Raised as a child of tenant farmers, my view of sin was probably not that different from my peers. However, being somewhat isolated from “worldly things” I may have been a bit too sincere in my dedication to church and the sanctity of good behavior:-)
Bars were a fearsome thing in my young mind. We had a sixteen mile drive to church in Turley, Oklahoma, from the dairy where we lived in Collinsville. We passed a bar on the way. While I didn’t rightly know what they did in “those places” I did know they were “worldly” so I faithfully hid my head each time we passed by.
Later in my childhood, I faced a deep personal grief when I saw a letter my big brother had written to the American Bar Association. I secretly worried that we were losing him to the scary and unknown world of bars. It was many years later before I learned that the bar association was a professional organization of attorneys.
Obviously, I hadn’t yet been taught about the double meanings of words. Knowing sin was bad, I was consistently confused by my country preacher father’s regular use of a product called SinSin just before he went to church to deliver a sermon.
At some later time I realized that SinSin was a chewable breath tablet, but my further education in psychology makes me wonder at the possible Freudian meaning of SinSin before church?!?
Then there was the Readers Digest with the strange, silvery, seemingly wicked cover! Yup, you heard that right.
One day when everyone was gone for several hours and I knew for sure that I’d be alone all that time I did the unthinkable. I crawled into the corner where a chrome-colored issue of the sinful magazine had been hidden by my mother. She had no idea that I noticed such things.
We didn’t have many books, and absolutely no magazines except the stack of Jack and Jills I had stashed in the hayloft, but my mother loved to read and always read our school books cover to cover.
I sat on the floor huddled over for my momentous occasion of forbidden reading and guiltily devoured the whole magazine! I truly tried to find the wicked parts, but couldn’t seem to discern them. Of course, I could never admit I knew of the mag’s existence, so I never asked for more information.
As an adult, Readers Digest has always been one of my favorite magazines. I guess I’m still looking for the sin. . . Who knows? Maybe it was the silver cover since adornment would have fit in the category of “worldly” that our people avoided.
Copyright by Hildra Tague. Obtain author’s permission for use online or in print.