The Mountain Laurel
The Journal of Mountain Life

Visit us on FaceBookGenerations of Memories
from the
Heart of the Blue Ridge

The Message

As Told By Leonard J. Turley
Preserved By Edith T. Medley © 1988

Issue: January–February, 1988

During my travels through North Carolina, I met a fellow named Mack who could spin more yarns than Carter has oats and every one of them were truly so. One day he got on the subject of preachers and the words gushed forth. He held his listeners spellbound as he told about the old time preachers who brought down fire and brimstone on his congregation of squirming individuals who were more than anxious to come to the alter or at least put some money in the collection plate as a kind of fire insurance for the hereafter.

"You know," he said, "There were a mighty lot of big evangelists in the old days. I remember hearing Sam Jones, the Brooks Brothers, Billy Sunday and plenty more. They all did a lot of good and they got mighty well paid for it too."

"I remember Sam Jones real well. He got all wound up one night and said he was sure his own grandmother went to Hell. That sorta got me. It didn't seem right to bring the old lady's predicament to the light at this late date. I felt like getting up and walking out, but I didn't. Another fellow did though. He left just before time to pass the collection plate. He got right up in the meeting and headed for the door. Sam saw him and yelled out, 'There goes a sinner straight to Hell.' The fellow stopped and turned around and answered back, 'You may be right Parson. Got any message you want to send your Grandma?'"