Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Year of Our Lord (copy)


Ever read a book and say, “Man, I would love to meet this guy and all his supportive friends!”? The guy I am referring to is Lucas McCarty and some of his friends include the congregation of The Trinity House of Prayer in Moorhead, Miss. I found him by reading Year of Our Lord: Faith, Hope, and Harmony in the Mississippi Delta by T.R. Pearson with photographs by Langdon Clay.

I spent an enjoyable night reading this nonfiction book. Pearson’s talent includes the ability to make the reader part of the community he describes. I kicked pebbles on the deserted downtown streets of Greenville. I ran a fishing line to check the oxygen levels of catfish ponds in the Delta. I sweated through a three hour sermon as the preacher promised to be brief. Most of all, I twitched and jerked with no control over my drool in a voiceless boy’s body.

Lucas McCarty lacked the oxygen he needed to be healthy. It took the doctor too long to retrieve his little body from his mother’s womb. As a result, he has cerebral palsy. It is a mild case. It could be worse.

Lucas can walk on his knees or scoot around in his wheelchair. He can call out in tune with the choir, but he cannot speak. His hands are drawn-in and jerky which makes typing impossible. In order to communicate he carries a box around filled with push button symbols. Although, he is limited in functionality he has a job as a spokesperson for the box called a Pathfinder.

Since birth, Lucas has known and felt his difference by the way people treat him. He believes the black community treats him in a less standoffish way. For example, he watches a white child stand and stare at him while a black child greets him and starts asking questions.

He also feels more comfortable praising God in a black church versus his Episcopal rearing. In Trinity he is at home amongst an accepting family. His best buddy, John Woods, brought him there as a child and now the choir saves him a spot in the loft. After praising the Lord in voice he moves down to the pulpit and sits behind Bishop William B. Knighten. It is here he will hear the bishop exclaim that God never makes a mistake.

Along with having an outstanding author in Pearson and subject in McCarty, readers will enjoy another delight in the photographer. Internationally known, Clay displays Mississippi and its peoples in a light that makes one think moving watercolors. This book makes me proud to be a Mississippian.

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