The following transcription is from a series of recordings my father made back in the early 1990s:
Brother Woodward, a Methodist preacher, came to Sicily Island and preached at the Methodist Church in town. After he retired from preaching, he made his home in Sicily Island. One of his daughters, the oldest one, Miss Estelle, married Mr. W. S. Peck. Bro. Woodward had two more daughters, Mrs. Myrtis Wyly who lived up at Lake Providence and Miss Willie who never married. Miss Willie lived there with her daddy until he died. Afterwards, she moved down to the lake and stayed with Miss Estelle following Mr. Peck's death.Part 1
I always like to go back and tell this story. It just stands out in my memory. This one dates back to the mid-1930s. Bro. Woodward had been retired for years when this story occurred.
As kids we would go to Sunday School up at the Methodist Church. Bro. Woodward would always go to church and he always went to Sunday School.
A bunch of us kids would be sitting there early in the morning before Sunday School. Bro. Woodward would come in. He was a great big ole man. He was over six feet tall, weighed about 240 pounds, and was bald headed.
He'd come in and pass by us sitting there on those benches, in the pews. He'd speak to all the little girls. "How are you, sissy?" He'd reach over and take his hand and mess up all the little boys' hair and say, "How are you, sonny?" Like I say, he was a big ole man, talked kind of loud, too. I don't know about the others but I was about half afraid him.
One Saturday morning I was standing on the street in front of Uncle Wes' old store, next to the old Whatley store that was later the Wynn's store. As I was standing there, I looked up and there came Bro. Woodward walking from his house there in town. He was walking down the edge of the street and he kind of cut over, coming towards me. I knew what he was going to do and I just froze.
There was a bunch of old colored men sitting on the benches out in front of Whatley's store right next to where I was standing. Bro. Woodward walked by, messed up my hair and said, "How are you, sonny boy?"
He then turned around to walk into Whatley's store and saw those old colored men. He said, "Good morning!" and the old colored men all replied, "Yes sir, Bro. Woodward, sho is, sho is." As Bro. Woodward was backing up towards the entry to Whatley's he said, "Yes, yes, just a beautiful morning."
He didn't see the old dog laying there asleep right in the doorway. He stepped on that dog and that old dog let out a terrible yelp. I'll never forget that. That old man jumped straight up in the air and yelled, "You bastard, I'll stomp your brains out!" Scared the hell out of me and the old colored men.
We'll just say he lost his religion there for a few seconds.