Monday, October 19, 2009

Rainbow Coalition

My husband wants to be an old black man when he grows up. No, that's not right. I think he wants to be an old black man now.

It has something to do with being able to wear an orange or yellow suit if he wants to and no one laughing. Oh, and driving a big shiny car.

You may think this sounds funny, but I have never laughed. Because I kind of understand. One, because Kenny truly mourns the fact that he looks bad in orange, and two, well. . . I want to go to black church. Don't get me wrong, I like our church, too. But it's kind of . . . staid. I suppose if I were in a more proper frame of mind, I would say it's "holy". And certainly there are those moments.

Still, I confess. I love the whole call and response "hallelujah!" and "amen!" element that our pigment blessed brothers and sisters enjoy. It's probably because 1) it suits my personality. When I hear something I like in church, it practically has me wiggling in my seat with excitement. I wouldn't mind letting out a happy yelp to vent. And 2) it may have something to do with growing up in a predominantly black place. In Baton Rouge, I had an all white neighborhood and an almost all black school. Church was more white, but it was getting some nice color round about the time we moved away.

I guess Kenny will have to satisfy himself with bold ties instead of orange or purple three piece suits, and I'll settle for hearty amens at the ends of talks I really enjoy. Because I do like my church.

But I can wish. . .

24 comments:

Luisa Perkins said...

I feel Kenny's pain; for me, it's all about the music and the hats.

I'd sure love to have a gospel music infusion into our services on a regular basis. And how could a peacock feather pillbox fail to make Sunday better?

Lara said...

I totally get it. We are a bit staid. And sometimes I wish we weren't.

And, when I'm an old lady with white hair, I'm totally going to dye it blue.

InkMom said...

Lara, you will most certainly dye it blue if you have cataracts, because no matter how white it really is, your eyes will tell you it's yellow and dyeing it blue will be the only way for it to look white in your own mirror!

We have a lady in our ward who wears hats, every Sunday, and let me tell you, she wears them WELL. I love to see her decked out in her finery -- it makes me miss Memphis a little bit. Our bishop asked my mom (the Stake RS President) if there was anything in the handbook about hats being prohibited during meetings. My mom had to try really hard not to laugh out loud. No, she said. You cannot keep someone from wearing a hat to church. Perhaps next time you'd like to require face coverings for the sisters, and only navy or black ties for the brethren?

I think sometimes the only shot of vitality in an LDS ward is all the kids making so much noise through Sacrament meeting. I long for the tiniest bit of flamboyance in dress -- not immodesty, but brightness, joie de vivre, and enjoyment of life apparent in every bit of a person's appearance, down to the orange leather shoes bought to match Kenny's custom suit. We're southern here, so we get a bit more of it than other places. I mean, the hat lady brings a little uplift to the room every time she enters it, but still. We lack, don't you think?

Andrew & Sarah Clawson said...

Melanie!!! What in heck are you doing up at 4 am?! I thought I was the only one up that early! This is a hilarious post. You know that when a deaf audience agrees about what the speaker is saying.. they shake their heads and sign yessss.. So maybe you miss being in a deaf branch?? There's more excitement and drama! :-)

Heidi Ashworth said...

bwwwaaaahahaaahaaa! (What about a red suit? Too staid? I still remember when my mother told me I couldn't wear red shoes to church b/c nice girls just *didn't*.)

DeNae said...

My friend, Marian Ball, wore a hat to church every week til the day she died. As a black woman, she could get away with it.

And my daughter thinks she's black. It's the darndest thing. But so far, no 'response' behavior in church.

And InkMom stole my punchline: The under-3's in our ward have the whole "hallelujah" thing dialed in.

Only they say it, "AAAAAAAAAAA!!"

Bless their hearts.

Kenny, the husband said...

Here are my other reasons for wanting to be an old black man:

1. Sound sooooo much cooler when playing guitar and singing.
2. Dispense earthy wisdom.
3. Have a thick, gravelly voice.
4. Tell awesome stories.
5. Stop a song right in the middle of a song for no apparent reason, and then start a new one.
6. And yes...be dressed up in a suit and tie (any suit and tie, from any era) and look freakin' cool, instead of looking like just another white Mormon guy going to church.

