When the Old Man married my mother, I was maybe 5 years old. He adopted me, so technically (legally) he's my father, I guess. That's another post.
With him I inherited a large contingent of assorted conservative Southern Baptists in the form of a pair of step-grandparents (whom I dubbed "New Granny" and "New Grampa"), an uncle, his wife, and their litter of kids, all with "T" names (Terry, Tammy, Tracy, Tristi & Troy), all living on the same road.
I enjoyed going over there; Troy and I were about the same age, and we hit it off like little kids do.
But one thing I didn't like was Church Day. This was a day when the entire brood formed up and marched to the station wagon for several hours of preacher-talk. There was no discussion of me not going--such a thing was unthinkable, resistance was futile, I would be assimilated.
So I sat on the pew or knelt or stood, wondering how these people could take such things seriously. I was given a $5.00 bill for the collection plate. This was one of those little hellfire joints where the list of people going to hell went like this (from worst to least):
SBC's who went to the wrong SBC church (this one was the right one, see).
People sitting on the wrong side of the building.
People sitting on the wrong pew.
People not of the family.
People not in the car.
You know the type--everyone but our little group, but I was going to hell anyway because my parents were Episcopalians. They really didn't like it when I went into the Boy Scouts in 1980 or so.
I went to their Sunday School and sat there wondering where this "Israel" was, and why it was so important, and not believing a word of it: it was obviously made-up stuff.
If a 6-year old can figure that out...
Gramps died of a heart attack in the mid-'70s. Mrs. Gramps died of Alzheimer's in 1999. Uncle and Aunt divorced in the late '80s (I thought that was a sin?). The Five Tees are well on their way to repopulating the county themselves and ignore me when I go to family reunions. I wonder how many of them still go to that church....