Friday, February 25, 2011

Daddy was a preacher

Prove yourselves doers of the word and not merely hearers who delude themselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror, for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was. James 1:22-25

Hugh Ousley was meticulous about his appearance. For example, he would often come into a room and say “Do you know how old these shoes are?” I would pick a number out of thin air and make my guess. “No. I bought these Florsheim dress shoes before you were born. I keep them polished and take care of them, and they still look brand new.”

Sundays, he wore a white shirt-- the cuffs and collar of which were heavily starched and laboriously ironed by my mother. The last touch to this article of clothing was a pair of cuff links.

He was a walker and always wore dress slacks and a fashionable hat (think Humphrey Bogart) – felt in the winter; straw for summer wear. He had very thick, straight hair, and always took pride in being presentable no matter what the occasion. His frequent trips to the barber shop kept him feeling presentable.

However, occasionally, he would stand before the congregation, read the scripture from the first chapter of James, and while holding his Bible as if it were a mirror, muss his hair enough that he appeared to have just risen from a toss-and-turn night of sleep. Then he would remove from his pocket one of his combs. The combs were all black, about six inches long, with a diagonal slant. The narrower the comb, the closer the teeth were spaced. Again holding his “Mirror” he would clutch his comb at the narrow end, reach up, and perfectly part his hair. Then, he would switch to holding the other end of the comb and restore his hair perfectly. Without missing a beat in his message delivery, he would call on the congregation to be using their Mirrors more. Lest we forget.

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