October 14th, 2012 - Today was a day of surprises for my mom but she had no idea that there surprises were waiting for her! It was hard to keep secrets but no one in the family spilled any of the beans! Every surprise was an unexpected success!
She told us that her Pastor had asked her to speak in the service about what it meant to attend Sunday School for 50 years without missing; what it takes to have that kind of commitment. We told her that the three of us would be there to hear her give her speech. She seemed thrilled that we would be there but had no idea anything else was in store. She was also pleased that Brandon, Amanda and their two small children were visiting with Randy and Denvia this weekend from Virginia.
Things got a little suspicious when she arrived to find her sister, Barbara, already seated in the church Ė Aunt Barbara attends a different church. Then she spotted Randy and his family and began to think something might be up but she didnít know what. Randy and Denvia are members of another church in the area and attend their own church, even when their children and grandchildren are visiting. It was very unusual that they would be attending momís church.
She very eloquently delivered her speech and told several stories about our family as we were growing up and went on vacation every year from Miami to Alabama to visit family. We always left on Saturday night and drove through the night to assure all 3 kids were sleeping for most of the trip. Then on Sunday morning, wherever we were, we always stopped in a gas station. Mom took the suitcase she had packed for her and me and we headed for the ladies bathroom to get changed for church and my dad and brothers took their small suitcase and changed clothes in the menís bathroom. Then we got directions to the nearest Southern Baptist church.
Mom says she actually missed Sunday School when her daddy died. The church is right down the little dirt road from my grandparentís house and my grandaddyís body was in kept in the home until time for the service. In the South it used to be very customary for people to come to the home to view the body and pay respects before the funeral.
Mom went to church that Sunday morning and sat down in her chair but then felt she needed to go back home. It is understandable to be with the family under the circumstances and she did make the effort and actually went to church. She just couldnít stay. Not with her fatherís body at home waiting for the funeral. Anyway, for perfect attendance they allow you to miss one Sunday a year so her record was still good even if she didnít get credit for this Sunday but we all think it counted. However, this is the only Sunday she ever missed in 50 years and she really didnít miss it. She just didnít stay long.
After mom finished speaking to the church congregation a representative from the Choctaw Baptist Association stood up and presented her with a nice plaque recognizing her 50 years of perfect Sunday School Attendance. Then her Pastor presented her with a certificate from her church, Hickory Grove Baptist Church. Another presentation was made when her church gave her a beautiful afghan which had her name embroidered in gold along with the church and date.
The county newspaper photographer was there for the occasion and gathered our entire family on stage for group pictures with mom to be in the newspaper that week.
Mom knew there was a pot luck dinner after church but she had no idea that she was the guest of honor!
I was so happy to see mom get so much attention that day. She loves to go to church and she would have gone every Sunday, with our without the attendance record but still, what she did was a serious achievement and required a lot of dedication and commitment. We are all so proud of her!