My paternal grandfather, Owen David Sewell, died when I was five. My memories of him are few but I do remember vividly one Sunday afternoon at the home-place. My family lived in the house that granddad built on the farm that joined his father’s place. Anyway, on that particular Sunday, Granddad was visiting and the house was full of company. I was playing with my red truck in the side yard when up drove the Baptist preacher. The preacher got out of his car, walked up the front steps and entered the front door. Almost instantly, at least soon enough to know that there was a cause and effect, my grandfather exited the back door of the house, got in his car and drove away. He didn’t intend to deal with any preacher.
Why was he allergic to men of the cloth? Well, the story in the family is that his father, my great-grandfather John, was devoted to the church being “a pillar of the Church” in Southern vernacular. His sons felt that he gave more to the church than was appropriate so they resented religion avoiding it most of their lives. My grandfather was only baptized in his old age, but that is another story.
I wonder what he would have thought had he known that his redheaded grandson playing in the dirt would become an Episcopal Priest. What would have been the most appalling, that I was clergy or that I was Episcopal clergy?