Mama says everybody loved Uncle Ceph. Cephas Poe was Mama's daddy, but everybody called him Uncle Ceph.

Uncle Ceph pastored in a different world. First Assembly of God stood on a hill outside a little town tucked into the Arkansas River Valley. Men worked in the cotton fields and coal mines. Despite the Depression, people still grew their pole beans and bought peaches off the truck and canned them, got milk from the cow and eggs from the store, baked biscuits and cornbread, fried chickens, and once in a while treated themselves to a store-bought candy bar and a Coke.

Pastoring in that context wasn't idyllic. Seems the radio was causing people to waste a lot of time on Fibber McGee and Molly and baseball games. Families weren't broken on the outside, but cotton farmers and coal miners could be a hardened lot who worked hard all week, drank and danced in the sawdust honky-tonks on Saturday night, fished all day Sunday, and didn't think much beyond their families' physical needs, if that. AIDS ...

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