Can’t Keep From Grinning

Last Sunday during preaching, everybody was asked to turn in the hymnals to page 410 and sing “Marching to Zion.” That song instantly sends me back to my childhood. A day hotter than asphalt in Georgia… a little country church..sitting on a crowded pew with my little shiny black patent shoes dangling freely. Women in dressy hats… waving paper fans to try to keep their makeup from running from the stale air. My mama at the piano giving the ivory keys a run for their money. She is told she must slow the notes down a piece. As if to say, hymns are only heard by the Good Lord when the music is slowed to a crawl.

However, I am not trying to be disrespectful. Just remembering my mama’s raised eyebrows and quizzical look when she was instructed to play the “Zion” song. Oh the memories I relive, even as I write this entry. My daddy on the end of the pew and my granddaddy on the other end. And me and my baby brother sandwiched in between. The music would start and I would stretch my neck to catch my granddaddy’s  3 sisters singing. They had their favorite row up near the front and always sat together whenever they could. They were married, of course. Husbands: all deacons and took up the collection.

Now where was I?? Oh yes. The Zion Song. My 3 great aunts would sing loudly and slur their words…kinda chewing on each syllable. They had good voices and could carry a tune without much help. Other hymns were no problem at all, non-slurring. It was on this “marching” one that seemed to get a chuckle out of me every time.

After the service was over, the kids would run out and stretch their legs. Within a few minutes, we were called downstairs for “good eating” with every table brimming with food from fried chicken to chocolate cake. Most of  the time our eyes were bigger than our stomachs. No one seemed to mind. Families would catch up with each other and then pile up in their cars for the long drive home.

More than 40 years have come and gone. The church still remains and holds services every Sunday. A new church is being built to accommodate the ever expanding growth of the congregation. Every year we try to make it to Brushey Creek to Homecoming. Only a few of the original family members attend. The memories bring me back to a wonderful time that I will cherish forever in my heart!.

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