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  • Writer's pictureTory Anne Brown

More Neil Diamond - The Song Fit

Ages ago, an end of Summer, going into September, I took time off to drive up to Oregon to see the family. For some reason I felt this trip was needing to connect with my brother, but when I called, he and his family were at a tent church revival weekend down at the river. Neil Diamond's "Brother Love's Traveling Salvation Show" immediately sprang to mind; I knew I HAD to go. Images of Summer, sweltering heat, hot, fan-waving ladies in mid-calf length dresses, men fresh in from the fields, and children everywhere, running up and down the make-shift aisles, permeated my thoughts as I followed hand-written directions to the rural location where this revival was supposed to take place. Most of my imagination was spot-on; there were cars and tents and families everywhere. It was noisy and happy, laughter and greetings abounded. It was one of the best decisions I have ever made. I asked around for my brother but seemed to keep missing him in the melee, so when the lunch bell rang, a woman and her daughter befriended me and took me to the large tent that was set up in the middle of the clearing. Mounds of food was being served at one end; everyone grabbed a plate and when most had their trays and had taken a seat, the preacher began to preach. I don't remember the sermon, but afterwards as we were putting away our dishes, the girls said they were going to go down to the river where anyone who wanted to, was going to be baptized. There was no way I was going to miss that; I had never been baptized! They found me a towel and snapped a picture of me being dunked in the river by the minister. Just as he blessed me and I went under, and they snapped a photo and caught the image of a large fish that swam over my submerged body. Afterwards, the girls and I exchanged addresses and phone numbers and then I got into my car, and drove from Oregon back to Nevada, filled with the Holy Spirit, love, and the song, "Brother Love's Traveling Salvation Show," playing on repeat in my head.

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