Sunday, Sunday

What is a Sunday? Is it any different from a Monday or Wednesday or Saturday?
What were your Sundays like when you were little and what are they like now?
Growing up in Norwood, Sundays meant trying to find clean socks and a clean dress and climbing in the car with my family to go across Norwood to the Norwood Presbyterian church.
Before I became too cool for school, I enjoyed going to church. Well, not actually church, but Sunday School.
There was a picture of Jesus on the wall. The real picture of Jesus, just like the Macy’s Santa Claus is the real Santa.Scan 83
He was very kind looking. He had long hair with a bit of a wave in it. He wore a long gown and sandals. He would have fit in nicely in the ’60s, although I doubt we would have seen him at Woodstock.
I always liked a refreshment. That’s what they used to call them … refreshment. It was usually Kool-aid and a cookie.
It was really hard to sit through church, which was after Sunday School. My salvation was the Butter Rum Lifesavers my dad kept in his pocket and diseased when sorry looking big eyes looked up at him.
As time went on, my skirts got shorter, anklets gave way to hose. Oh, good Lord, (I can say that since we are talking about church), those were a pain in my sciatica. Two sisters and I looking for hose without a run. All of us wanted to sleep-in. By the time we got in the car, my mom was giving us all the stink-eye and thinking we had all gone to the devil.
When I got in high school, my sisters were gone, off to their own worlds, one to Ohio University and the other, after graduation from Indian University, off to San Francisco.
Mom and dad decided to teach my Sunday School class. Egads.
They were good teachers. They engaged kids and made it fun, but I didn’t really want any part of it. I would have preferred to have someone else’s parents. I had to mind my p’s and q’s more with my parents.
They had Bible drills, which I did like. Until I was a parent, I didn’t really get what they were doing, or how good they were at doing it.
For all of the ups and downs of my childhood, the tangled relationship between my mother and I, my parents were very good, helping and generous people. They impacted a lot of people’s lives. Scan 30
After my dad retired and figured out his life a bit more, he would take the stunning roses that he grew, and deliver them to shut-ins. My parents cooked lots of meals and hosted Bible studies and church groups. As much as they battled their own demons, they doubled their energies to serve their Lord.
In high school, in part, because I wanted my parents to think I was a good person, despite wearing short skirts, I joined the choir. I mostly wanted to walk down the main aisle in my church robe so that my parents could see. I couldn’t sing with a hoot-owl and my voice was a bit alto, soprano and screech.
There were two good singers. Bige Hammons, a baritone and another woman with long black hair. Big sang at our wedding.
One day, I asked my dad, “Is your mouth supposed to tremble when you sing?”
I asked him that because over time, the woman with the dark hair’s mouth really trembled, “ohohohohoo” and I thought I should make mine do that.
Dad told me that the woman had multiple sclerosis, and no, your mouth shouldn’t tremble.
Choir was short-lived, as many things were when I tried them on for size. I later learned that when you were doing something to please others, and not for yourself, chances were, it wouldn’t last.
So, I returned to the balcony, where I wrote silly notes on the “visitor’s registration” cards. Played tick-tack-toe, against myself. They way, one of me was sure to win. I didn’t worry about the loser. Scan 34
There were a few times when mom would be sick and dad and I would get dressed for church and leave, but instead of going the NPC, we would go for a ride out in the country, get an ice cream cone at UDF or hamburgers at White Castle. Mum was the word.
There were no soccer games or practices on Sundays. Most stores were closed. There would often be a pot roast cooking.  When my parents bought a run-down, wore-out house on Duck Creek, on Sunday afternoons, we’d go down and help my dad scrape paint. It stank like 40 cats had lived there. The woodwork was probably lead-paint black.
Our pay was dinner at Duck Creek Frisch’s. The Big Boys were BIG, and a platter was divine. I’d get an extra cole slaw.
On Sunday afternoons, dad took me to Swifton, so that I could practice driving in the big, empty parking lot. I’d have great fun circling the light poles, my version of wheelies.
By the time I was in my last couple of years of high school, my mom didn’t feel well. Depression had set in. They tried to say it was because she was going through,” the change,” but it was much deeper than that. That and my dad’s increased drinking, made Sundays a bit darker. There was a sadness in our house. One that wasn’t spoken about. I was told not to mention such things to anyone, not even my sisters.
So I didn’t. I kept it inside. I didn’t tell friends or Jesus. I had no idea that Jesus could help with such things. I really am not sure what I thought about Him at that time.
Sundays change when I went off to college. It was a great day for sleeping in. Sometimes, I would go to the Catholic church because they had a Sunday evening service. It wasn’t “real” church to me, although I thought some of the ritual was interesting.
To talk about anymore than this and my journey through religion, belief and not disbelief, but avoidance, would turn into a novel. The Reader’s Digest version is that my faith and beliefs have changed, just as Sundays have. Belief and church and Sundays are not necessarily synonymous. I still love the concept that Sunday is a day of rest and is for spending time with your faith and family and friends. I disdain youth sports taking over this important day. I understand that because the world operates 7-days a week, that stores do too, but I liked it when there was a day of relative quiet, peace … a break in time and thought.
Our Sundays are quiet here in clover, except for the lawnmowers revving and whirring.
There is no pot roast cooking today. It is too hot. We will have sandwiches. I will read my devotionals, as I do most everyday. They pull me in to Jesus, who is my guide, church or no church.

4 Comments Add yours

  1. Teresa Donley says:

    Beautiful. Just beautiful.
    And those photos are priceless!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Susan DeBow says:

      Thank you, Teresa. I appreciate that.


  2. Jill Hanrahan says:

    Your writing takes me back in time. My family and I also attended Norword Presbyterian Church regularly. I went to Sunday School and was also in the choir even though I couldn’t sing. My favorite times were the Christmas Eve candlelight services. I got to hold my own candle, take a new, small present to play with during part of the service (yes I always got bored and had a hard time sitting still) and listen to Bige sing ‘Oh Holy Night’, he was the best I’ve ever heard. In highschool I use to help that lady with the long black hair get ready in a side room to wheel into the choir loft. She was nice and very determined to keep doing what she loved, singing. Lots of nice memories in that church community, I really liked Rev. Roy Converse. We were married in that church, ithe sanctuary was and still is a beauty. Thanks for taking me back to those Sunday’s, nice memories even though I as well would have rather slept in at the time. 😇

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Susan DeBow says:

      Hi Jill,
      Thank you for writing. I loved Rev. Converse. He was my favorite, too. I also remember Bige singing on Christmas Eve … and the candles. It was so cool when I was old enough to hold one. I was also thrilled when I went through conversion and got to take communion. I thought it would stave off starvation. In many ways, it did. That is a lovely memory of you combing Mary Elisabeth’s hair. A friend just told me her name. Mary Elisabeth Parrchman.
      And, Nick and I were married at the NPC in 1972 … Rev. Bay


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