The Rain Dance (excerpt)

On the other side of me, a stern woman sat beside me dressed in lima bean Chanel.  The Bible was pressed tightly in her hand, and every other word of her mouth was  “Amen.” I think her name was Ms. Johnson, or at least that seemed to be the name of every elderly Black woman I met in the church. 

The sermon went on for another ten minutes with its usual cadence and intonation.  My clothes felt hot, and I couldn’t wait to get home, eat, and watch football. A lot of the men had the same desperate look I had.

Then suddenly, without any warning, with what I think sounded like “eeeoooowwww,” the lady sitting next to me jumped up and starting doing an ostentatious dance.  She was moving and bucking wildly; indeed, she was working it. Everybody stopped looking at the preacher and looked at her.  And then, almost as if they didn’t see what I was seeing, everyone turned back around and continued listening to the preacher.  They all did this as Ms. Johnson continued to act like she was going to hurt somebody…


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