Our church, Greenwood Baptist, held a Fall Festival for the community for many years. We'd have 500-600 costumed kids come for treats, booths, rides and photo ops. My job was to greet them at the door, give them a Trick or Treat bag and direct them into the sanctuary to meet Pastor Mike and then have a picture made.
Lawrence Hill, one of our charter members (now with the Lord), shared this greeting post with me over the years. After a couple of hours at the vestibule door, I slipped away explaining, "Mr. Lawrence, I'm gonna put on a costume this year. But when I come back out, don't tell anyone it's me." His eyes reflected my twinkle and I knew I had a cohort.
In the adjacent Bride's Room I stuffed pillows into my large flannel shirt and bib overalls. I put on a ball cap with dreadlocks attached, thick bottle-glasses, Billy Bob teeth and even gloves to hide my manicured hands. I waved at Lawrence as I made my re-entrance. He seemed puzzled at first. "It's ME! Shhhhh!"
I sashayed down the aisle behind a costumed family, waiting my turn to meet the unsuspecting pastor.
He reached for my hand, "Hello. I'm Mike. Welcome to Greenwood."
"Heeeeyyyy, Preacher!" I croaked in my best Redneck, gravel voice. "I met you a'fore! Doncha' 'member me?"
He paused, "Uh, no, I don't quite. . ." I could see his struggle as he tried to decide if this weird lady was in a costume or merely a weird lady. I enjoyed watching him squirm with diplomacy.
"Well, I'm here near 'bout every Sunday. Yessiree!"
"You are?" he smiled patronizingly.
"Yep. I sit right in front. You bounda' see me!"
He squinted trying to peer through my thick glasses. Obviously his job this night was to welcome folks to his church. Until now, it had been a relatively easy job.
I continued the charade, "Shore nuff! In fact I hear you need an organ player."
Now he knew I'd visited before. I play the piano but at that time we also needed someone on organ. So he smiled with, "Why, yes, we do," still trying to place me.
Teetering between diplomacy and hysteria, he kindly asked, "You do?"
"Yep. In fact, you WATCH me play every week!"
"I-I do?" His voice was a bit higher than usual.
"Yesiree Bob! I just sit on the pianer bench every Sunday."
Mike leaned in as close as my pillowed-belly would let him. He lifted my thick glasses and queried, "Kathy? Is that you in there?"
I had my picture taken and one of our members fixed it up into a poster:
Then I continued all through the gym talking to folks who didn't recognize me. We truly have some kind members. Then I got to Doug's booth. Of course he knew it was me but he played along as I flirted with him. Finally I grabbed him, leaned him back and planted a big, Billy-Bob-toothed kiss on him. Everyone froze in terror until I removed my hat, glasses and teeth.
The big reveal!
ONE YEAR LATER--Part 2 (just when you thought it couldn't get worse. . .)
I asked Vickie Morrison, "Would you dress up in my garb like I did last year, Vickie?"
"Oh, Kathy, I can't be crazy like you."
"You don't have to, Vickie. In fact don't say a word and they'll all think it's me again." So she did. As she went through the sanctuary Pastor Mike kidded her, "Come on, Kathy, not again! You look as bad as last time."
She went to the gym and at every booth folks made wise cracks to Kathy. She never spoke but took the back-slapping and ribbing like a pro. About halfway through her circuit of the booths, I came in dressed normally. Me at one end of the gym, Vickie at the other.
"Kathy! I thought I just saw you and I said how ugly you looked! Oh no!"
"You did? Who were you talking to? I just got here."
"That lady down there. . .oh nooooo! She looked just like you did last year. I thought it was you! Oh man!"
I followed her trail hearing one person after another moan at what they'd just said to our ugly visitor. I waited awhile before revealing mini-me as Vickie.
We stopped having Fall Festivals soon after these 2 years. Wonder why.