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From the American Scene: In Promised Dixieland

- Abstract

Except for being mildly affronted by its logical perversity, we accepted Saturday morning attendance at what was called “Sunday school,” like everything else, as part of the inscrutable pattern of our days. Absenteeism was sensibly scorned. This hour and a half was the rigorous core around which our day of abandon was formed—the preface to an afternoon in one of Roanoke’s (Virginia) fumigant-scented movie houses. After Rabbi Rivkin, Ramon Navarro.

It was a Saturday custom to gather on the street early, before adult stirrings. The Bluemont Cemetery was its quietest, stretching, green or brown, into the lumping Allegheny foothills. Occasionally there were unfrenzied excursions into marbles or one-a-cat, but for the most part we lay on our backs in damp-grass seminar and watched the waning of a bleached moon. The mountains were purple-clear and close, shouldering the city in an intimate ring. This was an hour of bemusement, recess from urgency. The Bully (Paul) knuckled the smaller boys, but without conviction. The Buffoon blew expert spit-bubbles—reflectively. The Baby (Jerry) giggled quietly into the grass. All of us, six or eight, chatted languidly, softly, waiting for breakfast time to mark the beginning of Saturday’s activity.



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