Friday, June 23, 2006
An intinerent worker lived in this trailer almost forty years ago. I remember when I first met him.... he was a wizened, stooped man in blue overalls, and he said simply, "Just call me Ike." He was the first adult who asked me to call him by his first name. He lived in this trailer on a relative's property. Occasionally he did odd jobs for my father. My mother took pity on him and brought him food; she once cooked him a large pot of chicken and dumplings.
When I learned that he died, I had just joined the Church of Christ. My mental image of an un-baptized Ike burning in hell, a doctrine that my new church taught, disturbed me. I had joined the church in secret; my parents did not know. When we went to his funeral, I decided that I could not judge this man. True, he did not attend the Church of Christ and he may not have been baptized, but I could not judge him.