1) I had to be assured of an early start today, and happily I achieved consciousness just before the alarm was to go off at 6:30. Mother declared that breakfast was “on our own” so she could take the morning at her own pace before we headed to church.
2) Now most of y’all know that my sweet lovely mother has a problem with punctuality. It was a rare childhood Sunday that I was not late to Sunday School, and I have many memories of sitting anxiously in the back seat of the car with my sister, Daddy behind the wheel having started the car, and Mother eventually running out of the house, skirt swirling (and looking wonderful) so that we could finally get going.
2a) This year Mother had a personal epiphany about being “the late Mrs. Dimmick,” and she has really been making an effort to be on time. And whaddya know, we left the house exactly on schedule, and arrived a wee bit early!
2b) In the Sunday School class, one of the men in my parents’ circle said to me “And how did she ever get here on time?!” I replied “She’s turned over a new leaf . . . “
3) Most of her friends sat at a table in the back of the room, and we pulled in chairs for latecomers until we were quite packed. Most of these people have known me from infancy, and Mrs. B***** proudly said to the grandmother of the associate pastor (they are new to this church) “We reared him!”
4) As you might expect, there was a lot of talk about broken hips and who just went into the hospital.
5) This Advent First Methodist has been gathering some of the Sunday School classes together in the church hall for a series (partially on video) called something like “From Bedlam to Bethlehem,” which Mother has been very enthusiastic about. This lesson was about “minding the light.” With my usual ambivalence about returning to the church of my childhood, I kept quiet. But I kept thinking about how the light of Christ does not come from a dark lantern, only to shine through slats onto the Favored Few - for instance, the favored few north of the U.S.-Mexican border and not anyone else - but on all people - and how very many Christians seem to have a problem with that at the moment. I simply could not get into the rather anodyne spirit of the lesson.
6) I was very surprised by some enormous arrangements of American Beauty roses, completely out of character for the church. Later I found out they’d been from a wedding the night before.
7) The service was all right, with the sermon focusing on the hymn “What Child Is This?” The preacher is a good one, and Mother is a fan of his. And he was absolutely splendid to us when Daddy died, and before.
8) I left church in an uncomfortably reflective mood, which I’m afraid was exacerbated by Mother’s needing to stop and talk to someone passing our car just as I started it. I am very much like Great-Grandmother Dougherty: if ya gonna go, GO! Yes yes, spontaneity blah blah blah. I had just started the car, and it was time to leave!
9) Unfortunately this was repeated as soon as we got home. Having exited the car, in the act of walking to the back door and thinking happily of taking off my tight black shoes, Mother caught a glimpse of the bags of Christmas carol booklets in the back of the car and suddenly remembered that she had promised to get one to Mr. M*****, and that we had to bring it right away. Let’s just say we got it done, but when I’m driving, I need simple answers like “Yes” or “There” instead of anything off-topic. Times like this I can see that I am very much like my daddy after all, which is to say short-tempered.
10) Leftovers for lunch - om nom nom - and a NAP which concluded with a three-hour notice text from Niece Who Must Not Be Tagged about her arrival with Oldest Nephew Who Must Not Be Tagged. This spurred me to complete my Christmas wrapping - yay! - with Alastair Sims’ A Christmas Carol.
10a) I love giving presents at Christmas, but my shopping has been rather haphazard this year. Still, I’m generally happy with what I’m giving - but there’s nothing like opening a closet and seeing a gift you’re giving already there. Eek!
11) Niece came in looking like a hobbit or something with a black hoodie over her head and trailing behind her like a cape, and holding lots of packages and things. Oldest Nephew had an engagement (“No, I am NOT engaged!” he replied to me, smiling) with friends, and had to skedaddle, so we three remaining headed off to ye Olyve Gyrdynne nearby for dinner. And that was nice except for the family at the booth behind us playing video games or watching videos or something.
11a) Niece is getting to be quite an adult, and I am really glad we got to catch up.
12) We’ve gone our separate ways since dinner: Niece to bed (college students are always tired, yes?), Mother to some of her own Christmas preparations, and me to the dining room, where I have yet to start on my Christmas cards.
13) In order to do a load of colors, since I packed very lightly, I am forced into a wearing an old cream flannel nightshirt, very severe, of my mother’s until my clothes are dry. It was in the utility room in a bag of clothes that are to be donated. It is at least more comfortable for long-term wear than the white terrycloth bathrobe I have here, but just now Mother said I looked “expectant.” She did not mean “waiting for Santa Claus!”
13a) On the other hand, perhaps I have a future career as a department store Santa . . .