Excerpts of the day
Longtime reader and virtual avfl pal DA wrote to remind me today of Robert Ruark’s reflections on Depression-era camp meetings and revivals in The Old Man and The Boy:
The white revivals were a little depressing, because everybody including the preacher was full of sin and eager to admit it. People I knew well who hadn’t had a bad thought or committed an evil deed in forty years used to go to the bench and confess to the most amazing breaches of the peace of state and soul. I always felt like they were bragging, so as not to be left out of things. One Sunday, though, we went to the Big Town and heard Billy Sunday produce a fire-and-brimstoner under a big tent, and I was powerfully impressed, possibly because the Devil-hating Mr. Sunday had been a professional baseball player once. I didn’t smoke for a week, not even corn silk or rabbit tobacco for fear of hell-and-damnation. I even gave up baseball and fishing on Sunday for a little spell.
And here Ruark is on bass singers:
A good bass singer made the circuit of meetings, and was nearly as popular as the preacher in terms of chocolate cake, fried chicken, and free access to the fruit jar. I remember The Old Man spotting a strange face in the crowd once, and asking the man where he came from, and why he was there. The man smiled, understanding our rather peculiar patriarchal attitude. “Ah comes from Onslow County. Ah come heah to drink whiskey and sing bass,” he replied in a voice that would have made Paul Robeson sound like a soprano. This fellow was very popular with the younger female set, and usually disappeared from view around midnight.
Heheh. The more things change … etc.Email this Post