Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Heading to Las Vegas

Old Time Religion by Ernest Watson
https://www.blackartdepot.com/products/old-time-religion-by-ernest-wats

I will be kind…I will smile…were Brenda’s thoughts, as she sat in the family pew, hands folded in her lap, back straight, and eyes focused on Pastor Ben.  No one will know my thoughts.  No one will suspect what I am thinking.

On her left side, her father was ‘amening’ almost in a rhythm, and Brenda had to force her feet from tapping 1…2…3 and hold…1…2…  Her grandmother was waving her hankie in a show of agreement.

Show?  Brenda pondered that word, looking around at other old ladies with their gray hair and dressy hats.  They too were waving their hankies, and some even dabbed at their eyes.

All the other young people were sitting in the back, passing notes, and giggling.  Their heads were bowed, but Brenda knew what they were doing. She was not allowed to sit there, per Grandma's suggestion. The young families were in the middle of the church, with their children.  Brenda could smell the Cheerios and Fruit Loops.

Her mother sat, quietly folding and unfolding the church bulletin.  Fold...2...3..  Mom's hands were red and worn; she had to prepare another dinner for the pastor and family, as well as her seven children. Every Sunday, it was dinner for someone. 

Her mother smiled at her, and briefly made eye contact. Mom never looks anyone in the eye.

That was when Brenda knew.  Her mother wanted to blast out of this church just as badly as Brenda. To escape.

What’ll we do?  Mom, what will we do? 

Her mother wrote a note to her father, which read about checking on the roast and get dinner ready for the pastor, and Brenda had to help.   Her father nodded, not breaking rhythm one bit.

They tore out of the parking lot.  As they drove past their house, Brenda turned to her mother.  Mom?  Mom?

Her mother smiled, lit up a cigarette, and sped up.  “We’re goin’ to Vegas, girl. I am done fixing dinners every single Sunday for each and every preacher passin' through town.”  Then they headed to the West, the whole 1,000 mile trip. 

Luggage in the back and radio cranked high with Janis Joplin, Brenda and Mom felt happy for the first Sunday in a long long time.

Dad would be at church for another two hours. Praise God.

I wrote this in 2013. This is pretty much the way Mom and I spent every single Sunday. With no help with cooking or cleaning up, she and I would gladly have done this. The memories repeated Sunday after Sunday are fresh, even 50 years later.


35 comments:

  1. Now, that would have been a trip. I wonder if they ever returned...

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    1. I think they would return, and the Dad would be grateful.

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  2. Did your mom ever get to go to Vegas or at least get a Sunday off?

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  3. Unsung and overworked heroes.
    I am sure that many of them long for just such an escape.

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    1. Escape isn't normal for that place and time.

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  4. It would be so nice if your mother could have done this.

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    1. It would have been something for sure.

      Mom was an awesome cook, loved sharing whatever there was. Her pies were legendary. Still, when we stood at the kitchen sink until 3 washing up and were getting ready for supper, she did feel that.

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  5. As a preacher's kid my mama cooked for many others. I am sure my mama would not have fit in this category, but her baby boy would have. LOL I have seen this in homes (they were few and far between) but I have definitely seen this. It rally hurts. I have friends who despised their dad until his death. I think I can understand the feelings.
    sort of a sad sweet story. (the breakaway)
    Sherry & jack

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  6. Being a Preacher's kid, in the rural areas, I am sure you sat at another mom's table and ate some good pie. Sadly, I also have friends who felt that way about their dad.

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    1. Yes I did, but we had more visitors than we visited. I do understand the feelings. Love ya!

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    2. I also meant to say I am very familiar with that picture in real life, and the 'Old Time Religion'.

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    3. Every August, other churches of our denominations attended "Camp Meetings" for a week. They also resembled "Old Time Religion". It was grueling. I went every single night, but my joy was mingling with other teens, hoping to see some guys.

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    4. I know, with me it was to see some gals. Sherry is laughing, that was us wasn't it.

      Love you lady, I'm outa here.

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  7. I really enjoy how you write and pulling from your own life is just kind of perfect for this! Oh, and I almost forgot -- thanks for coming by today!

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  8. This is something I struggle to understand, each Sunday the pastor takes dinner with a different family who has to take their turn to provide for him. I don't see why. I'm sure all religions don't do this. I just do not see why. You can tell I'm not a churchgoer.

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    1. Not every family did this. My parents had generous hearts (for the most part) and welcomed them. I remember the preacher and wife sitting at the table while all the kids ran around outside.

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    1. It would be. I hope Brenda and the Mom had a grand time. Mom always had a stash of cash.

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  10. I also am with River. I can't understand this custom, either. Maybe it was a sign of the times at the time, but it sure didn't help the wife of any preacher at that time. Still, it's an interesting story, Susan.

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    1. No, the farm wives provided as much as they could. Preacher's wives had more struggles.

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  11. Well, I didn't see THAT coming. Like Thelma and Louise … only with a happier ending. :)

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  12. I was a Baptist preacher's kid! I can relate I can relate I can relate

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  13. After Sunday dinner my father often loaded our convertible with all of us and every kid in town who could get away from their families. We would take a leisurely ride in the country spotting birds and animals. We saw the wildflowers growing everywhere. Wild fruit grew in the wide ditches. Often trees offered a canopy that made us feel alone in the world. For me that was better than a trip to Las Vegas.

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  14. Praying to God, thanking the Lord, giving thanks with every step you take. The penitent man is always humble and grateful before God.

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    1. Yes, the penitent man is humble and grateful before God. Hard to picture what Heaven will be like. Looking forward to it.

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  15. Thank you for this great post, I really enjoyed!😊😊
    It made me regret that I have been rather neglectful of my spiritual path recently...time to rectify I think!

    Many thanks, too, for your visit and your brilliant comment...I really appreciate both!😊😊

    Have a great weekend xxx

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  16. It is amazing how much suffering occurs in the name of Jesus.

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    1. It is sadly crazy that this is so very true.

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Go ahead...it won' t hurt...I'd love to hear what you think!