Next month I celebrate 32 years at Memorial. What an unspeakable privilege. It's as if heaven came early.
I was thinking about my very early experience at awful. I thought I would die. Well...I thought I had killed someone so.....
Two very large sisters from the bus routes responded to my high-powered invitation to be baptized and I knew at that moment the whole church was bursting buttons in pride over the kid they hired to be their preacher. I was a hit....I figured!
So behind the curtains the first taller-than-me sister entered the water, curtains opened, I did my thing, curtains closed. She fainted in my arms. With her back to me, slumped and dead weight, I thought she died. The two men assisting with the curtain stood with jaws dropped. I looked to my left. The women were frozen in time. Yep.....she's dead.
Now I'm trying to figure how to hide the evidence. Trying to think quickly the woman kept sinking and I kept lifting. I've got a dead woman in my arms and she's heavy to start with and now she's soaking wet. She was a load. I'm sure when the elders find out I've killed one of them, I'm fired as they had just fired their previous preacher for much less of a crime.
No one will help me. And....I'm little.
As I begin to drag her through the water to the steps the water starts sloshing very loudly. My goal was to keep everything quiet until I could figure an acceptable explanation. I didn't know if the church had insurance. All the while, I'm trying to keep the lady above water (and she seemed to be gaining weight) and now the water is noisy. From sheer fear, I broke out laughing. It was the dumbest scene; impossible to take in. No one (of those assisting me) back there did anything but stare.....assuring me she was......completely dead.
I wrestle her to the steps as if she were some sort of wiggly alligator. She's unconscious (but I think she died) and she's heavy and I'm tired. I get behind her and push with all my might....a step at a time....and glide her across the floor once we cleared the top step. Whew!
I get back into the water, take a deep breath, look at the sister who seems petrified, and motion (for I could not speak) for her turn. Well...she seemed hesitant. By this time I didn't care. I was toast as soon as the frozen deacons thawed and ratted on me to the elders. Finally she came into the water and you'll be pleased to know this one didn't die.
However her sister missed it. She was to my left folded in a wet heap as the two men to my right and the two women to my left stood speechless. Obviously, I was on my own. When the first sister came to, I was a most happy camper....and I've kept my job now for 32 years!
That, though, was one terrifying and rough morning.