'God has given me a brand new audience': Shirley Caesar's Hold My Mule meme feeds Texas light show

Shirley Caesar's music is beloved by many, and she considers it a cornerstone of her ministry. So when a portion of her "Hold My Mule" performance went viral back in 2016, she was happy to reach millennials with her message of faith.

While her mention in the song of "beans, greens, potatoes, tomatoes" and more menu items for Thanksgiving sparked a popular meme, she told us at the time "I didn't understand it. And still don't understand it. I have not been able to wrap my mind about what's going on. It is so huge!"

Now it's about to really blow up, thanks to a creative IT expert's light show in Texas. On the day we shared it with her at her home she said, "God has given me a brand new audience from this 'beans and greens.' So I have little children, just twirling and shaking and stuff!"

She was aware that hundreds of versions featuring a remix of her words are posted on Instagram, including "What's the guy's name? Snoop Dogg! He did something. Some of the others did it. Thank you, thank you, thank you!"

Then, she watched the Christmas light show created by Frankie Toong that decorates his Houston home and includes not just the sound but the actual words, spelled out for passersby to enjoy. She was not aware of that one before we showed her, and giggled as she checked it out on an iPhone.

"Wow! That's phenomenal! I think it's awesome," she said, laughing.

Toong, reached in Houston via Zoom, didn't know she had seen his creativity "And the hilarious comments that come from it like, 'Oh, that's just what I'm bringing to your house!' And 'I need those lights, but I also need those sides!' So it's been a real hit."

Now, after watching her reaction to his work on Instagram where he's posting as @htown_frankie, he said, "Just seeing her bob her head to her own music and my Christmas lights and enjoying the video, that's exactly the response I'm looking to get. That's outstanding! I hope she can utilize that in any capacity that she wishes, and if she has any requests, I'd be willing to take whatever else she'd like me to do. Maybe I can help her out, to spread some more cheer!"

Linked online this year without ever meeting face to face, they both appreciate how the virtual merging of their talents helps to make this year's Christmas season brighter.

"When it became viral, I said, wow. I didn't know what was going on," she said. "But God! That's about it, really!"

Shirley Caesar's services stream Sundays on YouTube and Facebook, with more information available at www.mtcalvarywordoffaith.org.
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