Kristina P. said...

He should attend church in Harlem. They do a lot of that stuff, and one of the second counselor's looked like Huggie Bear. Not remotely an exaggeration.

Becca said...

Mmmm, hats at church. I'm totally with that. When our ward split a couple years ago and we got some new blood, one sister started chemo, and as some show of solidarity (or just fashion-forwardness) we, lots of us, wore hats to church. I loved it, and sort of wished I had been wither a black southern woman, or at least someone who could wear hats to church for a cancer-free reason.
I love me the rainbow - bring it on, and mix it up.

charrette said...

I can TOTALLY dig Kenny as an old black man! Our next door neighbor in the 'hood was from the south. He used to sit out on his porch and smoke his pipe in his rocking chair in the evenings. And he wore the stylin-est clothes. We adored him!

We have a hat lady in our ward. She wears them faithfully, in flamboyant colors. Her hair is also a flamboyant color. You should come visit.

And, dear one, we blog for the hallelujahs. Somebody writes a great post, and we chip in: Mmm-Hmmm! Amen, Sister! Hallelujah! Right in their comment box.

Kimberly said...

In keeping with Charrette's comment I just want to shout a hearty amen!

That Girl said...

In Brazil, our bishop was a rich, velvety black who wore bright green, turquoise, and white suits.

He looked fantastic.

And my husband was jealous.

L.T. Elliot said...

I'm all for the hats. I wish we'd go all "Ascot" at church--even with a little Doolittle racing-enthusiasm sometimes. And that song, "God is trying to tell you something" is a beautiful example of celebration and joyful worship to me. Can it be sung without boisterous exclaim? Really?

Colipoki said...

I have to say that I get what you're saying, but have you actually ever been to a black church for services. I have and no I am not prejudiced. Not at all. My best friend in high school was black. My sister-in-law is black. I grew up with mainly black folks, just like you, but going to their church-INTIMIDATING! You're like a skinny little sliver of oreo filling dancing and singing in the middle of all the cookie wafers. Talk about awkward.
-Susan

charrette said...

Oh, and I forgot to tell you...Los Angeles County has a Gospel Choir Festival every year. It used to be at the Shrine Auditorium. That would give you a GREAT gospel music fix!

Debbie said...

I want our church to get a black choir director. And I feel odd typing that. Like I'm gong to get attacked for being horribly politically incorrect.

Heather of the EO said...

I go to the church you're describing. sould, gospel, inner-city diversity...

and yes, it's good stuff.

Not to brag.

Especially about church.

Just saying.

My favorite lady says the very best "PRAISE THE LORD" after pretty much everything. I love her.

Kazzy said...

You and Kenny are my kind o' people!

Shellie said...

I completely agree. once I went to a prepaid legal conference in las vegas and have never seen so many men in purple, silver, red, orange, and yellow suits. and they looked good on them. but if a white guy tried to do that they would look like Jim Carrey in the Mask.

Eowyn said...

I've wanted that as well. The music. . .

And the clothes without embarrassment. . .

I try. I wear bright colors over a black skirt, but it's just not the same.

Now I'm going to go make the skirt I want to make. . .

CaJoh said...

Perhaps I am completely unfamiliar with what your church does and does not allow in the service.

My parent's church had a Southern Baptist style service where we were encouraged to say "Amen" and "Alleluia" throughout. I believe everybody truly enjoyed themselves.

Stephanie Faris said...

Hehehe. Do you know how often I see an outfit I really like and realize it's part of a label intended for a color I'm not? I like lace and frills and sequins and all of the fancy stuff...and so often white clothing is so darn sedate!

Annette Lyon said...

I remember when Gladys Knight performed at Pres. Hinckley's b-day and he made some comment about when she was first baptized and didn't like our hymns but has since repented. There was a laugh, but inside, I thought, "Wanna bet? I'm sure she still prefers the old music."

Anonymous said...

Yes, it is solved.