Between the ages of 11 and 14, I belonged to a church that excluded my family from a church wide outing to an Oakland A’s game. This was a big deal since the church only consisted of ten families or 60 members.
I imagine that Pastor Armor and Assistant Pastor Crabtree sat in their shared office at Redemption C.O.G.I.C. with their church directory; their dancing fingers taking turns dialing to invite household after household. Every man, woman and child was welcomed to join in this special sports-themed fellowship. Everyone except for Robert, Sheila and Nikki. Pastor and Assistant probably gave each other a knowing smile as they made it down to the end of the alphabetized list. Though Robert was a deacon and an avid baseball fan, they just couldn’t bear extending the invitation to us. There was just something about our family. Something.
Pastor Armor most likely backed away from his desk with a stretch and a yawn before making an excuse of checking the back pews for extra Bibles. Assistant Pastor Crabtree probably nodded, tucked the directory into the top drawer of his desk and began picking the dead skin from his lower lip. Our phone never rang. We received no voicemail.
The following Saturday, the entire church, excluding three, caravanned out to the Oakland (now McAfee) Coliseum. They must have been all smiles as they found their box seats. All of them wearing whatever hunter green and gold they could find in their respective closets. Mrs. Armor risked messing up her perpetual french roll to wear her A’s cap. Mother Golden wore her coke bottle glasses and A’s fanny pack. Brother Quincy, though never in church, was there sporting his Malcolm X beard and carpenter shorts above green striped tube socks.
I’m sure they ate hot dogs and cotton candy and peanuts and soda. The good church people did not drink any beer. Each time the A’s hit the ball, they would shout Jesus down from the right hand of God so Jesus could give each and every one of them a high five. They were so blessed.
The next day they were all at church smiling, nodding, clasping hands, hugging, talking about the fine time they’d had the previous night. A few of them asked us why we hadn’t gone. Gone where? What happened last night? There was a church outing to see the A’s game? No, we had no idea! Everyone was there? Everyone but us?
Pastor Armor made little jokes from the pulpit about doing the wave for Christ and root, root, rooting for God’s team against the devil. At that point, my mother said something under her breath about him being a devil and stomped out of the church. I remember watching her back and admiring the grey pin-striped suit she was wearing. Mom always looked so good going to church. I watched her slam the door behind her before I turned to look at Dad. Dad just shook his head. Back then I thought he was shaking his head because of her but over time I realized he felt the same way as she did. Now I get it. We belonged to a church full of assholes.
But then again, our family didn’t belong there anyway. My parents weren’t into wife-swapping.
Copyright © 2012 – 2013 Nikki Igbo. All rights reserved. Do not use or reproduce without permission.