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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: At the Pulpit (11/15/07)

TITLE: Anticipating a Legacy
By Debbie Wistrom


Growing up I loved Saturday mornings. After eating a bowl of Cheerios and watching Bugs Bunny, and as I waited for my mother to get ready gathering her cleaning supplies, I rummaged around my room to handpick two armloads of toys. Mom led the way, shouldering the mop and broom while pulling the wagon full of cleansers and my menagerie of stuffed animals. I followed with a bucket filled with feather duster, dustpan and clean rags. For as long as I can remember, each week, rain or shine, our little parade marched down the block and around the corner to our little white church.

After Mom let us in and we unloaded the wagon, my job was to go back outside to pick up any trash from the yard and curb. Pulling the wagon behind me, I would scan the hedges and gutters to make sure the yard was free of bottles, cans and other trash so any visitors to our church the next day would see only the expanse of green grass and not the litter from Friday night festivities.

After yard duty, I corralled the wagon for the short trip home and headed for the sanctuary. Did I say I loved Saturday mornings? Always able to entertain myself I stole away to the sanctuary. The stillness was interrupted only by bits of songs from the basement that mom sang as she swept and mopped the floors of the community room, kitchen and bathrooms. Sunny days were the best because the light that poured through the stained glass windows into the small room was spectacular. The multicolored glass picture of the lion and the lamb has always been my favorite, and as a child, they were part of my congregation. I lined up the collection furry creatures in the front pew on the gospel side of the sanctuary. I always made sure they were sitting up straight because I did not want them to fall asleep and get in trouble during services as my uncle sometimes did.

On the dais, in the recess of the pulpit was a small wooden box. Not sure why it was there, as a child I never questioned it, though I had never seen Pastor step up on it. With a vibrant Jesus behind me, I would stand the box on end, climb up, knit my brow and deliver a booming “good morning.” That was how my sermons always started. I loved the quiet, I could pretend that my make believe congregation would tell me good morning, and in my mind I would hear the songs of tomorrow fill the welcomed emptiness.

On occasion Mom must have rolled laughing on the floor she was cleaning, as my speeches would often mimic those of our lively preacher. Because coming back to church the following day was important, I had heard many of his blusterous sermons and had become quite adept at mimicking his effusive manner and exuberant hand gestures.

My favorite topics were sheep and water. At eleven, Noah’s story was intriguing and I liked to tell my stuffed friends how God had Noah save them from the flood. I also loved the parables, especially the story of the one lost sheep. Becoming quite melodramatic, I would fall to my knees weeping for the little lost lamb. With a scene change, I would hold one of the stuffed animals around my neck praising God for the return of the missing creature.

When mom was finished and the wagon was loaded up, we would take the long way home. If we had worked very hard and had gotten all sweaty, we would stop at the A & W for a hot dog and a root beer. If it had been an easy morning, we would just split a root beer float. Did I say that I also loved Saturday afternoons?

Thirty years later, mom still cleans the basement, only now another tow-headed child helps her. My Saturday mornings are still filled with Cheerios, but no more cartoons, because Bugs Bunny has been replaced with reprehensible Japanese animation. Now I sit in the office of that same church, listening to my mother singing as she works, and I chuckle at my son who one day found my wooden box and now uses it as I had. I wonder with tears rolling down my cheeks, if my son will follow the path that lead me back to the pulpit. Did I say that I love Saturday mornings?

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This article has been read 722 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Patricia Todd11/23/07
Nice piece of writing.
Christine Rhee11/23/07
I love the "Did I say I loved....refrain" :)
Joanne Sher 11/24/07
Your descriptions are lovely and meaningful and poignant. This is wonderful.
Laury Hubrich 11/26/07
Very nice. I like how you followed the MC into adulthood and the son is now helping grandma. Great descriptions. Very engaging!
Jan Ackerson 11/28/07
I really enjoy your conversational tone and your pleasant writing style.
LaNaye Perkins11/28/07
Your story touched my heart and I also loved how you repeated "Did I say that I love...?" Well done!