Wednesday, December 30, 2009

sunday morning coming down

We drove to the Delta on Sunday morning to celebrate the marriage of two dear friends, Hunter & Shara. The gathering was in an old farm house near Schlater, Miss., and right in the middle of my stomping grounds as a teenager. Growing up in Greenwood, it was more than common to find yourself "around the world:" a trail of dirt roads and two-lane highways that takes you through three counties and many forgotten communities.

One forgotten community is on a small dirt turn-row known as "Snake 88." Snake 88 is my favorite backroad in the Delta, and when I interned at the Greenwood Commonwealth in 2006, I often found myself on this road at sunset. An abandoned one-room church sits snugly among unkempt graves and overgrown oaks. Late one afternoon in the summer of 2006, I drove by the church to find the front door wide open. I stopped, peaked my head in (nervously), and closed the door. A month later, a similar scenario unfolded and upon closing the door, I noticed the sanctuary had been scavenged and vandalized. The pulpit was turned over and the two recliners that once stood at the front of the church were gone. It broke my heart.

Ironically, on this most recent trip down Snake 88, I found this piece of an old electric organ sitting next to a tree about 500 yards from the church. I'm not sure if it washed out or carried out, but I decided to keep it. Maybe this isn't the most ethical decision I've ever made, but if I were to return it to my beloved abandoned church, what would its future be? Today, I'm going to hang the keyboard on a wall in my home. It serves as a reminder of my former home, the Mississippi Delta, and the many sacred spaces across our state that have been forgotten, dozed over and desecrated.