The “early service” on Sundays, feels different, for me. It seems a bit more holy. I am not sure why. The same choir, sings the same songs. The sun is just as generous as it was on any given Tuesday and rain too falls when it will. .still there is “Something About A Sunday”.
Maybe, growing up in the “Bible Belt” has something to do with this notion of mine. I did have perfect attendance in the Sunday School, the first ten years of my life. I think the chicken pox ruined that for me. On Sundays, we got still and said “thank you” . . and it just seemed right, to do so.
What a big production, Sundays were. I slept in curlers, for no apparent reason, as my hair was”straight as a stick” by ten am. Delores had perfect curls all day long. No amount of prayer, ensured curls in my hair. We dressed in our best attire, which meant lace and patent leathers. There was some rule that you wore black patent leathers after Labor day til Easter, when you switched to white. It mattered little if you had a growth spurt during a season, we each got one pair a season. The shoes were especially pretty and would shine, but you had to be careful not to scuff them. Even the under garments were fancy. Everything had lace-that itched awfully bad. It is no wonder, we were able to sit still for the longest hour of the week-the sermon.
Even with tight shoes and scratchy dresses, I loved Sunday School. We sang sweet little songs and memorized Bible verses. We were told a Bible story and then colored a picture about it. I loved the teachers, and thought the sweetest women in the church got selected to teach. I just taught Lyla a song that I remember learning in the three year old class, from “Miss Jo”. By the time, you were in the four and five year olds, “Miss Linda” was the teacher and I learned “This Little Light of Mine”. We memorized the books of the Bible and the “Ten Commandments”. Later, there was “Miss Tillie”and “Miss Faye”. All beloved, to this day. I am not sorry for one minute of Sunday School, for many times now, in hours of need, one of those verses or songs, will spring in my head at just the right moment.
Sundays were observed fully, in my childhood. You best not lose a button on Sunday-if you did you had to put it up in a safe place til Monday. No one would have sewn on a Sunday. Likewise, the washing machine sat silently, as did the fields. it was considered sinful, to farm on Sundays. I do remember, once, my older cousin Harvey did not get dressed for Church, for he had decided to plow. My Aunt Agnes was horribly shocked and threatened him the God would surely withhold rain because of it. Harvey told Aunt Agnes she needed to read her Bible. He said “the rainfalls on the just and the unjust.” I did not laugh then as I was expecting lightening to strike Harvey-what with plowing on Sunday and sassing too. . .now I laugh at this memory, whole heartedly. That was a quiet drive to Church that day.
I do not know why cooking was allowed on Sunday, but I m glad it was. All stores and restaurants were closed., maybe that is why. Grandmama took to staying home from Church, just to cook Sunday dinner for the rest of us. I bet it was the only way she could get a moment of peace. We none dared criticize her as she made things like chicken & pastry, and banana pudding.
In warm seasons, Pop made homemade ice cream. Aunt Christine and Uncle Gene would come. My cousins and I would make quite a ruckus til it was ready. We were accused of “disturbing the peace” often and “God help you” if you ran through where the adults were sitting. If a ball found its’ way there, the bravest one would sneak in “like a thief in the night” to retrieve it. We were also expected to settle our own disputes. Tattling was frowned upon, unless it involved someone being hurt-or property damage. Occasionally, there was property damage.
Those memories are old now, but their impression has served me as a “favor” , all of my life. I knew my people . . . and they knew me. That alone has meant the world, in life. I think of those days, now as the ham is cooked and the potato salad is chilling. Ham tastes better on Sundays . . . and so does cornbread. There is just “Something About A Sunday”.