It’s Mother’s Day. We are in the car. I have a bouquet in my lap. My wife is driving. I’m listening to Johnny Cash sing “A Boy Named Sue” in honor of the occasion.
I have a long history with this song on Mother’s Day. For one thing, my mother’s name is Sue. She loves any song with the name “Sue” in it, such as: “Peggy Sue,” or “Wake Up Little Susie,” or “Runaround Sue.”
She does not, however, care for “A Boy Named Sue” because it has two cuss words in it.
I sing this song at a lot of my shows because I like Johnny Cash. But I never sing the cuss words. When I get to the part with the swearing, I always change it to something like: “Son of a Baptist.” Which makes the song very mom-friendly.
I sang this song for a bunch of Methodist ministers at a retreat once. My substitute swear word got a standing ovation. Since it went so well, I decided to try singing
it at a Baptist church. Someone slashed my tires and set fire to my car in the church parking lot.
But anyway, it’s a sleepy Sunday. There isn’t much traffic on the roads. There is a quarantine on and people aren’t going to church this Mother’s Day. Which feels very weird.
For every Sunday of my life there have always been clusters of cars parked at Baptist and Methodist buildings. And on Saturday nights, when the Catholics used to get together to do whatever the heck Catholics did on Saturday nights, there were cars parked there, too.
One time, when I was a kid, several of us boys eavesdropped on a Catholic mass, peeking through the windows to see what went on in there. The priest filled the chapel with a strange fragrant smoke and people were closing their eyes and singing a song.
My cousin Ed…