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Old-time Religion
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According to the news, evangelist Billy Graham and his wife are deciding where they will be buried. I've never heard Billy Graham preach. I couldn't even tell you what his denomination is. The story caught my eye because many years ago he seemed to show up on television more frequently than Bob Hope and my elderly Great Aunt Bea never missed him.

I don't think my aunt watched television except for the broadcasts from Billy Graham's crusades. Or at least she wouldn't turn on the set for anything else. She probably watched Lawrence Welk after she had come to stay with my grandmother, so long as my grandmother had put it on.

My aunt had a terrible fear of new fangled inventions, particularly of electricity. Television sets, even tiny black and white portables like my grandmother's, were full of the dangerous stuff. My aunt had worked as a registered practical nurse and gave herself an insulin injection every day but she drew the line at touching a television set.

Which is why the set was left tuned to whichever station carried Billy Graham, and unplugged. Thus my aunt could simply stick the plug into the wall socket to watch the crusade, then pull the plug out. No need to risk contact with dangerous buttons and dials on an electricity filled box.

My grandmother, although a churchgoer, had no use for Reverend Graham, and she especially disliked the ubiquitous fund raising preachers and self-styled missionaries who filled the mailbox with their pleas for financial assistance. It had got round the religious community that my soft-hearted aunt would send a dollar by return mail to any righteous man with a bulk mailing permit.

The mailings soon multiplied in the manner of loaves and fishes. My grandmother was not insensitive to the plight of starving heathens, but she also knew how much charity my aunt's small social security check could bear. Finally she intercepted the post before my aunt got to it, wrote "Deceased" on the begging missives, and sent them back the way they came.

Whether that was a sin, perhaps Reverend Graham could say.

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