“He ran completely away from there,” said Sewell. “He thought he had been snakebit.”
Sewell really enjoyed a joke he and his close friend, James Slaughter, played on this reporter.
Years ago, every autumn, it was customary to do a newspaper story about making molasses. The late Mr. Slaughter, owner of Cumberland Studio and a photographer for this newspaper, usually went to a molasses mill with this reporter. This one year he couldn’t go. He and Sewell were summoned to serve on the grand jury. Sewell was named foreman.
This reporter had to do the molasses story by himself; take his own pictures. On leaving the molasses mill, the operator gave him two small jars of freshly made sorghum. She didn’t mention Slaughter’s name and the molasses didn’t last long with a few hot, buttered biscuits at the reporter’s table.
A day or so later, the reporter’s telephone rang. It was the sheriff’s office informing the reporter that he was to report to the grand jury. He didn’t think much about it because it wasn’t all that unusual for a reporter to be questioned about a story involving crime.
Into the grand jury room the reporter walked, after about an hour’s wait. Sewell, in monotone, read a document indicating the reporter was indicted for “stealing” Jim Slaughter’s molasses. There were two jars of molasses; one for the reporter, the other for Slaughter, the indictment charged.
Then, they broke up. They rolled in the floor and laughed. Other members of the grand jury choked with mirth. There was little an astonished reporter could do but laugh.
Sewell said the funniest thing that ever happened to him in the pulpit was during a revival in the Cincinnati area.
“I kept hearing this strange noise. It was an awful sound. It would almost make the hair stand on the back of your neck,” Sewell recalls. “I asked somebody what in tarnation it was and they pointed out the Cincinnati Zoo was just a short distance away.”