sábado, 2 de junho de 2007

Earliest Memories of My Grandfather

When I was a little kid, I didn't enjoy Sunday school much.

The first thing that bothered me was having to get dressed up in my Sunday clothes and having my hair pulled back into a pony tail held in a rubberband so tightly that my eyebrows went halfway up my forehead. I had to wear a "good" dress, thin white anklets, black patent-leather shoes that always seemed to hurt my feet, little gloves, and I couldn't sit on the ground and get dirty or I would get into trouble.

I was afraid of my Sunday school teachers just like I was of my primary school teachers who were scary human beings, old ladies, disciplinarians, rigid, with wooden paddles hanging on the wall, and besides, they were all a lot bigger than me, and I knew that if I did one little thing wrong they were going to tell my parents, that was a given!

And then, my Sunday school teachers were always telling these puzzling stories that didn't make any sense to me, particularly that one about the miracle of "the loaves and the fishes." Wow! I really couldn't make heads or tails of that one -- a big crowd of people, all dressed like Jesus, sitting or standing on the bare ground, and then being fed with loaves of bread and fish, of all things. My experience with fish was pretty much restricted to bluegill or fish sticks. There was no mention in this story of any cooking being done, so what were those people going to do with those baskets filled with bluegill? And as to the loaves, that was pretty confusing because we kids were always eating bologna on slices of Wonderbread, and I knew that back in Jesus's day, there were no refrigerators, that much I was clear on. Where were the mustard and ketchup? How could they eat just plain ol' fish?

The other story that really got me was the one about Lazarus up in the tree. He had gone up in that tree to see Jesus pass by. But, you know, in all of my life up to that time, I had never seen a grown man up in a tree, and this was beyond my comprehension.

I felt confused at Sunday school and was always relieved to be set free at the end of the hour when I could go to my grandfather's house not so very far from the church. I crossed the street and went one more block and then could take a shortcut through the grassy yard of an enormous old home and into the back door of my grandparents' house. The sidewalk was concrete, but enormous trees had spread their roots underneath lifting it up in places that seemed like hills to me, and my smooth-soled patent-leather shoes would slip and slide as I navigated these obstacles.

to be continued...

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