I don’t want to die but Miss Hooker says

that I’ve got to and so does everyone

else, she includes herself, she’s my Sunday

School teacher, she saves my immortal soul from

Hell so that when I’m dead it’s Heaven is

where I’ll go to spend Eternity and

see God and Jesus and the Holy Ghost

and the saints and family and maybe

a few old friends and some enemies, too,

Judge not lest ye be judged, Miss Hooker says,

or maybe that was Jesus but it’s good

advice whoever came up with it and

besides, my enemies might be surprised

as well to see me up there, in Heaven

I mean, and maybe we’ll become friends once

and for all even though I doubt it now,

I don’t have enough love in my heart says

Miss Hooker, which is probably true, love

all spread out among everybody, friend

and foe alike, but if she only knew

how much I love her she might get pregnant

without me ever touching her, I’m just

10 to her 25, babes get made

by kissing too long in the dark, that much

everybody knows, and I hope that she’ll

love me, too, one day, and we’ll get married

when I’m old enough, 18 say. to her

almost-too-old-to-live, that’s 33,

and she’ll probably die first and make me

want to join her until she says that I do,

and then I can wait for her in Heaven

but I’m not sure how long a time that is,

I’m not sure there’s any time in Heaven

but Eternity and it probably

is deeper and wider than it is long.

I guess the trick is to love everyone

as fully as I love Miss Hooker and

if I could do that I’d still have plenty

of love left so after class today, with

all my classmates gone (I don’t love them much

either) I told Miss Hooker what was in

my heart, all that love that is, and asked her

to be my wife when I’m old enough and

she’s not too too old or even dead and

she laughed and said, Well, please ask me later,

I think she means when I’m grown but even                                                                   

so, just in case I’m wrong I’ll ask again                                                              

next Sunday and every Sunday after

that until she says I do, I mean I

will. I’ll pray for it. I’m not too stupid.



By Gale Acuff