All the way up the river

I was sitting on the bunk next to his writing a letter to an old friend when he began to speak. His back was turned to me. He held an empty coffeee cup in his hand and gazed wistfully out a window. Abandoning my letter for the moment I scribbled his words as quickly as I could. Later, I read them back to him. How about that, he said.

You know, I might git me a flat bed trailer and a big ole tent and do me some evangelizing. There was an ole boy usta come into Macon four times a year and you could hear the Lord’s spirit flow from him six blocks away. He didn’t need no sound system. He was the real deal. No collections. No singin. I don’t know that anybody ever knew his name. He prolly died draggin that old tent around behind that car. Those people who got around that man got a blessing. If they were to drop dead right on the spot they’d be closer to God. I usta live on the river back then and you could hear his holy voice all the way up the river. He didn’t have to touch nobody. That voice would carry up through those trees all the way up Riverside Drive and as far away as the food stamp office. That was God’s voice travelin up there. That is a fact. You could just sense the absence of the Devil when he was finished. If I could be one thousanth of the man he was I’d be walkin in the path of Jesus. You’d have that feelin two three days after he left. I was truly blessed to have heard him.

              —- A guest at the Salvation Army in Macon, Georgia, March, 2004

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