AsA ~ The Toonerville Collector
by Asa Sparks
After they married, Uncle Willie and Lena May became faithful members of the First Baptist Church (white) where Pastor Fontaine Fox believed strongly in the priesthood of all believers (male). He just knew that when Jesus said we would always have the poor with us that nothing could be done to really improve things. Unfortunately, some of the soft-hearted folks felt otherwise, and so they started an inner-city ministry to help the downtrodden rise up and out of their poverty.
These conflicting beliefs created some tension among the deacons where Uncle Willie longed to be elected so he could straighten a few of them out. The good pastor, Reverend Fontaine Fox, tried mightily to balance the church while following his prime directive to evangelize the missing and, occasionally, the lost.
Pastor Fox thought it would be a great idea to evangelize those heathens in the public housing project within walking distance of the First Baptist Church (white). So, he called in the Evangelistic Swat Pals (ESP) to hold a great rally on the greens at Tuxedo Junction. They came to town and held the rally. At least sixty, yes, 60, indicated they had made decisions to believe and start walking the straight and narrow. Having killed Satan one more time, ESP had a premonition. They packed up and left town for other battles.
Well, some of the good folks at the First Baptist Church (white) became quite concerned that the straight and narrow would lead right to their church door. Everybody knew the 60 new converts should really attend the First Baptist Church (black) but it was a country mile farther away.
Pastor Fox was quite in a quandary. How in the name of heaven was he going to get these new believers into heaven and straight on the path to the First Baptist Church (black)? Uncle Willie and Pastor Fox found their inspiration over Krispy Kreme's blackest coffee. They would baptize those folks in their own neighborhood.
It took a "passle" of planning, but they managed. First, they scheduled their great baptismal service for late Saturday afternoon before the new converts slid back into their sinning ways and as a last minute reminder that they needed to get up the next morning to attend Sunday School at the First Baptist Church (black). Transportation to be provided by the First Baptist Church (white) for the first month.
Pastor Fox telephoned all of the new converts on Friday night and invited them to the Great Baptism and Watermelon Feast at 6:00 the next day. They all promised to attend.
Promptly at 5:30 PM the Fox team arrived. Loaded on the back of Uncle Willie's pick-em-up truck was a borrowed baptistery held in place by, no kidding, watermelons. The baptizing team included Pastor Fox, two white deacons, a black deacon from the local Baptist Mission Office, the circular chief of circles of the Women's Missionary Union as a token female, and Uncle Willie, the driver.
First they unloaded the Baptistery and set up a cutting table. The plan was to serve watermelon Baptist-covered-dish-supper style while the borrowed baptistery was filling. With all this excitement, every child in the neighborhood quickly gathered. This was better than the Good Humor Ice Cream Salesman. The Baptistery started filling. What did the children do? Of course. They jumped in for a cooling swim and splash. There was an occasional cry of, "Jimmy's peeing in the pool." At least that's what it sounded like.
Pastor Fox yelled for Uncle Willie to protect the pool. What do those children mean playing in the holy baptizing water? Uncle Willie and the nearest deacon surrounded the pool and encouraged the children to get out and enjoy the watermelon. Especially little Jimmy.
"WATERMELON! Hey, watermelon, everyone."
Time had come for the feeding of the 5,000 children, more or less. The first watermelon was sacrificed and pandemonium ensued. There was no way to get them to sit in groups of ten on the grass. Finally, Pastor Fox got to deliver his Sermon on the Green. Unfortunately, none of the new converts made it to the great and glorious watermelon cutting.
One new little girl said she would like to be baptized. Pastor Fox sent her off to ask her mother for permission. In a little bit she returned and reported, "Sure, she don't care." One more victory!
Somehow that immersion water was a little more holy. Somehow in the planning no one had thought about what to do with a pool full of used baptistery water. It was way too heavy to lift back up on the truck. The water had to go somewhere. Deacon Frank noted that if our Lord could turn wine into Welch's, then that baptistery was now filled with somewhat holy water. Deacon Joe said he was glad Pastor Fox wasn't a priest because he would have to drink the entire baptistery. Pastor Fox reminded him that he believed in the priesthood of all believers and, therefore, Deacon Joe could just join him in chug-a-lugging the water.
The token female, Lily Blanc, said this was one time she was glad Pastor Fox was just so very, very wrong about the priesthood of all believers (male).
Finally, with the help of the truck, they managed to tip the pool for a water cascade down the street. Several of the children re-baptized themselves in the swiftly flowing stream. The group standing beside the truck thanked the good Lord that none of the children were swept away to an unbaptized perdition. And that not one of those ungrateful wretches who did not show up to be watermeloned and baptized would darken the doors of the First Baptist Church (white).
Pastor Fox said a benediction when they got back to the First Baptist Church (white) and suggested that there would be no need to report their baptizing victory of one to the entire congregation.
Asa with granddaughters Lyndsie and Emily
~~All about AsA~~
“This is the most recent of my Uncle Willie fact-stretched stories.
“My full name is Asa Sparks, but I am known primarily as AsA all over the State of Alabamer. Until I retired, I worked and traveled for the Alabama State Department of Education. Prior to that I worked with delinquents kids--of whom I was chiefest.
“I have been fortunate to have written several trade books. Hope For The Frogs (oop) was the most popular. Many assumed I liked frogs. I don't. Give me princes and princesses every time. The only other book of mine currently in print is The Two-Minute Lover.
“I am singular and have three wonderful children who all live in the South, but not as deeply south as I. They have provided 8 genius grandchildren for me to dote on in my dotage.”
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