I’m Being Punk’d!!!

The universe has Punk’d me!! It got me gooooooood!

I have a meeting this week in Olive Branch, Mississippi. No, that’s not the prank, but that alone would have been a good one too. Olive Branch is about 15 miles from Memphis, Tennessee. We flew into Memphis. Before I boarded the plane in Baltimore I noticed that there were a LOT of black, church-looking people getting on the airplane, acting like they knew one another on some level –not too familiar, but familiar. I saw an inordinate number of long denim (although quite fashionable) skirts, up-do’s and, yes people, hat boxes. The people seemed too excited to be going to a funeral (besides, when does a whole family book the whole plane to fly to a funeral?), so I thought maybe this was a family reunion, until we landed in Memphis.

When we got to baggage claim I noticed that hat boxes were pouring off of every conveyor belt. Old couples in matching sable coats were walking through the airport pushing dollies with 5 and 6 suitcases…for 2 people!!! I couldn’t understand what in the world Memphis had going on that this many people dressed the same way, packed in the same excessive manner, with HAT boxes were descending upon the town…until I got outside to Ground Transportation. Outside the automatic doors was a maroon van with a trailer for luggage and on the side of it was the seal of the Church of God in Christ. People, I (me, Lex, who just posted about how I’ve gained enough distance from my “church” experience to try to figure some things out about my belief system) landed smack in the middle of the Church of God in Christ 100th Annual Convocation!!!

If you didn’t grow up in or around black church mega-organizations, you won’t really get the magnitude of that statement alone. I’ll help by embellishing this post with enough visual stimuli to help you feel the impact of this cosmic prank….because that is what it is…all things black church in the universe were dumped upon Memphis this week…and do you know what else? The hotel that is hosting MY meeting is one of the overflow hotels for the convocation!!!! Feel my pain people.

I don’t have the words to describe this event. I remember laughing until I hollered while reading a post last year of an unsuspecting white woman who stumbled upon the convocation by mistake. If anyone has read this post (as it was circulating on the internet last year), please send me the link and I’ll add it to this post. Her perspective if far funnier than mine is.

The meeting wrapped up this afternoon, so I actually get to go into Memphis later. I so promise you pics. It’s unbelievable I tell you! There will be stretch Hummers, fur coats, gaudy hats and suits and matching shoes and purses. I’ve been taking “Secret Squirrel” pics here in the hotel. I hope to get them to you soon.

Has anybody witnessed this (or anything like it) before? Can you please tell me how this has happened to me? Is this some kind of test?

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8 thoughts on “I’m Being Punk’d!!!

  1. Is that what they mean by “trial by fire”?

    It’s brilliant! You know it is. The universe read your post and went, “Oh, yeah?” Don’t you feel good, triumphant? Didn’t you need to know you weren’t full of shit?

    You were “Walking in Memphis,” whoo!

  2. I’ll keep checking back for the photos. My first father-in-law was a Baptist pastor – I know a little about the conventions.

  3. I bet you feel guilty now that you didn’t wear a hat.

    Will your Secret Squirrel pictures have a sound track?

    I once stayed in a hotel in Knoxville, TN with my daughter while there was a conference of the deaf going on.

    The lobby was full of people conversing in sign language, couples picking each other up In Sign Language, children scooting around signing, and when I spoke to the desk clerk, I felt as if I must be shouting.

    Of course the irony wasn’t there as I hadn’t abandoned deafness to speak for myself.

  4. The mental imagery of the hat boxes is really something. I didn’t grow up Christian and have only been to black churches a few times with relatives and friends — and there wasn’t too much hat wearing going on. I guess it’s saved for the convention?

    I can imagine you’re having to go through a gazillion conversations where folks are asking, “So what church do you go to?” “Who’s your pastor?” and, “So you aren’t Christian?”

    Can’t wait to hear more about the experience.

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