Daddy told his preacher calling when I was around four
years old. He told our home church the Lord had called him to be a preacher. I
had no idea how this would change our lives or really what it all meant. I do
not remember Daddy’s first time preaching. My first memories of his ministry
began when a small church called Daddy to be their pastor; Daddy accepted.
Daddy would be ordained as a full Baptist Minister.
The week before the ordination, Jennifer and I were
riding to town with my Grandma. I was sitting in the front seat beside the
door. Grandma asked me, “Well, what do you think of your daddy being a Pastor?”
As I looked out at some cows, all I could think of were cow pastures. I just could not put together Daddy and a cow pasture. I said something to Grandma like I thought a pasture was for the cows. Grandma laughed and said, “No, a church Pastor, you know, the Preacher of a church. Like our Preacher Harold.” I was relieved that Daddy would be going to a church as a preacher, not to a cow pasture. However, maybe the cows needed preached to?
“Jubilee, Jubilee, You’re invited to that happy
I wake up hearing this song and smelling sausage
cooking. It’s Sunday morning! The night before Mama had washed my long hair, so
I felt all clean and ready for day the ahead. I nudge Jennifer sleeping beside
me as I got out of bed, saying, “It’s Sunday morning!” She just moans, “I
know,” It took a while for Jennifer to wake in the mornings. I go in the
kitchen to see Mama cooking our breakfast: sausage, biscuits and gravy, and
scrambled eggs. Mama and Daddy had a Sunday morning routine. While Mama cooked
our breakfast, Daddy showered and dressed (except his dress shirt and tie).
Then after breakfast, Daddy cleaned up the kitchen and washed the dishes, while
Mama dressed and helped us get ready. This was one of the many ways my parents
worked as partners in their marriage.
Mama continues cooking, I watch the Gospel Singing
Jubilee on our television, the theme song that woke me every Sunday morning. Gospel
groups such as the Florida Boys, The Goodmans, the Inspirations, and the Nelons
perform as I sing along. At last, Mama yells, “Breakfast is ready!”
We sit down at the table. As we begin eating, I can’t
wait to ask Daddy, “Where are we going to church?” When Daddy was not a pastor
of a church, he would visit churches throughout Cherokee and Forsyth counties,
sometimes further away into Pickens, Dawson, Hall; well, across North Georgia.
Daddy prayed, studied, and mediated on Scripture in his King James Version of
the Holy Bible throughout the week. The Lord would send him to a church to
visit on Sunday morning. Most often, Daddy would preach the sermon there. I
often did not know where we going to church until breakfast Sunday morning.
That was exciting to me; awaiting the adventure of our Sunday.
When Daddy tells us where we were going, the next
question was: What time are we leaving? We could be going to a church 15
minutes from our house or an hour and 15 minutes away. If it was a church where
I knew I would see my friends, I was doubly excited. If it was a church I had
never been to before, I would be nervous. Even though I viewed Sundays as an
adventure, walking into a church as a visitor caused some anxiety.
Finally, we finish breakfast. Jennifer and I dress in
our Sunday dresses, knee high white socks, and black patent shoes. Mama brushes
my hair. She makes sure we are all ready to go. Meanwhile, Daddy cleans the kitchen,
washing dishes and pans. Then he’s putting on his dress shirt and tie. I watch
him tie his necktie and wondering, how does he do that? Daddy puts on his suit
coat. Mama puts on her red lipstick. Daddy picks up his blue leather cover
Bible. We all climb into our car. Jennifer and I settle into the back seat. We
are off to church.
Our Sunday morning is coming to an end. Soon it will
be church time. A time shared with other people. Sunday mornings were my family
time. From the moment I heard, “Jubilee, Jubilee,” until the I saw a church
parking lot, I was happily embraced in my family, anticipating our Sunday