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
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