By Libra Boyd
Gospel Music Fever
"There's a side of you that many people don't see," I mentioned to Pastor Caesar several weeks ago inside her sprawling office at Raleigh's Mount Calvary Word of Faith Church. "A lot of people don't know that you have a sense of humor." She bursts into laughter.
Since I opened the door, I figured she may as well take us on a tour of what it's like to be Shirley Caesar offstage.
Libra: If you were not a singer, preacher, or pastor, what would you be doing?
Um...(long pause)...raising children.
Libra: How many?
Libra: A boy and a girl?
A boy and a girl.
Libra: Do you have names for them?
I like "Desiree," and I like "Hope."
Libra: What's the best dish you can prepare?
(Laughs heartily) I think my best dish would be spaghetti and meat sauce with all of the—I mean I fix all of that from scratch. I bake it, I fix it any kind of way. And my rice. I can cook rice and the grains are not gummy...yeah...and I can cook other stuff--I just don't. I go out and eat everyday.
Libra: Me too. I don't really cook, but I can make a really good peach cobbler.
Really? I cannot cook a lot of sweets; I can't do that, but you know, some things I watched my Mom do. My sister Anne, Anne was a cook, because Mama taught her! She learned by observation. Not me. I was always running and breaking streetlights and doing something crazy when I was a little girl!
Libra: What's your favorite thing to do in your leisure time?
I have a Galaxy [tablet], and I have a lot of games on there. There's one game on there that's called Tile Takedown. It's a word game, and I love words. In fact, I saw it on the bed on the way to church, and I started to grab it!
Libra: Do you have a favorite cartoon or fictional character?
Favorite cartoon is Tom & Jerry, but I also like uh—what's that "beep beep"?
Libra: Road Runner.
Road Runner! I love Road Runner, because he's always trying to figure out a way to catch the chicken. (chuckles)
Libra: Is there another product or service that you would endorse if given the opportunity? (Pastor Caesar currently has endorsements with AARP and Medicare.)
When I was growing up, we did not have a McDonald's or a Burger King—but I don't eat red meat, and I've also become something of a health nut. I could [endorse] the salads though. I'd also maybe like to talk about cancer or some other cause like that.
Libra: What's the one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
That because I've come from a family that wasn't well-to-do—I didn't even have, uh, hardly a spoon, much less a silver or a gold spoon in my mouth—that today, I give 50% of my earnings to the Lord, monies realized. I try to help needy families. I buy them fans in the summer and try to help them with heat in the winter; not because I'm trying to be different from anybody else, but I know where I've come from.