In 1771, British essayist Joseph Addison wrote “Sunday clears away the rust of the whole week.” I have to respectfully disagree with J-Add. At this point in my life, Sunday is not one of my favorite days. I am afraid that I spend too much time fretting about Monday, the week to come, and the weekend past to “clear the rust” from the past week. Logically, I can admit that it is a waste to chew over the last 6 days while also worrying about the next 6, but I can’t seem to help myself. It’s an illness.
I haven’t always felt this way about Sundays. When I was younger, Sundays were great days. They followed a certain pattern, changed only by the weather, holidays or birthdays. My mom, sister and I went to church each Sunday morning, after which we headed to my grandparents house. The memories made at my grandparents’ home are some of the strongest ones of my childhood.
Sundays at Mamaw’s and Papaw’s meant many things: good food, playing with my cousins, listening to my aunt’s talk about how much we were all growing, visiting with my grandparents’ brothers and sisters, and hearing stories about the “good ‘ole days.” Mamaw was such a good cook — beans and biscuits, cabbage and corn, pintos and potatoes and all other kinds of good food. The table would be full of bowls of food, and yet it seemed that she just threw it all together, kinda nonchalantly.
Even though I saw most of my aunts every Sunday, my sister and I and my cousins went through a weekly “interrogation” — school, boyfriends / girlfriends, extracurricular activities. The older we got, the more intrusive some of the questions could become (i.e. “Are you kissing any boys? With tongue?”) And my aunts (and my mom with my cousins) were especially interested in how we girls were growing / developing, i.e. were we getting boobs? I don’t know if this interest was born of the fact that most of them were not well-endowed or what, but I’ve told people before that the first time that anyone ever “felt me up” was in my Mamaw’s kitchen when one of my aunts was checking to see how big my boobs were getting. To us, this behavior was normal (and I don’t think any of us have been scarred by it).
But the best part of Sundays was playing with my cousins. If it was warm outside, we would play in the yard, playing Red Rover, or climbing trees, or running as fast as we could. When my cousins, Wendi and JJ, and I became cheerleaders, we spent a lot of time cheering in the front yard. Sometimes we would just swing on the porch, telling each other secrets and stories.

If it were cold (which it often was in the mountains), we would sit in the living room, looking at old photo albums. Sometimes we would go into one of the back bedrooms and whisper and talk. Sometimes we would even cheer in the living room. Papaw would sit in his chair, reading his Bible or doing his crossword puzzle, and never say a word about how loud we were.

Sundays when I was a kid were days to create memories. I can remember like it was yesterday the sound of Mamaw and Papaw’s front door opening and closing. I can remember the sound of Papaw’s voice as he said the blessing before each Sunday lunch. I can remember the smell and the sounds and the events. And in this remembrance of the Sundays past I have finally been able to clear away my rust.

Best Gifts

My co-worker went to his 5-year old’s Christmas pageant today. When he returned to work, he regaled us all with stories of how Donovan and his fellow kindergartner students performed. The students decided that, like the Magi, they would give Jesus presents and were instructed to give Jesus the things that they love the best. They drew pictures of their gifts and told the audience what they were giving to Jesus. Many gave their favorite dolls, their Wiis, their plasma TVs, even their little sister — because those are the things that they love best.
I had to laugh at the student that gave his little sister. I would have given up my little sister, as well, when I was in kindergarten, but not because she was the thing that I loved best, but because she was disrupting my world. Until Ashleigh was born, I was queen of the world, top of the heap, the cat’s meow — you get the picture. And suddenly, I was sharing the spot-light. The applause wasn’t just for me any more.
I would like to say that I quickly got over my sibling jealousy and embraced my new sister. But, I didn’t. For most of my young life, I struggled with my need to be the family “It Girl”. Luckily, I took a big dose of the antidote known as time and maturity. By my late teens, I had learned what a treasure I have in my sister.
Ashleigh is someone that I love beyond words. She has grown up to be an amazing mother and a tremendous woman. She exhibits strength, confidence and a serenity that I have always admired (and often envied). When I observe her with her children, I am moved by her wisdom and her patience. She is a woman that I am proud to know — and I am lucky enough to be her sister.
I applaud the young kindergarten student who gave Jesus his little sister — sounds like he learned much earlier than I did to cherish his sister. Hope that he continues to cherish his sister, because sisters are treasures, better than any gold, frankincense and myrrh.