Jesus, Mama and Weed
I was thinking back a few days ago about the time Mama introduced me and my sisters to weed on her quest to find Jesus.
“I MOST CERTAINLY DID NOT,” Mama would be yelling right now if she were in front of me. “YOU BETTER NOT WRITE THAT SH*%# DOWN! DO YOU HEAR ME…T’LOUISE?”
Yep, she’d be having what’s referred to as a genuine hissy-fit, waving her finger all up in my face.
But since she happens to be miles away at the moment…I can’t help but smile.
After all, I am my mama’s daughter…
For many years I thought this was one of those dreams that kept resurfacing. It’s not like I had never asked Mama if she had taken us to a hippie church before. She always informed me that she had no clue what I was talking about. Nope, she didn’t remember anything of that nature ever happening. So, I’d leave it alone and blame it on my often-overactive imagination.
It wasn’t until the third time I asked her about it that I noticed she hurried and changed the subject. When someone does that, it’s a sure sign that something’s up.
“Mama, look at me. Do you remember that little hippie church?” I asked.
This time it was different; she was sitting in the corner of the couch and acting like she didn’t hear a thing. When she wouldn’t look up, I realized that she was trying her best to keep from laughing.
“What the hell,” I said. “It’s really true, isn’t it? It really happened, didn’t it?”
Mama could no longer ignore the questions. Yeah…she knew, I knew…she was caught.
Honestly, I always thought that sh*%# was in my head. Oh, sweet Jesus, the relief I felt wash over me knowing that I hadn’t fallen off the deep end of crazy. I was still in the wading pool and that’s something I could live with.
Mama slowly gathered herself together, paused and then gave me a glance. I could tell she was searching for a quick line of defense, but it was too late. She was caught.
“Honey, I kinda remember something about that little church,” she said, still avoiding eye contact. “But for the life of me…everything is just a little bit fuzzy.”
“Oh, I bet it is a little fuzzy, Mama. I bet it is.”
Now, to be honest and give Mama the benefit of the doubt, I thought a trip down Memory Lane was in order. Besides, what harm could it do? In my experience, as we get older we have a huge puzzle to piece together. Trust me when I say with this particular puzzle,the good Lord sure works in mysterious ways.
Before I dive head first into this incident, one thing I’d like everyone to know is that Mama had no intention of introducing us to drugs that day. If anything, I’m convinced that she indirectly saved us from a life of sex, drugs and rock-n-roll all in the sweet name of Jesus.
In the 70’s the big craze was long-haired teen heart-throbs who were poured into extremely tight pants with shirts unbuttoned to their navels. It was these guys who graced the cover of Teen Beat magazine every month.
Sista and I would scrape together any loose change we could find just to buy the next edition. Each magazine came filled with posters that we used to wallpaper our bedroom. David Cassidy, Leif Garrett, John Travolta and the list goes on. Girls everywhere were losing their minds over those long-haired rebels. Magazines announced that these guys wanted nothing more than to share a pillow with us and date us. Sista and I were young, but we knew a hot guy when we saw one. We both agreed that Andy Gibb had trouble keeping his shirt buttoned up for sure. He was always photographed showing off his hairy chest. Come to think of it, I never knew someone could grow that much hair in a lifetime. Trust me, if we could have ridden off in the sunset with any of those guys, we would have in a minute. Yeah, we were those girls looking for a knight in shining armor.
After dressing in our Sunday best and heading to church, we were surprised to find it full of long-haired guys. There they were, complete with bell-bottom pants, unbuttoned shirts and gold crosses dangling from their necks. These were Jesus-loving hippies for sure. As we followed Mama farther into the church, all I could think about was the fact that we were witnessing a true miracle.
Looking around, I noticed that there were no chairs or pews. I wondered where everyone would sit. Then, just like that, people started sitting on the floor. This was the coolest thing ever. We watched Mama closely as she knelt to the floor and shifted onto her hip. Following her lead, we did the same. There were young families sitting around us.
It wasn’t long before the preacher took the stage. He wasn’t like any preacher I had seen on television. Nope, he looked like he had stepped out of one of our magazines. With a guitar strapped around his neck, he started singing and swaying. It wasn’t long before the whole congregation joined him. Suddenly, a barefoot woman stepped onto the platform and began having herself a twirling spell with a tambourine. Before long we were all having a kumbaya moment, swaying and singing. That place was filling up with God’s love; you could actually see it floating in the air. Then, out of nowhere, the person next to Sista passed her a joint. Sista passed it to me, I passed it to Mama and she hurried to pass it to the lady beside her.
Dam*#, to relive that moment…it was the 70’s for sure.
Now that I look back, I’m sure not all the guys had long, feathered hair and movie star smiles, but that’s how I see them in my head. Recently, after talking with Sista, I found that’s how she remembers it as well.
After church and lots of hugging and greeting all the happy saints,we headed back to the car. Once the doors were closed tight Mama turned and gave us an order about the events that had just unfolded.
“Girls, whatever you do, what ever you say, you better not breathe a word about this to your daddy,” she warned. “Do you understand me? Not one word.”
“Yes,ma’am.” We all agreed.
Why we couldn’t tell Dad, I don’t know. But our lips were sealed. I’m proud to say that I’ve kept my word even today. Matter of fact, Daddy will read it for the first time right here…just like you.
As I look back now, I believe that one of the most memorable moments constituting a miracle had nothing to do with those long-haired pot smoking guys.
It all took place on the ride home. Mama pulled up to Church’s Fried Chicken and picked up not one but two boxes of that glorious chicken. Now, trust me when I say that act alone was huge. But it didn’t end there. Once in the car, Mama turned and put napkins on our laps and then carefully placed a fresh hot chicken leg. That my friend was the true miracle. You see, we were never-ever allowed to eat in Mama’s car. But that day was different. Sweet baby Jesus done shined his light down on us. We were all starving…church had worked up some crazy kinda appetite. Not only were we hungry we all had a contagious case of the giggles. What a day!
At that small hippie church we witnessed real-life heartthrobs, saw more chest hair than should ever be allowed in church, seen and experienced the fog of Jesus descending and worshiped with some of the happiest people on the planet.
I don’t care what anybody says, I know for a fact that Jesus, Mama and weed saved the day.
But listen close and whatever you do…
Shhhh…don’t tell Daddy!