I will never forget when President Johnson instituted daylight savings time. My Grandmother, Jane Lott Vickers, who taught me to hate damnyankees and how to grow a garden, when asked what time it was, would say, “You want Kennedy time or Johnson time?” The first Sunday after the time changed, some people were at church an hour early, and some an hour late and some, like our family, were there at the right time. It was mass confusion.
It was during this particular confused Sunday that I managed to get to sit with the older boys in the back of the church. Generally, I was always made to sit right near the front with my parents but not today. There had been so much upset with people coming and going that they lost track of me.
The older boys were trouble makers all. At school the previous Friday, one of them had cracked an egg on the side of his head that he thought was boiled but was raw instead. All the boys were giggling at him and making faces saying goody, goody. It finally got out of control and the preacher, Brother Braswell Carter, stopped his sermon and called us down. Back in those days it was a death sentence if the preacher had to call you down for misbehaving in church and I saw Momma look back to see who the guilty party was. She looked straight at me and gave me a look that would wilt a green turnip.
I gave her a big eyed look of complete innocence in return, one that said, “It weren’t me!”, but to no avail. I began to tremble in fear because if you have ever been on the receiving end of that look, you know what is coming; a complete skin removal from the neck down with a mulberry switch.
When we got out of church she came straight to me with that look still on her face and jerked a knot in me and said, “You just wait until I get you home, young man. I’m going to make your Daddy teach you a lesson you’ll never forget.”
I trembled all the way home because I knew what was coming. I could feel every lash of the switch before it fell, but wait; did she say Daddy? I did not fear my Daddy like I feared my Mother.
Once we got home, Momma said, “Conway, Brother Carter talked about how a man is supposed to discipline the children so I am letting you deal with Kenneth this time. Giving pitiful me the death penalty look again, she said, “Take him in that car shed and beat the tar out of him and I do mean good!”
Daddy did as he was told and walked me into the shed. I had stopped crying and was trying to tell Daddy what happened in church.
Along one wall was a stack of 100 pound bags of fertilizer. Daddy took off his belt and said, “Son, I am going to hit this bag of fertilizer and every time I hit it, you scream as loud as you can.”
I quickly realized the Lord had spared me and I gladly went along with the plan. It worked so well that in a little while Momma yelled out the kitchen window, “Conway, you’re killing that boy!”