Sunday, December 30, 2007

Thanks ... I Needed That ? ? ?

Woodie J. Hamby was my dad. He was a no nonsense type of man. Oh he had a great sense of humor and he enjoyed a good laugh. I even saw him cry when our family went to the Jefferson Theatre to see the movie, “Lassie Come Home.” But, Dad wouldn’t put up with too much foolishness, especially from me. Since I was full of foolishness he had a full-time job.
One night, I had a lesson brought home to me that as I look back was a great lesson. If there was a quote to go with the story, it would be, “Thanks, I needed that.”
First I should explain that my family was a conservative Christian family. We went to church every time the doors were open. This included Sunday mornings, Sunday nights, Wednesday nights, and any Gospel Meeting that came along. Other churches called them, “Revivals.” Anyway, some of these would run every night for up to two weeks. So, there was a lot of “church attending” in my family.
And all of this was fine except for one thing. I wasn’t crazy about the idea of going to church so much. Let me hasten to add that I always enjoyed church once I was there. I just didn’t like dressing up in a suit with a bow tie and all of that kind of stuff. I was eight years old and really had rather been playing at home climbing trees or some other exciting adventure.
One Wednesday night, I decided within my heart that I was not going to church. We called it, “Prayer Meeting.” Somewhere along the way those meetings came to be called, “Mid-week Services.” I had been thinking for a few weeks that Sunday mornings and Sunday nights really were more than enough and that Wednesday nights were just altogether unnecessary. And forget those Gospel Meetings or Revivals. I had made my decision. However I had failed to inform my dad of the “New Me.”
Now for the crunch time. Our family owned a 1938 Plymouth. When you shut the doors on that old car, you could them slam for half a block. On this particular Wednesday night, all the family was dressed and ready to head out to the church house. My sister went out to the car, my mother went out to the car and I sat down in one of the easy chairs in our living room. My dad, thinking I also had gone out to the car went out of the house and closed the door. I heard the lock turn. Then I heard the car doors slamming as everyone got into the vehicle. I sat there in the living room thinking, “This is easier than I thought it was going to be.”
I listened for the car motor to start up. It didn’t start. What I did hear was the car door slam. Then I heard a key in the lock. And in came my dad. He sat down and began talking with me. He stated that he knew I was eight years old and plenty old enough to make my own decisions. He continued explaining how that I should want to go to church without feeling like I had to go. Then he said, “Now I want this to be your decision. Are you going to church tonight or not?” I replied, “No, I think I’ll stay home.” Dad said, “Git in the car.” Guess what? I went out and got in the car. All our family went to church.
And you know what else? I’m 72 and still go to church and love every minute of it.
Thanks, Dad … I needed that …

Winston Hamby
The Beaumont Enterprise


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