“They swing from the chandeliers and turn off the lights and chase chickens,” Dave told us. Of course we believed him. The Woodlands Full Gospel Church was just down the road. We would take a short cut past the cute Hendicott boy’s house, over a small wall, across the church parking and onto Brenda’s house. We ran like someone was chasing us across that parking lot. On a few occasions when things got really noisy, we threw stones on their roof to see what they would do.
I was surprised Lindy went to THAT church. A bit disappointed too. She was such a nice girl. We were given a school project to do together and she invited me to sleep over at her house. It was love at first sight. Her family loved me and I loved them. From then on I slept over as often as I could. She had the most amazing parents, Bill and Miranda.
They were a singing family like us. Bill was really funny. He once told me that I was the bubbles in his soda water. Coke more like it. He drank a lot of Coke. Miranda played the piano and there was always music in their house. Bev was nice and Lindy was so much fun. She loved swimming, diving and dancing (just not the party type) and she had lots of energy.
The Stuthridges started to fill the emptiness in my life. They talked a lot about what they believed, which my family never did. It wasn’t long before they asked me to go to church with them.
It was so noisy. I sat and listened and watched for any signs of swinging or chasing. There was a lot of clapping and loud singing and the women all had to cover their heads. Old “Brother Clancy” would speak in a strange language. He always started with, “Corianda ba shandai!” I noticed that as soon as he started, everyone sat down. He went on for 15 minutes calling down hell fire and brimstone on all who were listening. There weren’t many.
There were some unusual people there. David Overall talked to himself and touched his hair all the time and the loud, throaty singer Dicky Thomas seemed to think he was the main attraction. Gavin worked in a chewing gum factory and he sneakily snuck boxes of gum to all the girls. The pastor’s son Billy took a liking to me. He would keep me a seat and get really upset if I didn’t sit in it. He was special. He walked around slapping his inner thigh really loudly, shouting “Billy Nanaaaaaas!” There were also some lovely people who were very friendly and made me feel comfortable.
With all that went on, I’m not sure why I kept going back. I loved the Stuthridges but I wasn’t sure about their church. I knew they weren’t perfect. That was obvious. But, they had something my family didn’t have and I was starting to think I wanted it.
I had lots of questions but I never thought to ask them how they got up to the chandeliers or what they did with the chickens when they caught them.