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Daddy Pete’s Chapel

Why Sister Alma Rose Doesn’t Go to Church

God in Heaven, light my path today. Amen

Sister Alma Rose and Mr. Truman LaFollette and Cousin Dulcie, when she was visiting, had Sunday-morning services in the chapel in Sister Alma Rose’s big old farmhouse. Sometimes Daddy and I worshiped with them. Mama liked to go, too, but she was the choir director at the Presbyterian church, so mostly she was there, at the church, with her singers on Sunday morning. The choir director before Mama only used songs from the Presbyterian Hymnal, especially “Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God, Almighty,” but Mama’s choir sang works by Tallis and Bach and other classical composers, and the retired director told Pastor Scott that Mama was “uppity” because she made the choir sing in “furren languages!”

There are six churches in and around Hilltop, and I didn’t know why Sister Alma Rose didn’t go to any of them. So one Sunday morning I just asked her. “Sister Alma Rose,” I said, “how come you don’t go to Mama’s church, or the Lutheran church?” I loved the Lutheran church because it had a real bell with a rope and a bellringer and everything.

“Miss Fanny,” she said, “how many roads do y’all think there are to Heaven?” I opened my mouth to answer, but she just went on. “There’s ’bout as many as there are people,” she said, “and parsons are people just like everybody else. So these parsons are on their various roads, and they can’t see around the corners any more’n the rest of us can. But the roads they’re on, these parsons feel like they’re good roads, the right roads, and maybe they is and maybe they ain’t. So when the parsons get up to preach, they preach their own journeys and act like we all ought to go the same way as them, even if we’re starting in different places. If  there was to be a great gathering in Peoria, Illinois, that the whole world was going to, and you and I are starting out in Hilltop and some other folks is coming from Boise, Idaho, does it make sense for us to say to those folks, ‘Hey, y’all need to go this way’?”

“Well, it might,” I said, “if they were headed toward Walla Walla.” Sister Alma Rose laughed and twisted my nose.

Now I’ve told you [Sister Alma Rose went on] that Daddy Pete was a praying man, but we never went to church after Ma died. He knew that everybody in the county was looking out for a wife for him, an’ there weren’t no place more likely to find folks parading these prospective brides around than at church.

But there was something else, too. Daddy Pete didn’t take to Pastor Stuart, never liked him from the start. Thought he was too pious an’ spoke his sermons too somber. In fact, I’ll tell you exactly what he called Pastor Stuart: “A hoity-toity hypocrite and a sanctimonious gasbag.”

It prob’ly weren’t right, but Daddy Pete used to ape Pastor Stuart’s preaching on the way home from church and Ma would start out protesting and end up laughing so hard she told Daddy Pete to quiet up or she’d pee right there on the path.

“The Lord GAWD WEEPS for Y’ALL, my brethren,” Daddy Pete would say in Pastor Stuart’s rumbling, righteous tones. “The Lord GAWD KNOWS y’all’s transgressions, even y’all’s DEEP, DARK THOUGHTS, that bubble up in y’all from the BOWELS of HELL brought by SATAN HISSELF… [here Daddy Pete would pause and belch a great big belch like something that might bubble up from the bowels of hell]… which you believe are hidden.” He’d say these last few words real soft-like, so’s you could hardly hear. Then, all of a sudden…

“HIDDEN! WHAT, in your in-CORR-igible arrogance, do y’all deceive yourselfs can be HIDDEN from the Lord GAWD Almighty? WHITHER can y’all flee from GAWD to hide y’all’s JEALOUSY, y’all’s GREED… and… y’all’s … LUST?” He said it like “LUSSSSST,” like he was the serpent hisself.

What really got under Daddy Pete’s skin, though, was that when church was over and Pastor Stuart shook hands with the members of the congregation, he would look straight into every man’s eyes like he could see through to his soul and discover the jealousy an’ the greed an’ the lusssst a-lurking there. But the women he shook hands with, especially the young ones, he didn’t even see their faces; he was always looking at their bosoms, trance-like. Daddy Pete said he’d swear on a Bible that runnels of spit would actually escape from Pastor Stuart’s tight-lipped smile and roll down his chin, what there was of it, which wasn’t much.

We had the little chapel here at the house, and we stopped going to the Presbyterian church and started going to the Daddy Pete church. He didn’t give no sermon or nothing, he just read from the scriptures and prayed his plain-spoken prayers. Daddy Pete had been ordained as an Elder so he served communion every Sunday.

Aunt Daisy thought it was right silly to take a perfectly good loaf o’ bread and pinch pieces off it wouldn’t feed a ant, so for communion we got big homemade cinnamon rolls dripping with butter, and we washed those rolls down with fresh cold milk. “Jesus an’ them at the Last Supper, they didn’t have no puny pinch of bread and one bitty little sip o’ wine,” she’d say. “Why, you’re right as rain, Daisy,” Daddy Pete agreed.

Adapted from Daddy Pete, by Mary Campbell
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3 thoughts on “Daddy Pete’s Chapel

  1. Newyear Greetings to you in the preceious name of our Lord JESUS
    CHRIST.Dear saint, i am writing this letter to you describing about me
    Shalem gospel
    ministries(Registerd) iam an independent and aidless suffering in the
    realm, since 1997 iam in Lords work.All of our target villages are
    located in the rural area and where the people are under
    the curse of satan and worshipping idols with ignorence.
    To release these perishing souls from the opposite
    camp,your prayerfull aid and needfull aid is requesting to share
    our local burden for thr extention of the kingdom of god,on our
    behalf. We are prayerfully requesting youto consider our things
    and unite our aidless service w! ith you blessed mission.
    By the grace 500 people accepted JESUSas their savour and 170
    children are attending to sunday school but Our convented believers are
    belongs to poor class and
    depend upon seasonal agricultural labour ,some are rickshawpullers ,some are maildsrevenst ,some are lorry cleaners and facing manymany
    hardles for their livelihood.though this avery labour and illeterate area so many people are affected by aids.some of them are coming to our church please pray for their healing .Some orphans are here because one of their parents died due to aids and other diseases .this is here situation .There people are not able to give
    anything ,beause of their uttermost poverty and they are
    subjecting to the conditions but not faith.Please pray for them . we are reguraly
    visiting their houses and detailing the word of God and increasing
    their faithin God.In this way we are moving .I and my wife jasmine and
    we have a child shiny.not only that my family existance also very difficult due to circumsatnces here .so give support to my family .we are doing ministry very alone. so we decided to do
    under your blessed name, i mean i will join in your minstry.so that we can ministry more strnghthenly . please
    help me.Iam invinting you to my place ,please do come and share your
    affection with this lone family .
    Kindly do your valuable prayers on our behalf everyday thank you and we are
    praying for you. Prayerfull thanks in the infinate love of GOD.
    please give responce. looking for your responce.
    DONT FORGET ME AND MY FAMILY ,PLEASE THINK AND HELP US.onceagain iam humbly requesting you, please come here so that you can understand here situation.
    onceagain iam requesting you remember us in your daily prayers.

    In His love
    pastor k.krupa kiran
    shalem house,75-11-1
    Krishna dt,A.P.

    E-Mail: shiny.divineword@yahoo.co.in


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