Like an awakening Morning Glory, I slowly stretched my sleepy limbs from my toes all the way up to my widening smile. No school today! My empty stomach growled, a seldom-filled cavern.
“Jamie, Lindy, get up! It’s Sunday!” reaching across the mattress to tickle them awake.
We hastily dressed, me reminding them to wear their grubbiest jeans and shirts and worn shoes. Mom and Pop would be sleeping hours yet, but I wanted us to be gone long before that, just in case.
“Shhhh!” I admonished, one of dad’s loud snores turning into a grunt.
We froze as one, waiting for the snoring to continue, a sign that he wasn’t going to get up to use the toilet. Then, breathing a collective sign of relief, we snuck out the noiseless screen door, me having oiled its hinges last night.
“All for one and one for all,” I chanted as we held hands, making my younger siblings giggle as we trudged along the dusty, dirt road.
“A-MAZ-ING GRACE, HOW SWEET THE SOUND,” ringing belfry chimes rang ahead of us half an hour later.
“We’re almost there. You guys know the drill. Jamie, don’t forget to shake everyone’s hand—Lindy, you smile real big and tuck your hand into Miz Martin’s. She thinks you’re cute when you do that. And, remember to let on that these are your best clothes—so’s they feel sorry for you. We’ll catch up with each other after Sunday School,” nudging them toward their classrooms.
“Mornin’, Mr. Steel, ain’t it a wondrous day to praise the Lord,” grinning up at him and hoping I wasn’t overdoing it . . .
The last Sunday of every month, Community Bible Church held a potluck dinner in the side yard after the service. It was hard to concentrate on preacher Adam’s sermon with smells of roasting chicken and savory barbecue ribs floating through the open windows. I wasn’t the only one squirming around as the story of Jesus feeding the 5,000 unfolded. I remembered the tale from before, but still was amazed that everyone of those people had been FILLED and had 12 basketsful left over . . .
“A-men! Now, may God bless you and make His face shine upon you henceforth. Don’t forget our potluck out in the side yard directly. Visitors, we’d like you to go to the head of the line.”
I met up with Jamie and Lindy as we joined the forming lines in front of the straining tables of succulent food. Our saliva glands watered and Lindy’s eyes widened at the display of overflowing bowls of potato salad, baked beans, banana bread, deviled eggs, jello fruit salads, potatoes and gravy, mashed corn, sour dough biscuits, sweet buttered squash and the like. I couldn’t blame Lindy when her jaw dropped.
“My, don’t you kids look nice,” crooned near-sighted Granny Stevens, “come right up here and let me help you fill your plates, young’uns--does my heart good to see children with healthy appetites!”
“Psst! Granny,” hissed Sister Adeline from behind the serving tables, “make sure them kids don’t take too much. You know they only come around here for the food. Next thing you know, they’ll be stuffing their pockets and there won’t be enough for us church regulars.”
I felt my face turn beet red even as Jamie, overhearing, drew his hand back from the plate of muffins quicker than Daisy Mae touching her first greased pig at the county fair.
“Now, don’t you all pay no heed to Miz Adeline, chill ‘ins; we all know she gets her britches tied into knots over nothin’,” Mr. Jock’s eyes twinkling as he put--not one--but TWO muffins on each of our plates.
Miz Adeline’s face turned a sickly swollen purple as she huffed away.
Not long after that day, my conscience got the better of me and I decided me and Jamie and Lindy should start going to church every week, so’s we could become church regulars. Then, Mom & Pop grew suspicious ‘cause we began singin’ church songs around the house and stopped whining’ so much about our chores.
By Thanksgiving, we talked our parents into going with us to Community Bible Church for their annual Harvest Potluck. It was then that I discovered you were supposed to bring along a passing dish of your own.
One thing led to another, and we all got saved at that very church.
Even Sister Adeline joined in the clapping at our baptism service.
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