Savage Truth: Visiting preacher ate my lunch

This is a column of opinion and analysis by 13WMAZ's Randall Savage.

My Dad and Granddad were Baptist ministers.

That meant prayer before meals, church every week and visiting preachers at our house for Sunday lunch.

I'll never forget the Sunday that Brother Lockee came for lunch. I learned two valuable lessons that day: young boys should speak only when spoken to and smoking britches have a way of keeping the first lesson on your mind.

They were having a revival at our church, and Brother Lockee was the visiting preacher. He kicked the meeting off with a moving message that saw three souls saved and two backsliders repenting. Afterwards, Brother Lockee, a few church members and the backsliders came to our house for lunch.

Fried chicken, green beans, potato salad and other delightful southern dishes awaited us. Brother Lockee called it a beautiful table. I later learned just how beautiful he thought that table was.

Brother Lockee was asked to bless the food to the nourishment of the bodies and us to His service. Brother Lockee lifted his left arm into the air and lowered his right hand to his belt buckle. I was a young lad, but I'd been around long enough to know that when a visiting preacher grabbed his belt buckle, he was in for a belly buster.

My cousin, Charla, and I watched as the adults gobbled the food down. "Mighty fine chicken, Sister Savage," Brother Lockee told my mother. "I'm glad you're enjoying it, have some more," she said.

Brother Lockee had some more and some more after that. The chicken was disappearing. 

"He's going to eat it all," Charla said.

In hindsight, I should've known better. But hindsight wasn't gnawing my stomach. So I blurted out, "Don't eat all the chicken, preacher. Me and Charla want some."

My dad's eyes locked on me. My mother's mouth dropped open. That's when I realized my mistake. My mother was a stickler for proper behavior and grammar. So I said, "That's not what I meant to say."

Mother smiled.

"I meant to say, don't eat all the chicken, preacher. Charla and I want some."

Silence swept the room. 

"Excuse me," Dad said. He got out of his chair, bounded across the room and grabbed me by the seat of my pants. My feet touched the floor every third step as we headed to the back room where he kept "hickory tee," a tree twig that he used to correct wayward children.

"This is going to hurt me worse than it's going to hurt you," he said.

Fat chance. But while hickory tee was hurting him more than me, I decided I didn't want lunch at all. Smoking britches have a way of killing an appetite. 

Later, a smirking Brother Lockee approached me. "Well, young man, is there anything you'd like to say to me."

"Yes sir, there is. You've got chicken grease on your chin."

Randall Savage is a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and host of 13WMAZ's "Close Up" talk show which airs Saturdays at noon and 6 a.m. Sundays. Follow him on Twitter at @RandallWMAZ.













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