Cartoon by Scott Anthony

Jerry's View - Lemon or Peach - Only two mistakes in my life

   When I was baptized in the Mallory Avenue Christian Church, in Portland, Oregon, it was just a basement with no steeple and a dozen window wells about two feet high with a completely flat roof made of ship-lap.  A wooden staircase led down to the basement with six or seven rooms for meetings. There was a huge stage with a metal baptismal tub where I got dunked-- a choir space 8 feet high for about 30 singers and a pulpit about ten feet in front where Reverend Nankivel gave us words to live by on Sundays.

My little sister Norma went to bible class with me while mom attended a bible study for parents.We were the youngest kids out of the brood of nine but we got to sit with mom during the Sunday sermon.

The tithing plate was passed hand over hand to each parishioner. I ogled the coins and the occasional paper dollar as it passed by. Mom gave us each a dime to put on the plate. I thought about making change and hooking a nickel back for the movie show but my conscience got the best of me. After the sermon the preacher called for all the faithful who wanted to be baptized, to come forward. Mom gave me a nudge so I followed her up to the altar. Norma sat in her pew. I was the only one who got baptized for some reason. The preacher had a heck of a time lifting my skinny body into that big tank but the dunking was deserved I guess.

    Mom handed me the tray of crackers and tiny containers of grape juice. I drank one and was reaching for another one before she stopped me. Even though I never had enjoyed real grape juice at home, mom knew it was not polite to take more than one.

I wasn't a bad kid but I was always hungry. Hungry enough to chew road tar like my brother Russ. Mom never knew why our teeth were always black.

I never had any plan to become a chef but I did try to bake a lemon meringue pie when they held a Saturday cooking class at church. I gave  it a try.That was a tasty disaster when the scorched brown topping fell as I
removed it  from the oven.

  I took it home and shared it with my big brother.He never got baptized but he didn't mind EATING my pie.

  We had no car so we had to walk to church most Sundays. I remember one Sunday when Mr. and Mrs. Courter came by to pick us up. Just my Mother and I stood on the corner of Vancouver and Russett waiting for Mr.Courter. My brother Russ stayed home. Mom and I walked a block up to the intersection as Mr.Courter did not want to go an extra block to get us and made us walk to and from his car to save gasoline.

I did not get mad but one day mom and I were invited to come into their house on the way home. Mrs Courter had a giant bowl of fruit on her table. I hadn't been a Christian very long and my mouth was watering for a bite of a big ripe peach so I grabbed one when mom and Mrs. Courter were not in the room. I bit into a fake peach.UGH! What a shock. It was made of wax or chalk or something awful. I dug it out of my mouth and slid it carefully back into place with the bite side down.

I don't think she ever discovered it. I hope not.

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