Don’t Get In My Way   1 comment


From June 1986 to June 1989 my father was pastor of the Berlin (pronounced BER-lin) United Methodist Church, located within the boundaries of small Berlin, Georgia, and the Wesley Chapel United Methodist Church, which was a few miles outside of town and on the border of Colquitt County and Thomas County.  There are many conservative small towns in rural southern Georgia, but Berlin was more than conservative; it was reactionary.  The introduction of cable television into the town in the late 1980s caused quite a stir, with one older man threatening the cable layers at gunpoint and others grumbling about HBO and Cinemax (which they did not have to purchase) but becoming more welcoming when they learned that a country music channel would be one of the offerings.

The most polite term for the small town when I knew it is “provincial.”

The text you see below, O reader, is courtesy of my father, who has granted me permission to publish it here.






This poem was originally intended as a serious reflection. It became a sometimes serious, sometimes light and humorous account of life in a small town which, until recent months lived mostly to itself.  If it were not for the arrival of a new family in the area occasionally, there would be little challenge. Some were unashamedly open about the fact that they wanted life there to remain the same. And that is what this is about; the threat of new people, ideas, and yes, the threat of technology with the arrival of cable television.


This is the view of an outsider-myself, who watched as the residents struggled with, then  accepted the changes, The closing stanza is meant to reflect the truth that their greatest threat lay within themselves.


Don’t Get In My Way


Rev. Jack Taylor

April 17 & 18, 1989


I’ve walked this road many times before; a glance, a casual nod, a partly opened door. I wonder; does this bespeak the carelessness of our day, or does it say “you’re welcome, stranger so long as you don’t get in my way.”


He’s lived in this town for most of his life, this man of some means, his daughter, his wife. He runs his own business, and it consumes his days there on the corner, at the cross of the ways.


He talks, you listen, for he will have his say. You utter your thought, then you wonder if you ought  when you hear, “you were welcome my man, ‘cept you done got in my way.”


“Ask me all you want, listen to what I say, just don’t tell me nothing, ‘cause that just gets in my way,”


She is his daughter, the same as my days, who sits on her stool discussing the ways Mary treats George, or how Bill treats Sue.  She talks, she pries for she has little to do.


Jennie weighs to much, and Flossie’s looking pale. And that Runt-why he belongs in jail.


Essie’s getting old-have you seen the way she’s stooped. And Jessie-she’s never stopped, I saw her last night-and boy, was she looped!!


Do you reckon Jason’s really happy? Why hasn’t Mike been in today? My, Joe’s looking snappy, wonder when Ike’s coming in to pay.


Tracie thinks she’s something, crusin’ by in her new car. Jaime sang at Church last night-and can you believe it-folks treated her like a star!


That guy who moved in-he seems to be O.K. Just hope he doesn’t say much ‘cause then he’s in the way.


Years ago she had her chance to open up her way. She learned enough to let her know there’s more than just today. She’s bored, she’s trapped, wandering in a daze from store to church, to home and back in a state we call malaise.


She’s bright, she’s good and wants to know a better day. But, when one offers her the chance-he’s done gone and gotten in her way.


The cable’s coming! What’s that you say? Chicargo, Allana, CNN, USA! No how, no day, will I have that change my thought, to have it get in my way!


This place is not the way it was; it’s not the same old town. The dish is up, the ditch is dug, the cable’s in the ground!


Cinemax and HBO-I saw it all today. I wonder-Oh!

I wonder, can I get out of my way!


One response to “Don’t Get In My Way

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  1. Pingback: Berlin, Georgia | SUNDRY THOUGHTS

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