A Funky Assortment of Plates

The summer we decided we were Christians, I started singing solos at church. “Specials” is what the preacher called them. Every Sunday he said the same thing: “Is there anybody here who feels moved to bless us with song, and sing us a special?”

One day I stood up and stepped into the aisle. I didn’t tell my mother anything about it beforehand. I just got up and did it. I marched myself to the front of the church. The preacher leaned down and looked me in the eye. He laid his hand on my chest and said, “Do it just like I told you, son. Sing from here.” He pressed the spot over my heart. “Sing loud. When you get to that one part, do that thing with your hands. Try to remember to breathe every once in a while. If you get scared, look at me.”

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