I was nine years old in 1952. Our Baptist Church was only a couple of blocks from our house—not that child safety was a concern in 1952—and I frequently walked back and forth. Nine-year-olds sometimes, perhaps more often than not, say the wrong thing at the wrong time to the wrong people.
At nine years old, I said the wrong thing. I remember exactly what happened. It was Wednesday evening and in addition to the bi-weekly service, our church was having a banquet to celebrate the recent spike in attendance by people who had joined our church family. Part of the banquet consisted of an election to choose a king and queen for the Sunday school classes of each age group. For whatever reason, I was elected king—which is where all the trouble began.