~~or~~ A funny thing happened on the way to Sunday School
by Macklyn Hubbell
A fortnight ago, my wife Bet informed me that she was going to abduct me, take me to an unknown destination--known to her, of course, but not to me.
For weeks before the kidnapping, a couple of days before my birthday, she secretly made her get-away plans. All I had to do was to be willing to go, clear my calendar, and pack both Sunday and Monday clothes.
On the day of my abduction she collected and guarded her road maps, and I packed the car with our suitcases. Off and on she asked, “Do you know where we’re going?”
My response was a consistent, “No.” Was it east or west? North or south?
I had enough wits to know that when we turned onto Mississippi Highway 82 in Greenwood we were headed eastward. When we crossed the Alabama state line, I reminded her that she was guilty of a federal kidnapping offense. Undaunted, she proceeded to Montgomery to a B&B named Red Bluff Cottage.
Within minutes of our arrival, she was on the wireless making reservations at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival to see Charles Dickens's “A Christmas Carol.” Since time was short we hurriedly dressed and grabbed a chicken salad sandwich at the theater.
“Was this our final destination?” No matter how often I asked and threatened to call 911, her lips were sealed.
The next morning she put me in the shotgun seat and headed east-northeast. She was really in violation of federal law now because we crossed another state line, Georgia. With a smile of conquest, she again asked, “Do you know where we are going?”
My response again was “No,” that is, until I saw Jimmy Carter and Plains signs. With these clues, I blurted out, “We’re headed for Plains!”
With a sheepish grin, she admitted that we would stay at another B&B in Americus and attend Jimmy Carter’s Bible class at the Maranatha Baptist Church the next day (Sunday).
In order to get a seat in the worship center, we ate our waffles at the Pathway Inn, then pointed our car for Plains, nine miles away. At 8:30 a.m. there was a line of a couple hundred people ahead of us. We wondered if we would be seated. Fortunately we got seats within a few pews from the front where the president taught and a pew away from Rosalyn.
There was nothing outstandingly pedagogical about Carter’s teaching--just as plain as Plains. But, again, that’s characteristic of the scientist-farmer turned politician. After telling us about his schedule the week before (a visit from a delegation from Sudan to update him on the progress of peace in this war torn African country), he proceeded to tell us how the Carters would spend Christmas. (His extended family would gather in the Dominican Republic.)
He could have told us about his Nobel Peace Prize or his most recent publication, but characteristic of his modesty and humility, he did not do so.
After the one hour class and a typical Baptist worship service, he invited all who chose to stand with him for a photograph. Flanked on either side of him, Bet and I posed with the former chief executive.
I’ve decided not to charge Bet with kidnapping, but instead to thank her for taking me to hear and be with one of my favorite presidents.
Macklyn Hubbell, Southern Baptist minister, has worn many different hats for his church--from pastor to professor to worldwide counselor. He and his delightful wife Bet have traveled many a mile around the globe, assisting with God’s work wherever they are called. Meanwhile, folks back in Cleveland, Mississippi, selfishly claim them as their own.
Macklyn (or as many prefer, “Micky”) writes as a guest columnist for the Cleveland Bolivar Commercial.
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Growing Up Apart With Jimmy Carter
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