P.P. & Anna Lee

P.P. & Anna Lee

P.P. & Anna Lee Henderson | The Morganton Years

Anna Lee was the daughter of P.P. Henderson, who was ninety-nine years old when I met him. When P.P. was a boy, he grew up next door to Biltmore House, where he would climb over the fence and play with the Vanderbilt children. Later in life he became a professional boxer. I suppose that P.P. had a career after boxing, but for the life of me I can’t remember what it was. I think that when one’s resume features the Vanderbilt children, professional boxing and all the stories that go with that, whatever else one does for a living fades into obscurity.

Anna Lee sticks in my memory because there was the time that Dwight Benneman and I brought her Communion. At our knock on the front door Anna Lee shouted at us, “Come in.” We opened the screen door and were immediately greeted by a large black and white collie. Then Anna Lee yelled, “Come on back!” We did, and there was Anna Lee in the middle of her bed. “We’re here to bring you Communion, Anna Lee.” “Praise the Lord,” she replied. Then she sat up and invited us to take a seat. Dwight and I looked at each other and then chose the only available seating in the room – on the far corners of her bed down by her feet. After some conversation Dwight put together the Communion elements, and I called us to worship. We read some scripture, and as I headed into the Invitation to the Table, “People will come from east and west…” Anna Lee’s dog jumped up on the bed (or on the Table.)

Again, we both looked at each other and decided to go forward. As it turned out, the dog was a . Presbyterian. He was quite decent and in order, a rather reverent dog. Dwight handed out the elements, but I drew the line at the dog partaking of the bread and cup. Just call me “old school.” Then Anna Lee pulled out a Milk Bone from somewhere, and we all partook. We prayed.

When we returned to Dwight’s Jeep, it took him a full minute to stop laughing. All the way back to the church, Dwight kept saying, “I just can’t believe that happened! I’ve never had Communion on a bed. I’ve never had Communion on a bed with a dog!”

That’s what I remember about Anna Lee; I don’t remember what she did for a living.