Mr. Gray

In the late 1980s and early 90s when I attended College Park United Brethren Church in Huntington, Indiana, I admired the role of the ushers dressed in pinstripe sky blue suits who carried large wooden platters with brass rims and royal purple felted bottoms to collect the offering from the large congregation by walking down the aisles of the first floor, then up to a small balcony, and last out to a seating area that was divided at a perpendicular angle from the main sanctuary by a green accordion paper wall while Sunday school classes were held. Each seating area had two fixed columns of smooth wooden pews covered by dark purple cushions. The ushers would all meet together at the front for prayer before walking down the aisles. I wanted to be a part of that and was welcomed.

One of the ushers, Mr. Gray, was a slender elderly man who lived in a shingled house catty-corner to the church on Opal Street. His basement was open to the youth groups each summer and had multiple table games setup with a small top-lid freezer filled with freeze pops fixed against the wall. He was a sweet Christian man who loved Jesus Christ, committed scriptures to memory, and spoke to us about his relationship with the Lord.

On one occasion he took my dad, brother, and me to a golf resort near the Huntington Lake Dam on the Wabash River. My brother was interested in golfing and had spotted a tan cart bag of clubs in his garage. Mr. Gray taught him how to hold the clubs and hit the used golf balls.

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