England. A part of history that may no longer exist. Maybe a chance that one of the Thompson family members might have the collection. Well sorry Joel, this isn't the topic of your blog.
    But the blog is FUNNY!! I can picture this! Especially being the little sister who often was picked on & because of the naive age! Still precious memories of our youth! Thanks for the memories, as Bob Hope always sang!

  3. HaHa..I do remember that!