[I’m back. My summer hiatus began and ended with no notice; my apologies. Once upon a time, I had manners.]
It would seem that all the blather back in June about getting braced for a sweltering summer was just a bunch of noise. Because the summer, at least here in mid-Missouri, was colossally pleasant. Until this past week. I’m feeling slightly less like a whiner now that we’ve had a series of days in the mid-to-upper 90’s. This turn of events might just redeem that Summer List. Or not.
[So which one of us even had a clue back in June that the famed “Ice Bucket Challenge” would become the quintessential antidote for an August scorcher?]
Very recently, I ended up with a three-week ear worm due to a combination of factors:
1) I’m going to go out of a limb. It may trigger some vituperous comments or even condolences from folks at the other end of the spectrum. But here’s my confession: I like Neil Diamond. Early Neil Diamond best. This fact alone was probably enough to warrant the ear worm. But…
2) It is, after all, August. And for the past week at least, we’ve had way more than just one “Hot August night…”
3) And finally, the song is reminiscent of a special childhood event…
I loved, loved, loved staying overnight with cousins when I was a kid. On this particular occasion, I was with my mom’s younger sister and family. In the middle of some rollicking play, my aunt announced we’d be going to church that evening. The idea of mid-week worship was novel to me, but hey, count me in. After all, when in Cousinland, one does as the Cousins.
Everyone got cleaned up after being outside all day, ate our dinner with dispatch, and filed out the front door behind my aunt and uncle like a goose and gander with their gaggle. We strolled down the small town street, block after block, until we found ourselves in a field, wherein was a big tent.
So, church will be conducted in a tent. Hmmm. The circus is in a tent. Maybe it’ll be like that…
My young eyes drank in everything as we made our way through the very large gathering to a row of seats in the middle, about half way towards the back. The big stage, the music, sawdust carpeting the aisles — I was fascinated by it all.
It’s way too many years later to tell you what songs the choir sang, whether the soloist was excellent, or even what the content of the evangelist’s message. What I do remember is someone passing me what seemed like a giant popsicle stick with a rounded cardboard rectangle fastened to it, an on it was the logo of a local funeral home. I observe silently for a minute or two, and then tried my hand at my own fan waving technique.
Somewhere during the the evening, I witnessed something that I would later learn was rather iconic for tent meetings such as this: individuals from the audience rose from their seats and — quite literally — walked that proverbial sawdust trail. I didn’t appreciate the significance of this particular practice, but was nonetheless intrigued. As we walked home, I remembering wishing my family could have been there, too.
Without further ado, I will share Neil Diamond performing his “country” song, Brother Love’s Traveling Salvation Show in which Diamond gives the back story.
Hope you enjoy!