I played blues up until I was about 27 years old. That was 1962. Then I stopped playing the blues and switched to gospel. Well, I was playing both all along, but blues were my main thing; rock and roll, stuff like that. What happened was I had a hemorrhage in 1962; I was bleeding from my nose. I bled for about a week and a half. I wasn't able to work, because of the way I was bleeding from my head. I bled night and day for about a week and a half. I went to medical doctors, nose specialists, and they'd pack it, but still blood was running down on the inside of me, all of it that wasn't coming out of my nose.
I was willing to try anything to stop it, it didn't matter to me, so an old man came to my house after he heard about me. He told me, "I know somebody that can help you." He said, "He's a root doctor." I didn't want to have any dealing with it, but if he could help me, it was OK with me, you know? So I went to the root doctor in Littleton, and he checked me out. I was bleeding so fast. So he told me to let him have my right shoe. It's kind of funny, in a way. He took my right shoe, went into another room, and brought it back.
What were you thinking at this point? Were you confused about what was happening?
What was I thinking? I'll take any help I can get, that's the way I was thinking. Because I was a hard-drinking man too, through the years. I mean, very hard. I had to have my drink to play my music; to get in the spirit of it, you know? But anyway, this guy took my shoe and came back in. He told me, "I want you to wear this shoe for three days and nights. In three days and nights, you're going to be alright." That's what he told me.
So the funny thing about it is at night, I wouldn't pull that shoe off. When I got into bed, I'd pull up a chair beside the bed and let my foot rest on it overnight. I just believed what he said, that it was going to work. But it didn't work. That third day, I went back to him, and I was bleeding so fast it scared him. He said, "You have to go back to your family doctor." I knew then that he couldn't help me. I went back to my family doctor and the nose specialist, neither one of them could do any good.
I had a first cousin that had just started with the Holiness people in the church. The Holy people had prayed for his mother when she was on her deathbed. The prayer that they prayed for her raised her from her deathbed and healed her. Man, I'll tell you- this stuff here- I start telling it and I start feeling it.
So he asked the Holy people to come and pray for me, because I was bad off sick and they felt like they were going to lose me. On a Monday afternoon they came. They drove up in my yard, and I looked out my window and saw them. I didn't want to let them in, because they were Sanctified folks, and I was a Baptist. That's just the way it was. One of mine said, "Don't let them in. Those Sanctified folks are going to come in and worry you to death, and you're already sick." But someone else said, "Don't do that. It wouldn't look right." So I went to the door and asked them in. They came in- three of them- and they started talking with me, and letting me know what their Lord could do for me, and telling me what the Lord had done for them. Then they said, "Do you want us to pray for you?" I said, "You might as well. I've done tried everything else." Those folks gathered around and prayed their prayer and faith. And when they prayed, I was healed just like popping your fingers.
Man. Good God Almighty.
So that was it? You were ready to give up drinking and hard-living?
Everything. Everything. Yes, I was a changed man when they finished that prayer. God healed me through their prayer, changed my mind. I had two half-gallons of bootleg whiskey in my kitchen; I had some beer in there. That's when I was drinking and having fun. So I went to my backside door and took the whiskey and took the top off and just poured it out on the ground. I was done. I was finished with it. I didn't want any more of it. I took the beer and took it out to the fish pond; took it down there- there was a whole lot of it- and threw it out to keep from having that. I felt like if I kept it, I was going to drink it. OK? So I came back to my house and I told my wife what I'd done. The next day, I went back to my job.