Monday, June 09, 2008


Posted by Sarah

This is an excerpt from one of my favorite books, A Girl Named Zippy by Haven Kimmel. This book is hysterical. It is a memoir of her childhood. The entire book is written from the perspective of a 5-year old girl called Zippy (Kimmel). She lives in a small town in Mooreland, Indiana in 1965. I was reading some of the funny parts and wanted to share this section:

I didn't believe in God, had not ever, as far as I could remember, believed in God, and yet I was reluctant to formulate the thought too clearly, not to mention speak it aloud, for fear that poor God would hear it and get His feelings hurt.

I believe that the baby Jesus had gotten born, and that was all lovely. Christmas was my favorite time of the year, in part because of the excellent speech, "Fear not: I bring you good tidings of great joy..." and because of the song "The Little Drummer Boy." Anything that involved such persistent percussion was undoubtedly both religious and true.

After he ceased to be a baby Jesus held little interest for me, until he reached the age where he sat for the portrait that hung above the swinging doors in the vestibule of the Mooreland Friends Church. In the painting, which glowed from a fluorescent light bulb hung beneath it, the Big Jesus looks pensive and honey-eyed. His shoulder-length, light-brown hair is as clean and shiny as corn silk, and he has a beautiful tan. He is not scorched like a farmer, but bronzed like a lifeguard. He is way better looking than either Glen Campbell or Engelbert Humperdinck.

I wanted him to be my boyfriend. My feelings about Jesus didn't alarm me at all, because it appeared that everyone around me was flat-out in love with him, who wouldn't be? He was good with animals, he loved his mother, and he wasn't afraid of blind people. I didn't buy the bit about this terrible death and resurrection for a minute. I knew, beyond any room for doubt, that nothing in this world is both alive and dead. And this was the thing I most wanted to say in church: if you want him to be alive, you've got to stop hanging him on that cross. But it appeared that the cross was what the people of Mooreland valued above all else- more than his life, more than the sweet way he carried lambs on his shoulders in the pictures on the fans furnished by Main & Frame Funeral Homes- the cross, and the way he got sucked up into heaven to be with the Father who killed him. It was such an objectionable story that I decided to skip it. I decided that Jesus was alive, just as people claimed, and that he lived in the trees around my house. He had picked me out personally, and was following me around, watching my every move. Sometimes I lay out in the backyard with my blue tape recorder, just holding the microphone up to the sky. I figured if Jesus was ever going to break his silence, it would be on a warm, breezy day in Mooreland, with his best girl waiting patiently in the grass. The tapes I made were very peculiar and very boring. The only voice I heard is that of my dad, telling me he's waiting inside with the Campho-Phenique and the Chig-a-Rid. No one ever tried to discourage me; it is written in our very bones, as a people, that true religion requires sacrifice.

Check out this book!!!


jmgw said...

I forgot you had told me about that book. Sounds great!!~Misty