Communion charmed me. It pained me to see the perfect little glasses and morsels of wafer in the gleaming trays pass me by. I suspect Mother’s thoughts weren’t sacred as she warned me off with dark looks and head shake. It seemed wrong to waste communion on adults when those cups were obviously child-sized. Glenda Parker boldly reached in and took two tiny cups right under her mother’s eye. She slurped the juice from one cup, then poured the juice from the other back and forth a few times before spilling it. Her mother sweetly wiped up the pew with a dainty hanky, never shooting her “the look.” With my head bowed during prayer, I saw Glenda stack and restack those cups and slip them in and out of the little slots on the back of the pew in front of her while her mother piously bowed her head in prayer. Why couldn’t God have given me to a good mother like that?
Baptism was even more interesting. The first baptism I witnessed took place in a pond. The congregation gathered around as the preacher led the candidates in one by one and dipped them backwards into murky water. I yearned to get in that line, but had been warned not to move from Mother’s side. The next baptism took place in our church’s new sanctuary. The curtains behind the choir loft opened to reveal a glass-fronted tank before a lovely mural of the Jordan River. The preacher stepped in and spoke a few words before assisting Miss Flora Mae down the steps into the tank. Miss Flora Mae’s full-skirted white skirt ballooned on the surface of the water as she descended, revealing chubby legs and white panties, an unexpected thrill for me and other less-holy onlookers. A few even snickered as Miss Flora Mae struggled to recover her dignity.
By the next baptism, the baptistry’s glass front had been painted.