Sunday morning:

I sit in the large vestibule in this large and lovely church and think back over the years and my history with this church — which is long, extending back farther, perhaps, than that of anyone else in this building, this morning.

My mind scrolls back across the years, to a small wooden building, that was the church, before this building came into existence .

I was 10 years old when we moved in with my uncle, to live there while our house was being built. We wanted to go to church, only there was no church within walking distance.

But there were two teenage girls, just down the road a piece, who shared our curiosity about the church.

They were cute and charming, those two girls. Ginny had soft light red hair and was crazy about one of my older brothers. Franny had bright red hair and was game for anything, but was a bit too young to get a driver’s license.

Their father had an old panel truck parked behind the barn and Franny seemed to think that it had enough gas in the tank to get us “down the road and back.”

So, come Sunday morning, we all dressed up clean and piled in the back of that old truck and Franny drove us all to the church on the “back road.”

Unlike the church I had been used to attending, this church was less grand and formal.

We would have come back the next Sunday, but there was no more gas in the tank, and Franny’s dad had been less than pleased with what he had called, our “escapade.”

But by the time that I was 13 I had been accepted into this church family and became a member. By the time I was 14 I was teaching the Primary Girl’s class.

Ah, such beautiful girls they were. The kind of little girls that made you smile, when you simply thought about them.

The furniture, like the church itself, had been built by the men of the neighborhood or congregation.

The tables at which my little girls sat were long and low. They had one flat, narrow, board down the center of each table and either side was slanted, with a raised lip along the edge to keep your book from sliding off.

They were perfect for my little girls as they lined up on either side for the lesson each Sunday.

Ah, I loved those little girls. They were so sweet and so beautiful! In a drawer in my bedroom is one of those Sunday School books, from which I taught the lesson to those waiting minds and upturned faces. I may have influenced them, but they enriched my life; week upon week.

That old wooden church house is gone now, replaced by this much larger one. I sit here some Sunday mornings in the vestibule and chat with other early arrivals. We discuss the weather, our families and life in general.

From this vantage point, I can see vehicles as they arrive and unload passengers in front of the large glass doors to the church. Some come through the vestibule on the way to the sanctuary and others go straight to the stairways leading down to the class rooms.

Among these groups are faces that I remember from my early teaching days.

I cannot keep from smiling as I watch these women, who were my little girls, filing in, some with grandchildren of their own. Other’s relay stories to me, of their children and grandchildren.

Thank You, God, for Sunday morning memories.

Loretta Nazelrod Brown is a Cumberland freelance writer. Her column appears every other Sunday in the Times-News.

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