Thursday, September 07, 2006

Some Hats Are Made For Walking

I'm a preacher's kid, so we went to church a lot A LOT. When I was about 10 or so, the church we attended adopted a church across town as our sister church. Once a year, we would switch congregations and attend services at the other church, which happened to be an African American Methodist Church. Now, I had friends of color growing up, but had never been to church with them so, I was interested to see if the sister church did things differently.

This church had a rather small congregation that was not particularly affluent, so things were a bit casual. Things were moving along swimmingly till the offering. But still, imagine my dismay when they announced that they were going to play "walking music," so that everyone could come up and put their money in the plate. I could not figure out why in the world you would walk to the plate -- in our church the plate walked to you, by means of an usher in a suit. Well, everyone walked up there and tossed in their offerings whilst the pianist played hymns. I was enjoying the music, till I realized that no one was walking anymore.

When I looked up at the front of the church, it appeared that a meeting of the minds was taking place at the offering plate outpost. There sat the money collectors, deep in conversation, leaving me wondering what the heck was going on. Suddenly the announcement came: "We didn't get enough, so we're gonna keep playing that walking music till we get enough."

I feel rather certain that the whole church heard me gasp. I turned to my mom, astounded, and said "MOM! They counted the money!" Mom shushed me, but I still kept repeating that I couldn't believe that they sat right there and counted the cash -- right in front of us. I guess I thought that God himself came down and counted it, but I knew for certain that you weren't supposed to count it during the service. Well, the piano player took off playing again, and believe me, that music kept going till they had the amount that they wanted -- and it took a while.

Years later, I told a friend of mine that story. She explained to me that walking music is why, in a lot of churches, the ladies dress in their finery for church -- so they look good when they walk. I had no clue -- I was a pigeon toed preacher's kid who couldn't walk straight with or without music, but if didn't know that little tidbit, I'll bet maybe you didn't either.


ROBERTO said...

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Anonymous said...

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funkoma said...

hey, I'm a preacher's kid, too! but as Disciples of Christ, no musical instruments were allowed in church when we sang...that's right, no piano, no organ, no accordian....I'm sure that's why I can only play the stereo...but I can carry a tune in a bucket....