Sunday! It’s Sunday! Mom braided my hair and tied the two braids with new ribbon. I put on my freshly-polished white shoes with the Mary Jane straps, and my pink Sunday dress with the small blue primroses. We all climbed into our new green 1949 Plymouth to drive to the north edge of Withee to Nazareth Lutheran Church.
Halfway up the right-hand side of the little church was the usual pew in which my family worshipped. We settled in and listened to the organ prelude as the candles were lighted. I liked looking at the baptismal font where I knew I had been baptized, so I knew I was a child of God. Most of the people bowed their heads to pray silently.
I loved standing by Daddy as we rose to sing “Holy, Holy, Holy.” I loved the way Mom held her dark blue hymnal so I could follow along with the words. I tried to understand the pastor when he went up in the high pulpit to speak God’s words, wearing his long black funny clothes. I was embarrassed by my younger sister and brother not sitting as quietly as I. I was pleased that I knew all the words to the Lord’s Prayer as we prayed together. And I was somewhat intimidated when the pastor stood at the back of the church to shake hands with everyone after the worship service.
But when we got outside, I ran all the way to the west fence where our family grave plots were marked with a border of stones. I knew that Grandma and Grandpa, Daddy’s parents, were buried there. Daddy carried a large Mason jar of fresh-cut peonies to put on their graves. Mom came along with my sister on one hand and my brother on the other. We knew it was very important not to step on graves, but I liked walking up and down the rows reading the words on the stones.
Together we walked to the back of the church yard, where Daddy pointed out the grove of evergreen trees. “See those trees? I helped to plant them when I was a young boy. Some day they might be tall enough to hang a swing there.”
We walked back to the car, all together, and drove home to Sunday dinner. But I already looked forward to next Sunday, when we would come back to church together.
What it looked like when I was a child.
The “new” building which replaced it.