I went to school in a one room
school house at the crossroads
in Muddy Pond, Tennessee.
The building was white washed
and there was a big pot-bellied
stove that kept us in the promise
of warmth from time to time.
I remember the teacher would
go from grade to grade and give
assignments before moving on
to the next grade. There was one
boy there that was in sixth grade
that looked twenty but was probably
sixteen or so. He looked like a man but
talked like a child, what struck me
was how hard he worked. I spent
a lot of free time figuring out what
he would do next to upset teacher.
Crossroads School House became
Crossroads Baptist Church on Sunday.
We would gather round
that potbellied stove that didn’t
offer us any more warmth than
It did in school. People would come
from miles around and we would
meet our boyfriends or girlfriends
and sing to the tops of our voices.
The preacher would punctuate his hell
and brimstone sermon with haa sounds
that came from deep in his belly
and it almost sounded like a yodel
when he’d get going good.