Ya know my Sabbath day begins on the morning when I wake up and my body tells me, "Stop!!!! Don't go there. Lay right here until ya feel right!"
In other words, I usually work Sundays. Last week was Fall Break for the public schools so my 15 year old son,Christopher, had an excellent opportunity to spend all the money he had( His grandmother died a couple of weeks ago and left half of all she had to him, however, he's not a "trust fund baby" yet). Because my little boy was broke, I had an excellent opportunity to enlist some temporary labor for my project on 31st Avenue over in the West End, an area of Tuscaloosa where Blacks have run the show since the beginning of time.
As we were crossing the bridge from Northport to Tuscaloosa, I looked in my rearview mirror (It was 9:44 A.M.) and behind me I saw three zillion SUV's roaring toward me at 80 mph. It was the white Christians trying to get to Sunday School on time at the downtown Tuscaloosa Churches( Episcopal, Methodist, Southern Baptist and Presbyterian).
I told my boy, " Son, ya know what all those Daddy's told their children this morning when they griped about going to church? 'Hell, if we don't show up, nobody else will either!!!' "
Anyway, we get over to the job site which is located less than eight feet away from the rear of the chapel of the Beulah Missionary Baptist Church. They'd already been in church for an hour so they were ready to crank up. We played the radio but everytime the preacher or the choir started up, we'd shut it off and listen.
The preacher didn't start preaching until 1:00 P. M. At 2:00, the choir started singing "I'm On Jesus's Side" and they sang it for about another hour. It was hypnotic. The preacher would come in while they were singing with a "Did ya go to bed with him last night?!!!! Jesus!!!! Did ya wake up with him this morning,Jesus!!!!! Halleluyah?!!!!"
At first you could discriminate between the voices but after about 15 minutes of "I'm on Jesus's Side!", everyone in the choir sounded in one voice.
About 3:00, all the women with the big hats started walking toward their cars and the guy next door got real lucky with a woman dressed all in white with a white hat about 3 feet wide trimmed with little bon bons and tassles.
So we worked the rest of the day and I gathered up a bunch of wood for Christopher to build a bridge and an outhouse for his neighborhood campsite.
I took him over to Northwood Lake to work on the campsite and returned to the jobsite right at sundown to hang a new door for security.
Across the fence I saw 73 year old Mary Lou Clay, who I have known for years, dressed in her Sunday best, going through the dumpster to get food for her dogs.( I will never forget Miss Mary Lou for many reasons but especially for those immortal words which I heard her speak to her sorry-ass son,"I don't care how rich yo' friends is. Don't cayuh how big a car they drive. They all going to the same place. IN THE GROUND and if they come around here , I'm gonna put they black asses in the ground. GOD GUIDES MY HAND SO I CAN AIM THIS MOTHUHFUCKIN' PISTOL!!!!!"
Had a wonderful conversation with Mz. Mary Lou about her situation and I realized that Black folk in Tuscaloosa get their money's worth out of their religion.