I wrote one recent Saturday about Gerald Baugh, 70, who has been a member at Hayes Barton United Methodist Church for more than 50 years. For decades, Gerald has been a member of the Starnes Sunday School Class for adults with developmental disabilities.
By coincidence, the following Sunday my wife was scheduled to play piano in the Starnes Class for Gerald and about six to eight other regular members of that class, who sang along. We sang Gerald's favorite, "Church in the Wildwood." We also belted out "He's Got the Whole World in His Hands," "Jesus Loves Me" and "The Lord Bless and Keep You."
When I say we belted out the songs, I mean it. That was some singing. A tone-deaf singer like me fit right in. What we lacked in quality we made up for in volume.
Before class, Gerald attended the 8:45 am service, as he always does, sitting front and center. Before church, he was surrounded by well wishers who had seen my column with Gerald's photograph. Gerald reminded Rev. LuAnn Charlton before the service to mention his appearance in The N&O. When Charlton completed her sermon without mentioning the column, Gerald reminded her again -- during the service, as only Gerald could do.
Charlton told Gerald (and the seated congregation) that she had not forgotten him. Indeed, a few minutes later, Gerald's photo popped up on the multimedia screen behind Charlton as she talked about the column and Gerald. When she finished, there was loud clapping for Gerald. As the applause washed over him, with a huge grin on his face, Gerald stood up and bowed.