"Well, I'll Be John Brown"

Real stories about folks who have blessed my life with the joy and fulfillment of laughter. Long may they live.

Location: Atlanta, Georgia, United States

A Southern Boy - Born In Alabama, Reared In Georgia, and Matriculated, Married & Initiated Into Manhood In Tennessee.

Friday, April 29, 2005

"Miss Dot - The Church Lady"

She was reared in a well-to-do Alabama family, but chose to marry a poor boy from the other side of the tracks. "Miss Dot," as she will always be known, chose true love over money. Tells you something about her right away. Disowned by her family for marrying beneath them, Miss Dot eventually emerged a very strong lady from the hardships and sacrifices of the life she chose for herself.

Miss Dot remains a no-nonsense, tell-it-like-it-is, country girl whose retirement has been unselfishly spent helping single moms rear their own problem kids. This lady will, doubtless, have many stars in her crown someday.

During her working life Miss Dot spent several years as THE "in-house" teacher at a local high school. She got all the trouble makers, smart alecks, future repeat offenders, and all those kids whose home lives were utter disasters. Little did these folks know when they went to Miss Dot's room for the first time, that they were being introduced to someone who would become the very best friend in public education, or in any other arena, that they would likely ever have.

Miss Dot ran a tight ship. She was a stern, no-holds-barred disciplinarian - the very prototype for many of the "zero tolerance" programs now utilized in school systems across the country. If there was a tolerance number lower than "zero" for sorriness and misbehavior, Miss Dot both invented and embraced it. The Marine Corps could very well have used her at any time as a drill instructor.

Given these things, one would think that en masse these troubled students would have come out of Miss Dot's reform school whining, complaining, and filing all kinds of complaints against the abuse they suffered at her heavy hand. Quite the contrary. The vast majority came out not only as better students, but most went on to graduate and really make something of themselves in life.

This writer has personally been in Miss Dot's presence when former members of these in-house classes would come running up to her, grown men included, giving her hugs and kisses usually reserved for mothers and grandmothers, and showering her with profound expressions of thanks for the priceless things she taught them during those difficult days.

Quite a woman!

The strengths that Miss Dot possessed and utilized for the good of so many could also be known to get a little outside the box on occasion. Such as the time she volunteered to help hand out tracts and other promotional items at a booth rented by her church at a local community craft fair.

It was hot and muggy that Saturday. Typical southern summertime. About 90 degrees with 90% humidity. Miss Dot and several others had been hard at it since early that morning. Scads of folks had come by the booth, readily accepting the plastic bags that Miss Dot and her fellow workers were offering. These bags had been stuffed with scratch pads, ink pens, refrigerator magnet-calendars, and a few assorted tracts introducing the church. Printed on the outside of each bag was the church's name, as well as other pertinent contact and logistics information.

Miss Dot would kindly greet the passers-by, telling them a little about the church, inviting them to visit, and then closing the encounter she would offer the bag as a courtesy gift. Everyone had been so receptive and friendly. Hundreds of the bags had been given out. Many of them by Miss Dot herself.

She could never have anticipated the lady with the frosted semi-beehive hairdo. A very proper, socialite looking wench who appeared as if she had just stepped out of a $75,000 Lexus. Jewelry, nail polish, spike heels and unabashed pretention were everywhere. "Snooty," is what Miss Dot called her. At least that was the baptized (cleaned up) version she used when telling her story to the preacher a little later on in the afternoon.

As the lady approached, Miss Dot greeted her in a very kind and gracious way and issued the same offer that had been made to countless others. As with all the others, Miss Dot then held out the free bag of church goodies. The lady stopped dead in her tracks, put her hands on her hips like folks do when they are extremely put out, and stood glaring at Miss Dot from behind her $200.00 Oakleys - for way, way too long.

Finally, looking down her catty, pointed nose and over the top of her high fashion sunglasses, she reached out as if she were shooing a roach from her dinner plate and pushed away Miss Dot's hand, along with the free bag of church stuff.


The lady then said, in a very dismissive and condescending tone, "No, no honey, you keep your little bag of trinkets - I'm not the least bit interested."

Wrong again!!!

The rock-hard, combat countenance of a veteran in-house warrior swept over Miss Dot's face. Her smile and bright eyes, so evident just a few moments before, disappeared.

The battle had been joined!

Slowly, Miss Dot laid the bag on a table at the front of the booth. In an exaggerated fashion she brushed the back of her own hand - the one that had been touched by the lady - in the same way someone would flick dog doodoo from a child's pant leg. She then called boisterously to one of her co-workers in the booth asking for the antiseptic hand wash to be passed to her - and quickly!!

If this were not enough to get the point across, before the woman could go flitting on her way, Miss Dot - in a voice that St. Peter himself could have easily heard in the farthest depths of the Hadean world - fired a final round...

"That's fine...No room in our church for trailer trash anyway...But, I'm pretty sure there's room in hell for one more!!!"

You go, girl!

Evangelism will never be the same again!!!

LIB John Brown


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