We were holy at our house. On the list of holy houses, ours was on the north half of the most holy places and people. I didn’t understand it. I just knew there was stuff I couldn’t do and places I couldn’t go.
We were church holy. I never thought of saying, “I don’t want to go to church today.” We attended without fail. Sunday school and church, Sunday night, Wednesday prayer meeting and choir practice, spring and fall week-long revival meetings. We never missed.
Church was always the same. I dressed up in a suit and shiny shoes. There was singing, a very long prayer, offering, choir, sermon, and altar call. Whether I went to the altar or not depended on who preached and the altar call song. If we sang, “Just As I Am”, the preacher could almost always count on me to walk the aisle.
Since we were holy, we didn’t play games with evil cards that had faces, red hearts and other shapes on them. Playing with cards with birds, money, numbers, colors, and other things on them was okay.
I think a study should be done to research the psychological damage done to people not allowed to see “Bambi”, “101 Dalmatians,” and “Lady and the Tramp” when they were young. Theaters were evil. It was only okay to go in a theater if the big screen didn’t have anything on it. It was okay to go hear a preacher at a theater. It was sort of a victory to have preaching in a theater.
Dancing. Oh, deadly, evil, wanton, lustful dancing. In 7th grade I had to be excused from square dancing in gym class. Sarah wanted me to be her partner, but I had to say, “No, I don’t believe in dancing.” I couldn’t explain what that meant. Secretly, I was glad I didn’t believe in dancing so I wouldn’t have to square dance with Sarah. I wonder if she remembers.
My band was scheduled to play at a school festival with lots of fun activities. I was dressed and ready to go, but mentioned something about playing for kids who were dancing. My dad took me to the school and told the director in front of everyone his son would not play the piano for dancing. We were holy.
Holy folks don’t believe in sex before marriage because it can lead right to dancing.
Dancing was okay as long as we were wearing roller skates.
Since we were holy, we didn’t believe in smoking or drinking. When I was seven years old, some neighbor kids invited me into their basement to smoke a pipe. They packed it with tobacco, lit it, and offered the pipe to me. I took a puff and handed it back. I wanted to do it again. I knew I was hooked. I never told anyone about my one-puff addiction. A year later I had a terrible toothache in the middle of the night and I was sure God was punishing me for that puff on the pipe.
Because we were holy we weren’t allowed to say words like fart and crap. We used approved words like stinker and poop. If we were mad, we could only say, “Darn!”, “Nuts!”, or “Shoot!”.
My thoughts about what is and isn’t holy have changed quite a bit.