Sunday memories – such precious memories. When my children were little, and my mother was alive we had a certain routine that we followed for Sundays. J.C. and I got the children dressed and then we dressed. There was no question about if we were going, it was understood that we would be in God’s house on Sunday morning and evening and Wednesday night. My husband had been ordained a deacon a couple of years before we were married, and his dedication to serving God matched the way my mother had brought me up. Sunday morning started Saturday. If John had just one little dress shirt, it was washed and ironed on Saturday, and his little oxfords had to be polished on Saturday night. The little daughter, who was six years older than our son, had different shoes for Sunday School than she had for school. But my husband might need to polish his shoes. My Daddy’s shirt. So we were all ready for Sunday morning.
J.C. taught 16 year old boys, and at the time of his death he had taught 12 to 16 years old for 52 years. He loved those boys. One week as he studied his lesson he would pause and stare out into space and then he would glance at me.
Finally on Sunday morning he asked me what a “Haiku” was. I was dumbfounded, and I sure did not know what it was. He explained it was in the lesson plan for him to use with the class. My son heard the discussion and told us that it was Japanese verse. My husband was disgusted. He felt that the Chapter of Ephesians that dealt with honoring parents and obeying them did not need a Japanese style verse. It should be taught in a straight forward way.
At that time I worked for the church and as usual went into my office that Sunday morning… I was a group of teachers across in the machine and mail room. I crossed over and recognized a man who taught the same age group. I inquired what he did about the Haiku. He said “Beats me, I never heard of that thing, so I just skipped that.”
The Youth Director was standing there. It was his idea in the lesson plan so I asked him how many teachers would use that idea. He said he had a lot of success with haikus. I was disgusted and told the group of men that if they let the dog in and he Haikued on the floor, they could clean it up. Both the Youth Minister and I left amid a roar of laughter. God’s word is meant to be so that a little child can comprehend it, why make it difficult?
Most Sundays we bought our dinner “out.” We went to Neta’s A&W Drive-in on the Shreveport Road. My children thought that nobody could make hamburgers like john Powell, and Mike Powell has taken his Dad’s place in their evaluation of hamburgers. Back then, their hamburgers were five for a dollar, and I believe we got a gallon of A&W Root Beer for a dollar. So the five of us would have a hamburger a piece and lots of root beer after we got home.
Ours was a happy Sunday and on Sunday afternoons we read the paper. I made a picture of our baby daughter of about 9 months being read the Sunday funnies by her daddy. She waved her arms and got so excited that I decided she must understand what he was saying. Later he shared the Sports Page with our son. That was always interesting because they did not always pull for the same teams.
Before the babies came along (the first one after we had been married for four years and the second one six years after her) we often went out for a corn-dog after church. I think John McCowan had them at his cafe. Those were the first we had ever seen. he mixed ketchup and mustard in a little cup and served it along with the corn dogs. Simple things, simple times, but oh such happy times and such happy memories.
On the first full day that I was home from the hospital last December, John brought me a big juicy hamburger from Neta’s and it was just like I remembered it – wonderful! We still think i is the best hamburger anywhere.
Children in Church
There are many stories I could tell you of trying to get the children to sit still and listen during worship service. John spent more time on the floor between the seats than on the seat. I never heard a word of the sermon. When we arrived at home he announced “I never knew that Peter died like that.” I looked at my husband and he told me what the preacher had said. I never got a word of the sermon and that little scamp heard every word and remembered it. Oh, the joys of motherhood.
He had watched the people on television as they toasted with a glass filled with wine. The first time he took the Lord’s Supper after his baptism he lifted his glass high in the air as a toast before we could drag it down. That was after he had choked on the cracker and we had to almost turn him upside down to get the cracker out of his wind pipe. Folks rose around us to help us. We never sat down near the front again. We delegates ourselves to the back of the church under the balcony. In later years he has told us that he held the glass up to see how much juice was in it. We finally lived through those years and how proud we are of our brilliant son.
I held the little daughter’s sashes until I pulled them out of the seams. A lady sat behind us and she furnished her with gum. We did not allow them to chew gum in the church, but how were we going to get this away from her. When I look at the prim and proper and pretty school teacher/librarian I remember the little girl with sashes and the ponytail. Her daddy called her “Little Miss Sunbeam” because she looked so much like the little girl on the loaf of bread. Oh how proud I am of her, and how much I love her.
I quit singing in the choir a few years after the children got old enough to sit in the preaching service. Prior to that time my mother sat with them. My husband was busy taking up offering or serving as church clerk. One day the little son announced that his grandmother had won the —-ing contest. I’ll not give you the name he called the contest. My mother said she did not know we had such a contest. He said “Yep, you have taken me out to use the bathroom more times that Daddy.” So that was the kind of contest he had dreamed up. Both my mother and my husband were embarrassed and both blushed, but the little boy kept on eating his lunch.
So next Sunday as I sit across from the college History teacher, I remember the little boy who kept us on edge, and frequently gave us cause to be on edge. But, oh, how I love him.
Remember to keep all these memories because Sundays are such special days and they will be a bright spot in your last days. I know, I’ve been there, done that and got the T-Shirt!
Juanita Agan submitted a weekly column to the Press-Herald for more than 15 years until her death in 2008. She was a resident of Minden since 1935. The Press-Herald is republishing select articles from Mrs. Agan’s Cameos column every Wednesday.