I miss our escapades at church

To my utter shame, I have not been to church for some time.

To my utter shame, I have not been to church for some time.

And because I was brought up in church - Sunday school, youth club, altar boy, church choir and so on - I suspect my subconscious pines for what I was raised to believe is right, while my reality doles out a different fate. So lately I have begun to dream about being back in church and with my altar boy mates Seuntjie Motsa and Dontsa Huma at St Luke's Anglican Church in Evaton where we made the lives of priests a living hell. Looking back, they must have thought we were the reason why priests were necessary.

We "sampled" communion wine every Saturday when we should have been practising. We topped it up with water and once had to add black tea to get the colour right. One of the priests must have discovered something was not right, but because no one had any proof, we were not confronted. Instead, the wine was stored elsewhere and brought to church before the service on Sunday mornings.

The highlight of our "service" was accompanying the priest to churches in farm areas after church once every month. Farm folks thought the world of priests, whom they treated like gods. We servers were regarded as demi-gods, which was good enough.

They slaughtered chickens, brewed ginger beer, baked cakes and donned their best clothes. It was like Christmas.

Except for one very old priest, now long deceased - whom I shall not name lest I embarrass his family - who ruined "Christmas" for Jagersfontein farm folks and servers alike during one visit.

There was not much to eat and drink after the service that day for as we were accustomed to. Two full chickens were put in front of the reverend for him to have his fill. Ostensibly servers and other guests at the lunch would have the remnants.

The old man - he must have been 100-years-old - stuffed his toothless mouth full of the smoky, crispy chicken and potatoes while we pretended not to take any notice.

It was sacrilegious to dip your hand in the "holy" man's dish. So we waited impatiently as the old man belched hungrily as he partook of the bird.

After a while he dozed off and started snoring, right there at the table - his mouth open and full of half-chewed food. Seuntjie suggested we should take the (remaining) chicken and run.

We were still debating our options when the old man woke with a start, looked around and bellowed drousily: "Mpheng pampiri" (Give me a wrapper). Someone did.

His signalled for the remaining food to be wrapped up for him to take away.

We were hurt badly, and so were the farm church elders who had also waited in vain for the man of God to leave something for the hoi polloi.

So, while others dream of making millions and overseas lavish holidays, my dreams revolve around such mickey mouse reminiscence.

But I love it.