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Glynn Washington - "The Native Tongue"


My mother has a huge family. And every year, they have a family reunion, and she's always trying to get me to go. Come on, let's go, let's go, let's go, let's go. I haven't gone since I was a little kid. Finally, she wore me down. All right, let's go.

It was getting our family reunion on, you know, bean-bagging and horseshoes; this is a three-day affair. And my mama said, look, look here. You've got a cousin that lived up in Malaysia. And you lived in Malaysia; I want you to go talk to her right away. She's right over the hill, get over there. All right, how you doing? What's going on, (foreign language spoken)? And she's like, I don't speak none of that nonsense. My mom tells me you lived in Malaysia; did you have a good time over there? Better still, I got a question for you. Have you accepted the Lord, Jesus Christ, as your personal savior?


WASHINGTON: Well, you know what? My religion is kind of complicated. And, you know, I'm just live-and-let-live right now; we're just in the middle of this family reunion. I asked you a question. Have you accepted the Lord, Jesus Christ, as your personal savior? It was real nice meeting you; I'm going to go stand over here now. And she said, (imitating speaking in tongues). What? Excuse me, what did you say? (Imitating speaking in tongues). Hey, hey, hey, hey, hey, are you speaking in tongues at me? I don't appreciate people speaking up in tongues at me. (Imitating speaking in tongues). Please stop speaking in tongues at me. (Imitating speaking in tongues). 'Cause guess what? Guess what? You ain't the only one that can speak in tongues.

I gave right back as good as I got. (Imitating speaking in tongues). And she's getting it. (Imitating speaking in tongues). And you got to understand, speaking in tongues around my family is like hitting the 911 button. People came - it's an emergency. People came quick, running top speed. What is going on? And I am the obvious interloper. So they start speaking in tongues, helping out. And the force is strong with them. The force is strong. So they're pushing me back, right? (Imitating speaking in tongues). I was finally - I know I got to give up and go, so I start running back over the hill. I'm running over there at top speed myself. I'm going - and there, there my mother is, drinking some lemonade. So, son, (laughter) did you meet your cousin?


WASHINGTON: I'd like to give some big love to the beat behind the beat, the guy that composed the music behind every single story that you just heard. His name is Mr. Alex Mandel and the SNAP JUDGMENT players, Tim Frick on the bass and David Brand on the sticks. The Corporation for Public Broadcasting, we love you. We appreciate it. PRX, the Public Radio Exchange. I'd like to thank everyone that has shown SNAP JUDGMENT LIVE! SNAP JUDGMENT love. We have been overwhelmed. Thank you. And we'd like you to know that we're doing our biggest show ever in New York City, May 8. We're going to call it "Evolution," stories you are not going to believe and if you're in the area, or if you can get to the area, we would love to see you there. Tickets available right now at snapjudgment.org. And even though this is not the news, no way is this the news, this is NPR. Storytelling with a beat. SNAP JUDGMENT. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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