Easy Like Sunday Mornings

 by Lauren Ingram

The Sunday morning aroma ambushed me as I came down the stairs. Gran- Gran’s-secret-ingredient-grits were sizzling fresh off the stove right next to the bacon and homemade biscuits. Just one taste-test could be severely dangerous since, no can come in contract with the food before its placed on the table. Instead, I just grabbed the Minute Maid cranberry juice carton out of the fridge, and began humming along to the Gospel tracks coming from the radio.

Gospel is the only music allowed to stream through the house on Sunday mornings. The boisterous sounds of the Shirley Caesar Choir remind me that I only have fifteen minutes to get ready for Mt. Zion’s Sunday school. My brother can’t stand the sweet sounds of Fred Hammond and KiKi Sheard, but they relax me as I touch up my Shirley Temple curls with some Olive Oil holding spray and a couple of curlers. Mama would kill me if my hair wasn’t together after I only just spent hours yesterday sitting in my aunt Ruby’s basement in her ancient red vinyl chair.

 I stopped wearing dresses to church once I turned eleven, which cut my Sunday routine from 40 minutes to 20 minutes. No longer did I have to  find matching stockings, shoes, and barrettes to go with each dress every morning. Slacks, a blouse, and some flats or boots are so much more convenient. 

It’s too much of a struggle getting my brother to go to church, so my parents don’t even bother pressuring him to dress appropriately for each service. His attire might consist of some pajamas or maybe some dark jeans and  a polo. To attend church there isn’t even a dress code to abide by. We’ve just been following years of tradition that were passed down from each generation of every family member, that say we always have wear our best attire to church. Nobody from the church mentions anything about my brother’s clothes, but most days we do get a lot of disapproving frowns as we walk into the sanctuary.

 I’m always the only one ready to go by 10:20 and by 10:35 we are officially late for the 10:30 service. Sunday school no longer seems like a viable option for me and I’m kind of upset I rushed my Sunday morning primping. Mama comes down the stairs like we’re not in a hurry. It isn’t until after she puts on her coat, situates her scarf and gloves just right, does she finally glance at her watch and begin to panic.

 I already know Mama is going to get worse when we pull into the church parking lot at 10:50. It’s a mixture of anger, embarrassment, and hunger that usually makes Mama unbearable by this point. She’s angry that nobody was watching the time to make sure everybody was ready to go, she’s embarrassed that we’re going to be walking down the middle of the sanctuary late to the front row because that’s where the ushers usher in the late arrivals, and she’s hungry because we had to leave that wonderful breakfast cold on the kitchen table because we didn’t have time to seat it.

 Then to make matters worse, Papa utters his typical catchphrase as we’re unbuckling our seatbelts and helping the baby out the car seat.

“Well that’s how the cookie crumbles.”

Then Mama’s face turns to annoyance, and her usual dialogue begins.

“Really, Robert, does the cookie have to crumble every time? Why can’t you just make sure your daughter is dressed, your son has on some decent clothes, and the baby is in the car seat, so we won’t be late? Honestly, Robert, do you think you can just fix everything with an idiom?”

Instead of responding, he’s going to mutter to himself again, making his next wrong move by mimicking her, “Really Robert, does the cookie have to crumble every time?”

Lauren Ingram is a rising senior at the Saginaw Arts and Sciences Academy. She is the daughter of Dr. Michael and Lisa Ingram. Her hobbies include reading, writing, and playing basketball. In the future her plans include attending college and becoming a corporate attorney.

Photo by C.L. Frost

© Lauren Ingram, 2011