“Gimme That Ol’ Time Religion!”

(For clarification, my ever-lovin’ Daddy’d, come Sunday afternoons, take us out on family “Sunday Afternoon Drives.”  That’d be code for an excuse for an audience for his tales and yarns from his days passed.  And we loved every minute of every story!  This month, I’m speaking in my Daddy’s voice.  Liam.  Other Liam stories, all true, exist on this site.  My Daddy, he’s still tellin’ his stories.  And me?  I’m still passing them on down the line!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hey.

Ho.

Liam Elias Ephraim Goodwell here, third son o’ the Denton County Goodwells.

You hear of us?  Grandpap nigh to owned most all Denton County.

Once upon a time, that is.

 

Well, here I am, ag’in an’ ag’in, a’scratchin’ my heart in earnest, a’wonderin’ why in God’s green earth Miss Meadow, down to the school, why she has me a’documentin’ and retellin’ and regalin’ you all with the Goodwell comin’s and goin’s and livin’s and dyin’s and other sorts o’doin’s.

She says, Miss Meadow down to the school, she says right out loud I got me somethin’ to say, but law, I ain’t sure I found it jest yet.

But fer Miss Meadow, I’ll keep after it.

 

So here’tis.  I, Liam Goodwell (don’t nobody but Mama use my middle names.  Who in high heavens has them two middles anyhow, ‘cept me?), am one o’ a slew o’ Denton County Goodwells.  At our house, they be Grandpap, they be Daddy and Mama, they be big brothers Lincoln and Lawrence, they be fluffy puffy Livvie, they be roughy and toughy Luce.

Next comes me, but I done tol’ you that there.  I play me some mean baseball, I got me a fair to middlin’ singin’ voice, I think me some deep thoughts.

Then ‘hind me come Loreen, and them mischief-makin’ scamps Louis and Lawton, twins.

Then they be cousins and aints and uncles and seconds and thirds and twice and four-times remove-eds.  Ever’body, it ‘ppears, wants to be a Goodwell.

Leastways here in Denton County.

 

An’ tonight, we, all us Goodwells, we’ll find all ourselves, plus the whole Pentecostal believin’ population o’ Denton County and beyond, down to the church.

Fer we got us, yessir, we got us a Revival a’startin’!

That there?  A revival?  That’s God’s particular renderin’ o’ Heavenly entertainment!  Now, there’ll be singin’ and ‘clappin’, but not dancin’ cept it be in the Spirit.  If I wudn’t so worried I’d make a plum fool o’myself, I sometimes wish the Spirit would lay some dancin’ down on me!

But either way, I ain’t aimin’ to miss me one minute, I kid you not!

A revival?  Why, “that’s good enough fer me!”

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Let ‘er Rip!

I reckon a feller shouldn’t never grow up ‘thout a mama.  Ain’t right, somehow, nor good.

Selfish, I am.  Got me sisters an’ brothers needin’ the comfort and guidance of a mama, an’ I ain’t aimin’ on denyin’ them, no, I am not.

Havin’ a mama in the house is like plumb havin’ a angel around….one who scrambles the eggs, who mends the holes in the knees o’ our britches, who wets the worshrag to hold against our feverin’ brows.  She’s the one who plucks the feathers from the fresh-slain chickens, and shucks, she’s the one who’ll wring they necks.  She’s the one who shoos the hounds from the cats’ food but will pick the ticks from under they fur an’ give ’em a hug and a ruffle jest for sittin’ still.  She’s the one who’ll worsh out our mouths with soap for takin’ the Lord’s name in vain, and won’t abide a lie, and who’ll make us cookies fer no reason a’tall.  She’s the one who always says she loves us last thing ‘fore bed and first thing come mornin’.  She’s the one who peeks in to check all is well, when we’re a’playin’ possum under the nighttime covers.

But me and MY Mama, we was always kindred spirits besides all that, always two of them podded peas.  She’d have these visions, premonitions or what have you, and they’d cross the front o’ my thinking at pre-cisely the same darned time.  Cain’t explain, nor could she.  We, both o’us, understood of livin’ what others ‘ppeared to not.

My Mama, she could slide me the side-eye an’ I could read her thinkin’ in a snap. An’ toe the line if that was the message….as it often could be.  We, both of us, could sing an’ spin an’ dance an’ holler, jest ’cause it was daylight.  Or nightlight.  Or Tuesday.  We shared thinkin’ on books an’ the war over to Europe an’ dreams of trav’lin’ once this war was done.

She’s the one taught me cryin’ was fine, done in private, but when the clouds cleared, ’twas time to move on.  She’s the one taught me God loves us even when we scratch him the wrong way.  She taught me to be sorry when I should be, and not when I’m not.

She taught me to forgive real things, not jest say ” oh, that’s alright…”  ‘Cause most time it ain’t.

So, Father God in Heaven, fergive me my lapsin’ o’faith.  My Mama, she ain’t woke since she been bit.  I put her in your lovin’ hands, but I be shrivellin’ wrinkled in fear.  My Mama, she be yours, but I reckon I’d shore ‘ppreciate if you’d see yer way to lettin’ her be ours a mite more, if you see fit and willin’.

Amen and amen.

Yer servant and son, Liam.  Liam Goodwell.  Of the Denton County Goodwells.

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