I would sit with this row of boys every Sunday morning, rain or shine. I'm the helmet in the v-neck green sweater with the Scofield in my lap. We would lean our chairs back and old Mr. Neal would cover the high school lesson, every Sunday, rain or shine.
Picture, if you will, Mr. Neal sitting before us at a small desk. To his right was a huge window; notice where almost all of us are looking? What Mr. Neal didn't know, and as far as I know never found out, was the peep show we good Baptist boys were treated to every Lord's day.
Through the huge window to Mr. Neal's right we could see the adjacent building with a carbon copy huge window just like ours. Whereas our window was windex clear, this other window, right in our line of leaned-back sight, was slightly frosted. You're wondering why aren't you? Well, you see, it gave light not to a row of folding chair Sunday School boys, but to a one-staller Ladies room.
It's hard to remember just when this revelation came upon us. We were probably listening to Mr. Neal droll on about lukewarmness or something when one of us, could have been me even, looked over and saw a curved silhouette bend forward and wrench down her skirt, do it once more due to a girdle or lord knows what else a boy's mind could conjure, and then slowly, regally squat down as the cold ivory yoke piece embraced her warm backside. I realize that's quite descriptive, but as I've noted, this happened every Sunday, rain or shine.
On about the third Sunday, at the beginning of class, one of our Boy's Row stood and told Mr. Neal I'll be right back. This boy didn't give a flying fig what Mr. Neal or Jesus thought; he did whatever he pleased. We secretly loved him for that. Before he walked out, his grinned whisper was I'm gonna find out whose ass that is. We didn't see the rebel for the rest of class, but he was waiting for us when we filed out, with a grin that showed every last pearly white he owned. He had waited the entire time and one, and only one, lady had visited that little room. One of our disciples pulled a Thomas, so boy-don't-give-a-fig gladly agreed to scout it out again the following Sunday. He did; one and only one visitor. And just like that, the lady in shadow now had a name.
There would have been the usual boy wonder at such a spectacle regardless of who it was. We were each good little Baptist boys trying to figure out how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour (see I Thess. 4.14 - I kid you not). But the stakes were raised on this one because the lady in outline was easily the most prim, proper, and dressed to the nines female in our local representation of the body of Christ. She was striking in her looks, but they were looks that purred don't touch. I stood by her once during worship as she sang the mournful invitation hymn Have Thine Own Way. I know I should have been examining my own heart, as each man ought, but all I could think of was me and mrs. mystery frolicking in the garden of Eden, unclothed, without shame. I'm certain I rededicated my life that day, but to what, I cannot say.
For that brief season of Sundays, our class had perfect attendance; I seem to recall we even gained a few newcomers. Mr. Neal felt honored; maybe a man his age still had something to offer the younger generation. Maybe it was o.k. he felt that way. Maybe. And maybe it was o.k. those windows were placed just so; they were panes of exposure revealing the tensions of flesh that had and would follow us all the days of our lives. So for a season, we enjoyed it, rain or shine. We faithfully brought our Bibles and always placed them in our laps (see photo); fig leaves of sorts to cover what eye hath seen.