⌗AtoZ Challenge, 23rd April 2020, T is for Tuscaloosa.


Welcome to my blog Life in Poetry.

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Welcome to the 2020 APRIL A to Z Challenge

Over Half-Way there, Hang On.


Quote of the Day :  
One can learn more about a person by playing with them for an hour than a year long conversation.

PLATO (428-348 BC)

if you would like to know more about the A to Z Challenge, founded 11 years ago by Arlee Bird at Tossing Out,  read here

for my theme revealed , go here on Blogger

On WordPress, read here 

My Nineteenth extract from my novel in progress will appear towards the middle of the novel. Mathilda is travelling up the Mississippi. 

Brief synopsis of plot and characters :

Mathilda, my first main character, is American and lives in New York City. She is a student at NYU where she is preparing a thesis on the origins and developments of African American Music. She is a first person narrator. Her timeframe is 2005. In my previous extracts, Mathilda has travelled to Savannah, Jekyll Island, Florida, New Orleans, Hattiesburg, Tuscaloosa and Cherokee.

Bartolomé, my second main character, is Cameroonian and lives in Yaoundé. He is a professor of Mathematics at the University there. I will be using a third-person narrator for this character from his Point of View. His timeframe is the early ’90’s. In my previous extracts, Bartolomé has made a trip up North for his grand-father’s funeral and decided to leave Yaoundé behind for good.

T is for Tuscaloosa

The bright-coloured geometrical forms of the stained-glass windows are aglow with the summer light. The children from Sunday School file into the church from a side door as we walk up the aisle to our seats. Vanessa indicates a pile of cushions on the bench and I take one. The South bell Baptist Church is built of brick in a Neo-Gothic style, the steeple white-painted stone. The ceiling is criss-crossed with waxed-to-shine beams and Elizabethan style, fake-candle chandeliers encased in wrought iron and glass hang between them.

The introductory Gospel are sung by a quintet : a lead singer and two men. two women. They start with Holy is the Lord and Forget about Myself. Then he band joins in for Walk closer with Thee and Hush, Someone’s calling my Name. The drums, organ, guitar, trumpet and clarinet play in harmony without drowning the spirituals’ choruses voices. I feel welcome, even though I am sure I am seen as just another Yankee tourist, whatever my Georgia origins.

Follows the sermon. ” Pray The Lord or fall prey to the Devil himself,” starts Reverend A.Morris. Then he continues in the same vain with wordplays, opposing armour to sin and not indulging in one’s girdle, as a joke on containing one’s flab, which draws laughs and thigh slapping from the assembly, even the plump old ladies.

” Pray to The Lord and forget about the new car, new clothes and the better house to keep up with the Jones’ . ” I chuckle inwardly but only let a smile betray my mirth.

The songs prove the point. ‘Money, money, money’ by ABBA pours out from the speakers. Everyone sings along. They are on their best behaviour in full Summer Parade get-up shoes, hats and dress. I made an effort with a colourful skirt and long sleeve blouse but I know I stand out as the gal from the North.

After the announcements (next parish meetings, NAACP gatherings, Summer picnic), the congratulations (births, baptisms, weddings, anniversaries) and bereavements, the collection basket is passed round and filled generously by every member of the congregation.

the Gospel chants rise and once more echo in the holy space. My heart lifts with those about me and for the first time in a long while I feel a sense of community which I realise I decidedly lack in New York City. My universe is fragmented between family, university pals and close friends who are now scattered all over the States through work, extra studies or the accidents of life. I think back to Savannah and can picture more fully what kind of solace my great grandparents must have found in the Baptist Church brethren of Georgia and the part it must have played in their day to day struggles. A surge of gratitude balloons up inside me and I reach out a silent prayer  to my ancestors who fought to survive and make me who I am.

©susanbauryrouchard

Holy is The Lord, here

Walk Closer with Thee, here

Hush, Someone’s Calling my Name, here

Money money, money, here

my photos Mississippi, April 2008

Thanks for stopping by. Please leave a comment and I will be sure to reply. See you tomorrow.

3 thoughts on “⌗AtoZ Challenge, 23rd April 2020, T is for Tuscaloosa.

  1. Sounds like a lovely place to visit. Thanks for sharing this post with us.

    I hope you and yours are staying safe and healthy during this difficult time.

    J Lenni Dorner~ Co-host of the #AtoZchallenge, Debut Author Interviewer, Reference& Speculative Fiction Author

    Liked by 1 person

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