While reading Part Two of Oral History, one of the most striking passage that stood out to me can be found on page 176, during the scene when Richard is at the church revival with his Autry Lily and he is “seeking’ salvation. Richard admits to only attending the revival in hopes of meeting Dory there. But somewhere along the way, after the Invitational was called, Richard found himself moved by the experience that was happening around him. Richard finds salvation, but he seems to be still lost.
“A blast of cold air swept into the meeting house then and I looked back at the door. She had entered, red-cheeked and breathless: she paused, just there, her eyes seeking mine. I mumbled something or other to Autry Lily and those around me; then without further ado, I rushed straight out of the church!–leaving quite a commotion, needless to say, in my wake. Now everyone knows. By now they will have “told it up and down the holler.” As they say. I don’t care. For once I am living my life rather than watching it pass in review. I said I rushed out of the church.”
Richard seems to be searching for more than Dory or salvation. He appears to be searching for an actual connection. He wants to feel and experience without being aware of what is happening around him. When Dory arrives at the church, Richard knows what has been missing from his life. It wasn’t the salvation of God; it was the salvation of life. He is ready to live life, experience the emotions and the feelings. He is tired of watching his life pass. He is reading to embrace it, feel it, live it.