Throw in some down-home folksy humor with a little Gospel music and you have a recipe for what Statesville resident Renea Henderson calls â€œthe best medicineâ€ â€“ laughter.
The humorist recently performed as Ima Klutz for a standing-room-only house at the monthly Wayneâ€™s Second Friday Feast, held at Captâ€™n Peteâ€™s Restaurant, N.C. 150, Denver.
Henderson performs other characters besides Ima Klutz; thereâ€™s Claudene, Claudia the Clown and Bertie the Bag Lady.
â€œMy characters arenâ€™t based on anyone I know in real life,â€ said Henderson. â€œTheyâ€™re all loosely based on Vicki Lawrenceâ€™s character, Thelma Harper, in the TV show â€˜Mamaâ€™s Family.â€™â€
While Henderson said her favorite character is Bertie, she admitted Ima Klutz holds special meaning: the character reminds her of her husband, minister Johnny Henderson.
â€œA lot of things Ima says comes from stories Johhnyâ€™s told on me,â€ said Henderson.
Her appearance this past Friday marks her fifth program at Wayneâ€™s Feast, a popular monthly gathering of senior citizens.
During her performance, Hendersonâ€™s stories consisted of the misadventures of her husband, Cletus.
â€œMy husband eats so many TV dinners, every time he see tin foil, he gets hungry,â€ said Klutz. â€œHe told me he wasnâ€™t getting me anything for Christmas this year because I didnâ€™t use what he got me last year. I told him he got us burial plots.â€
Ima Klutz also told stories of her forgetful yet ready-to-gossip sister, Mozelle.
â€œMozelle told the preacher she sinned because she gossiped and that she wanted to lay her tongue on the altar. He told her the altar was only 15 feet long,â€ said Klutz. â€œMozelle was driving one day and stopped at a red light. When it turned green, I said â€˜are we goingâ€™ and she said, â€˜whoâ€™s driving?â€™â€
Henderson concluded her program by singing two songs, the last of which presented the heart of the message of Renea Henderson and her ministry: Jesus loves everyone.
Itâ€™s a message she literally spreads all over the world.
â€œIâ€™ve been doing this ministry for the past 24 years,â€ said Henderson. â€œI sang in India where my husband attended a missions conference.â€
She added sheâ€™s traveling to Honduras in the near future and will perform there.
Henderson is a believer in the saying, â€œlaughter is the best medicine,â€ and uses Proverbs 17:22 as a cornerstone for her ministry.
That verse reads, â€œA merry heart doeth good like a medicine.â€
Earl Cloninger and his wife, Dot, were at Wayneâ€™s Feast and enjoyed Hendersonâ€™s performance.
â€œItâ€™s the first time Iâ€™ve seen her,â€ said Earl Cloninger. â€œIt was a really good program.â€
Denise Dean said itâ€™s not the first time sheâ€™s seen Henderson and her characters.
â€œMy family and I saw her at Riverview Baptist about 18 months ago,â€ said Dean. â€œShe was funny as â€˜Cloroxa.â€™ We came to Wayneâ€™s Feast because we knew she was going to be here.â€
Henderson estimates she performed 150 shows in 2005 and said she expects to do as many this year.
â€œThis isnâ€™t something that I started out to do,â€ said Henderson. â€œDoing this ministry wasnâ€™t my intention. The Lordâ€™s taken this and made it what He wanted.â€
Henderson shares family entertainment and Christian ministry through a mixture of comedy, drama, music, childrenâ€™s ministry, and motivational speaking at retreats, conferences and special events. For more information, call Renea Henderson at (336) 873-7995 or visit the Web site: www.youlaughalot.org.
by Jon Mayhew