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One of my happiest childhood memories was the regular visit of our priest, the rector of St. Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church. This church was on the other side of town. Sometimes we didn't get there because of the distance and other reasons, but he regularly came to Brooklyn to see how our family and other parishioners were getting along.
He was a fatherly sort of dependable individual who seemed to sense people's needs and always tired to do something to supply their needs. His help often came in the form of needed clothing; a bag of groceries or a good friendly visit that bolstered up one's spirit just when it was drastically needed.
His transportation was an old-fashioned low-slung buggy that was pulled by a sway-backed horse named Charley. Charley had a very deep curve in his back. I do not know whether it was from age or hard work; but it did not deter him from moving along at his measured trot. An old, unused buggy whip stuck up in the holder by the side of the buggy. All that was needed to keep Charley going was a gentle "click" and a low, " Get up, Charley."
We were always glad to see old Charley come to a halt in front of our home. We knew that we would most likely receive some tidbit to delight our childish hearts. This gift often was a bag of colored gumdrop candy which we sometimes called horse hoof because of its sticky contents. But we loved it and always lookedd forward to our priest's visit with joy.
Sometimes when his visit was over, we received a short ride behind Charley. Several of us would pile in the buggy almost on top of each other and be allowed to ride to the top of the hill, but no further. Then we were put out to walk back home. We didn't mind because to get a ride up the hill behind Charley with Reverend Alston was the important thing.
Love, Rose Leary. Plum Thickets and Field Daisies: A Memoir. Charlotte, NC: Public Library of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County, 1996