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Don Locke: Looking Through Bifocals

Although Lee was a black Methodist, at times it was necessary for him to become a Jew (It's ok to say "Jew"; it is found some 83 times in the Bible).

Lee Waters ran a small slaughterhouse back in my hometown when I came up. The local Jewish congregation purchased meat from him, naturally it had to be prepared according to Jewish rite and custom. The local Rabbi delegated the preparation to a senior member of the congregation. Certain steps had to be gone trough for the Kosherizing, then the meat was affixed with an indelible stamp showing the religious ritual had properly taken place. The ink pad and the stamp were left on hand at the slaughterhouse.

At times the Kosher-ritual-designee, a local businessman, became slack in his duties and was tardy getting to the slaughterhouse. Lee didn't get his money until the meat was delivered. So, at various times, Lee Waters took matters into his own hands and became the only black member of the Jewish congregation.

Among the most prosperous Jewish folks in our town was the Elic Cohen family. Elic owned and operated a large hardware store and later a farm equipment dealership. Back when his only boy Julius was around twelve, in the early thirties, he persuaded is daddy to buy their first truck. Since Elic couldn't drive, Julius was the designated driver. Julius recounted an incident for years - laughing at his daddy's reaction. They were going down the steepest and longest hill in town when the brakes on the truck went out. Julius informed his daddy: "Poppa, the brakes have gone out, and we are more than likely gonna hit something."

"Well," Elic told him, "hit something cheap Julius."

Julius's mother, although an orthodox Jew, loved Southern Gospel music on the radio. She liked the songs that got up and rocked: "Looking for a City," "Turn Your Radio On," and "Victory's Coming Over Yonder." It was said she kept and read a New Testament. She may very well have been a Christian at heart. Her grandson became a Baptist, where he served as Sunday School Superintendent.

So much--"The Passing Parade."

Kindest regards . . .


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