Biographical Non-Fiction posted November 1, 2021

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Being 16 in1962 at the Baptist Church

A Memoir of the Baptist Church

by Terry Broxson

It's just a kid's perspective, but growing up in the Baptist Church in the 1950's and early 60's could be fun, educational, and sometime oppressive. We lived in the oil patch town of Midland, Texas...the Permian Basin...Sweet Light Crude. When we were not in school, my little brother and I were in the Baptist Church. Mother saw to it.

One of the educational parts was of course Sunday School. Mostly it was about the Bible, Jesus, the do's and the don'ts...there were lots of don'ts. But sometimes it was current events like when Colonel Mize, our Sunday School teacher, discussed the space race.

Colonel Mize said, "Now, boys I am not sure that God likes all those things we are sending up to his heavens! We need to be careful." Him being a retired Colonel and all I figured he knew more than the rest of us, but as far as I know nothing has happened, yet.

When my best friend Tim, and I, got to be 16 the fun and educational opportunities changed. On Sunday night after Training Union and evening services a new element was introduced to our lives...girls. This is how we learned to kiss girls, and sometimes even a 17-year-old!

It was called PUDUNKEL (one headlight) and PUDIDDLE (one taillight). Three girls got in a car and chose three boys who could get in the car with them. There were usually two cars. Whenever someone saw a car with only one headlight burning the person called out PUDUNKEL, and then got to kiss the person of their choice. Same thing worked for cars with only one taillight burning. You would simply not believe me if I tried to tell you how many cars in Midland, Texas only had one headlight or taillight.

The oppressive part was the rather long list of do's and don'ts. Like don't dance, but there was not any dancing with PUDUNKEL & PIDIDDLE, so we figured it was okay.

Our Preacher was Brother Jim. He was really good at bringing hellfire and damnation to life almost every Sunday morning and evening and sometimes on Wednesday night. Except at Christmas there was a reprieve from his regular message. (Now please don't get me wrong, I am sure most of us needed his regular message).

At Christmas, music is a big part of the Baptist Church. The best was the choir's Cantata that is usually preformed at the Sunday morning service before or on Christmas. Now, a Cantata is some really high-class church songs that tell the story of Christ's birth. Don't expect any Rudolph, White Christmas, or Baby its Cold Outside.

My mother was a member of the Choir, so I had firsthand knowledge that the Choir practiced every Wednesday for a month and some extra practices in order to be perfect for that Sunday morning presentation.

A Cantata would last for 45 minutes to an hour, and it replaced the Sunday morning preaching. Honestly, that was the best part. No Hellfire and damnation that morning.

While the Cantata was being performed, I was rejoicing in not having to listen to Brother Jim explain the wages of sin of the flesh and other transgressions. But my Buddy, Tim, was rejoicing looking at the lovely legs of the lovely Pipkin girl.

I thought then, it was too bad Cantatas are only done once a year. Once a month would have been good. Tim didn't really care; he was going to look at the lovely Pipkin girl's legs...singing or preaching.


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