After all these years, Kay is still my favorite cheerleader. Speaking of KayÖ a little while back, she wrote and asked me if I attended Columbia Drive Baptist Church in my youth. I allowed as to, yes, I did for a year or so in our Junior and/or Senior year. In fact, I became a member and was baptized there. But, I alluded to the strange circumstances as to how that came to pass. She, of course, demanded to know the details. Such a sweet girl, how could I deny her? In confidence, I confided. She was aghast! For my penance, she demanded that I publish my woeful tale in A-mail. Sniff. (Actually, Iím embellishing a little here. Kay thought it was a hoot and suggested that I share my story with the rest of the free world.) Iím a secure guy, so here it isÖ
How Steve came to see the Light.
During our Junior year in high school, Frank Gilbreath invited me to attend Columbia Drive Baptist Church with him a few times, and I did. It was very nice. After a while, Frank began to bring a date to church (Susan Wakefield maybe?). He said it was a sure-fire way to squeeze in an extra date on weekends, to which his parents couldnít possibly object. Brilliant, I thought! At the time, I was dating a blonde bombshell from Clarkston named Terri. Kay, when I turned 16 in August of 1963 (turning 16 was basically the beginning of dating for boys), all of you good looking Avondale girls were mostly spoken for. At least thatís the way I remember it. Oh, I had a few (wonderful) dates with Irene Bankston, Annette Jerow, and Kay Karras, but I spent almost all of 1964 and the first half of 1965 dating Terri from Clarkston. Maybe I was just taking the easy way out. Donít get me wrong, I enjoyed dating Terri, but I regret not making more of an effort to date others. I digress.
So, I bring Terri to church with me a few times. One Sunday morning weíre sitting there, the service is almost over, and Iím guiltily wondering if making out after church would be a terrible thing. The organ is playing "Just As I Am." (I remember this because itís what they always played at the end of church.) And, as usual, Brother Don Aderhold is exhorting the flock to come forward and rededicate themselves to the Lord. Next thing I know, Terri is on her feet and heading toward the front! After a few frozen seconds of inaction, up I pop and start down the aisle too.
The music subsides and thereís a small group of us gathered at the front alongside a beaming Brother Don. He speaks to Terri: "Are you a church member?" "Yes," she says, "Iím a member of Clarkston Baptist." (Or, something like that.) "Well, weíre glad to have you here with us today," says Brother Don. He turns to me. "Are you a member of the church?" I gulp, "I used to be a member of the Methodist church down the street." Brother Don turns to the congregation and fairly shouts, "Praise the Lord! Young Steve here has heeded the call and has come forward to join the church!" Loud applause. Kay, what could I do? Tap Brother Don on the shoulder and say, "Excuse me sir, but Iím just down here following my date around?" To wind up a long story, I went through Baptist training and, shortly thereafter, was baptized by Brother Don one Sunday evening in the big tank. Much to the delight of my friends in the audience. All of whom had dates.
Kay, I donít mean to make light of joining the church or of being baptized. Both are sacred events, and it was good for my soul. But, I have to smile at the circumstances that got me there. The Lord moves in mysterious ways.
Your humble classmate,
June 20, 2001