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The teacher and the preacher

By Walter Geiger The Ailey Baptist Church has a baptismal pool hidden beneath a trap door. The kids from the Methodist church down the street often snuck into the always unlocked Baptist house of worship and marveled at what they thought was a swimming pool. Their church did not have one and, not recalling the water dribbled on their foreheads as infants, they felt deprived. One day, the preacher opened the trap door and absolved a 16-year-old boy of all his sins – before his sins really became all that interesting. The preacher’s golden tongue could turn a phrase or quote a scripture like none other and bring the most boring Bible verse to life. He was extremely well-educated and mentored students at Brewton-Parker College just down Highway 280. He taught the boy about life in the church and at various fishing holes of note in Montgomery County. He drove a yellow Oldsmobile land yacht with a trunkful of rods, reels and tackle. He had a fondness for plug tobacco and, just in case the Lord was not in the mood to provide and protect, he had a single malt and a snubnosed .38 revolver in his glovebox. His wife – the teacher – was not, at first glance, nearly so laid back. She taught at the high school – also just down the road from the church – and demanded respect and performance in her classroom. She was tough but in the manner that rebellious high school kids appreciated. In the years after graduation, every one of them the boy encountered said they learned more from her than any other on the campus where all 12 grades, the football field and gym were hemmed in tight between scrub pines and pasture. The teacher is still a gifted musician, master of any instrument with a keyboard. The boy learned to sing in the church’s small choir where she held court. He was impressed she knew Cat Stevens’ Morning has Broken before he realized Cat had stolen the tune from the hymnals of old before embracing Islam and giving away his riches. Services at the tiny little church held the attention of the boy who was of the age where nearly everything was a distraction. The messages and the music were just that good. The boy was only in their church and regular company for about two and a half years before college beckoned. But he took their lessons with him and eventually applied them. To this day, he thinks of them at church and choir practice. They made their mark on him as they did countless others. God blessed them both with priceless gifts and they used – and continue to use them in his glory and to nurture others. ********** Faye Deloach Brewer and John Robert Brewer celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary last month with a formal worship service at Brewton-Parker College. The boy, his hair now white, basked in their reflected glory once again as they celebrated.

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