Since our departure from Calvary, we have had the privilege of being in church service with my grandmother, better known as "Mema". She attends the Coneross Church of God, the same church I used to go to with her when I was small.
I remember fondly those weekends I spent with her. After my parents divorced when I was 9, I stayed with Mema and Papa on the weekends. How I loved those times. They had the best tree for climbing in the whole county. In fact, that's where my cousin and I would run to escape my Papa's fishing buddy. John always wanted to give us granddaughters a kiss on the cheek and he always had itchy stubble. So we would climb the tree whenever we saw his car coming into view and we stayed up there until he left if we could hold out that long!
I also remember running through the wash hanging on the clotheslines, telling ghost stories under the weeping willow tree to my younger cousins, playing hair salon with my older cousins, and walking through the garden with my grandpa. Saturdays were especially comforting to me. It was a quiet, relaxing time and brought peace in what was a traumatic time in my childhood.
Mema was always busy doing something on Saturdays, whether it was sewing, making chow-chow, or cleaning. In the evenings we would watch Hee-Haw. I would sometimes sneak and watch Solid Gold when I could (loved the dancers!). Then when it grew dark, we would retire to the front porch. I would swing and my grandparents would rock and we would listen to gospel music for the longest. Before we went to bed, I would take what I call a "bird bath" in front of the kitchen sink (see, they had no indoor bathroom), then I would lather myself in lotion and put on one of Mema's flannel nightgowns before either getting in the bed with her or sleeping in the extra twin bed in Papa's room (yes, they slept in separate rooms). Papa would let me go to sleep listening to his radio and he would leave a lamp on for me. I loved making shadow animals on the walls. The window beside my bed was always left open and I enjoyed hearing the rooster crow in the morning.
On Sunday mornings, we watched Jimmy Swaggart while we got ready for church. Mema always made me oatmeal and sausage patties for breakfast. I always wore some of her perfume. Papa didn't go to church, so we had to have someone pick us up as Mema never learned to drive. I don't remember much about the Sunday school classes, but boy I loved the worship services. Back then anyone could sing in the choir. I loved singing and would always stand where I could see Mema. Many times during the preaching part of the service I would nod off and occasionally lie down in the pew. But the pentecostal style worship going on around me always woke me up!
After church all of the aunts and uncles and cousins would come over for Sunday dinner. The meat was always fried chicken, and it is still the only meat on the menu at her house on Sundays to this day! It was always a little sad for me to leave and go back home on Sundays. I truly enjoyed being with my grandparents. Now my grandmother lives alone, but she still cooks Sunday dinner every week. Those times will remain in my memory as some of the most precious moments of my childhood.