Below them were the senior portraits of all eight

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Unformatted text preview: uot; She launched into a long story about her church, which was within walking distance of her home, and a fire that destroyed it not too many years earlier. The fire department, which of course was on the white side of town, was never in a hurry when responding to calls in Lowtown. They lost their church, but it was a blessing! Reverend Small rallied the congregation. For nearly three years they met in a warehouse loaned to them by Mr. Virgil Mabry, a fine Christian man. The building was one block off Main Street and many white folks didn't like the idea of Negroes worshiping on their side of town. Hut Mr. Mabry held firm. Reverend Small raised the money, and three years after the fire they cut the ribbon on a new sanctuary, one twice as big as the old. Now it was full every Sunday. I loved it when she talked. It allowed me to eat nonstop, which was a priority. But I was still captivated by her precise diction, her cadence, and her vocabulary, which had to be college level. When she finished with the new sanctuary, she asked, "Do you read the Bible often?" "No," I said, shaking my head and chewing on a hot turnip. "Never?" Lying never crossed my mind. "Never." That disappointed her again. "How often do you pray?" I paused for a second and said, "Once a week, right here." She slowly placed her knife and fork beside her plate and frowned at me as if something profound was about to be said. "Mr. Traynor, if you don't go to church, don't read your Bible, and don't pray, I'm not so sure you're really a Christian child." I wasn't so sure either. I kept chewing so I wouldn't have to speak and defend myself. She continued, "Jesus said, 'Judge not, that ye be not judged.' It's not my place to pass judgment on anyone's soul, but I must confess that I'm worried about yours." I was worried too, but not to the point of disrupting lunch. "Do you know what happens to those who live outside the will of God?" she asked. Nothi...
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