Gosh-Golly, I Was Just a Kid Having Too Much Fun!

One of my favorite childhood memories is of Evangelist John Leland. He was a man of faith and prayer, but he was also a comedian. You know, one of those guys who could preach to make you laugh and cry at the same time. Also, my folks did not have a tv or allow us kids to go to the movies and theater, so John Leland was a treat. I have memories of him preaching one summer evening in an open-air tent meeting. He told about two women talking to each other during his preaching. He said he tried speaking louder, but they seemed to be in their own world. So in mid sentence, he said he just stopped. In the sudden quiet he said the women could not hush quickly enough before one of them blurted out, “Well, I like ketchup on mine.”

I thought the story was funny, so jumped around and laughed out loud along with everyone else. But I also remember adding my own enthusiastic response at the end of the laughter. Timed perfectly just in the pause before the evangelist got his breath to start up again, I called out in my best solo voice, “GOL-LEE!” It must have echoed throughout the tent and out into the night air. I recall church secretary and sometimes babysitter, Annie Jones, jerking her whole body around from the front row to show me her disapproval.

Don Loy Whisnant/Journey Notes 8F19