Obviously, no disrespect is meant towards any religion, but when you have friends like this, nothing is sacred, as you are about to read.
My friend Sam and I sat down on the couch, watching “The Blues Brothers” as the smell of frying pork chops filled the living room. It was a midsummer afternoon and we were about to head out for Bob’s house to meetup with the rest of The Cruisers, but not before enjoying one of momma’s delicious fried pork chop sandwiches (pronounced, “poke chop sammichiz”).
On the television, Jake and Elwood Blues were receiving their mission from God as Reverend Cleophus James (James Brown) called to them and asked “Do you see the light?” during the gospel number featuring himself and Chaka Khan.
Sam laughed as the congregation members slid, shuffled, spun, cartwheeled and received the Holy Ghost in jubilation throughout the song. Judging by the sound of his guffaws, I knew it was coming.
“Do they really do all that?” (annnd there it goes) Sam started.
“Do all WHAT?” I replied, feigning ignorance.
“Do they really do all that at black churches? That flippin’ and flyin’ shit.”
“MOM! Sam’s cursin’ in the house!”
“Sam!” my mother warned, “Don’t make me come in there with this skillet full of hot grease!”
“Sorry, Mrs. Davis” he apologized, glaring at me for being a rat. Hey, if I get whoopin’s for my antics, why should my friends be spared? And they weren’t.
“Dude, there are no rules in a black church. When you feel it, you do what the spirit does with YOU.”
“C’mon man! All those triple somersaults. That’s bull-“
“Sorry, Mrs. Davis!”
“Maybe you should come with me to church” I offered.
“HELL no!” he snapped. I’m Greek. We don’t have all day to be in church, puttin’ 9 or 10 handfuls of money in the collection plate while trying out for the Olympic Gymnastics team…”
“Alright, dude. Don’t go doggin’ black churches.”
“…Jheri curl juice flyin’ everywhere! Only black people!”
If you never knew Sam, check out my obituary tribute to him and you’ll understand why he was so well-loved by all and constantly got away with making racially derogatory remarks at a predominately Black/Latino school, in the neighborhood and in my house. Click here to read Tribute To A Friend And A Friendship, but read it later.
I fired back, as we both knew I would. “And I ain’t gon’ travel 45 minutes to sit in a 15-minute Mass, listening to the Omen soundtrack being sung in hymns all around me by men in hoods. Hawwww-ahhhhh-awwwwww…”
(Yeah, we could joke with each other like that. That’s the cool part of real friendship.)
“At least we don’t FLY!” he yelled.
“You do when your eyes glow and you start speaking Latin – ‘Dominay Sopus, Dominoes Pizza, Vini-Vidi-Vici Vinnie Barbarino’. And you’ve obviously forgotten all those little boys flying around in that Total Eclipse Of The Heart video!”
Sam burst into laughter before he got started on our leaps and seizures. “Better than spending all day at Epileptic Episcopal!”
“Ok,” I explained, “you need to visit a holiness church if you wanna see that. Or go to my mother’s old Baptist church!”
“They don’t do that at your church?”
“Man, I’m Methodist!”
“All you black people do the same thing. You, your momma…”
“MOM!! Sam called you a jumpin’ jigaboo!!!”
Silence. Not even the splatter of grease. Even the TV had enough sense to hush.
Without warning, mom came running around the corner with a rolled up magazine, popping Sam’s legs as he got up and ran around the table, screaming “No I didn’t, mom, he’s lying!!!” I laughed maliciously as he fled downstairs to the basement with her, close behind (I had already jumped up and closed the front door, blocking Sam’s means of egress).
I ran in the kitchen and quickly slapped a “hot poke chop” between two slices of bread. Man, those were the truth!
A couple of seconds (and screams) later, Sam came running back up the stairs, back into the living room.
And you know what? Sam finally got the black church experience. In fact, the way she had him skippin’, flippin’, buckin’ and jumpin’, Sam became a member of Momma’s Missionary Baptist Church that day…
Too bad my father was at work. Sam would have truly felt the spirit.
Cause in this house, EVERYBODY is a Davis…
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