Observe


Momma went from bed to bed, gently shaking each of us awake.  “Rise and shine.” 

She wore her best outfit—a threadbare dress she’d cut from curtains discarded by the restaurant where she waitressed six days a week, Monday through Saturday.

But never on a Sunday.

We rose and washed our faces in the tin bucket of water Momma’d hauled in late last night after she finished work.  After we’d wiped the sleep from our eyes, we piled into the old Ford Fairmont and headed towards town.  Daddy parked right next to the preacher’s car and eyeballed each of us as we headed into church, “yes ma’aming” and “no ma’aming” and generally minding our manners as best we could.  We sat on hard wooden pews and Daddy passed out hymnals and if we didn’t sing loud enough for the angels to hear, Daddy would rap us on the head with the back of his book. 

After, we headed home for a day of quiet devotions.

“What’s for dinner, woman? I’m half starved to death.”

Momma went to the pump house and returned with a Styrofoam container of takeout.   “Crab cakes,” she said, eyes shining.  “Enough for one each.   And bread and butter, too.”

“Dessert?” Daddy demanded.

“I feel guilty, Henry.  If we asked…”

Daddy shook his head.  “The Lord takes care of the man who takes care of hisself.”  Then he swiped Momma’s crab cake and popped it in his mouth, daring her with steely eyes to challenge her. 

After our meager meal, Daddy opened the Bible and began to read aloud.  We’d run through the Bible in its entirety six times so far and I was as still as confused as ever.

There came a blast of music from outside.  Daddy frowned.  “What the blazes?”

“That’s Earle, Daddy.  He’s changing his oil today.”  Deena was sweet on Earle. 

Daddy stormed to the front door, opened it up and shouted out.  “Shut that damn music off, we’re trying to observe the Sabbath here.”

This was written in response to the Trifecta Writing Challenge.  This week's word was observe.

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Writing in the Margins, Bursting at the Seams: Observe

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Observe


Momma went from bed to bed, gently shaking each of us awake.  “Rise and shine.” 

She wore her best outfit—a threadbare dress she’d cut from curtains discarded by the restaurant where she waitressed six days a week, Monday through Saturday.

But never on a Sunday.

We rose and washed our faces in the tin bucket of water Momma’d hauled in late last night after she finished work.  After we’d wiped the sleep from our eyes, we piled into the old Ford Fairmont and headed towards town.  Daddy parked right next to the preacher’s car and eyeballed each of us as we headed into church, “yes ma’aming” and “no ma’aming” and generally minding our manners as best we could.  We sat on hard wooden pews and Daddy passed out hymnals and if we didn’t sing loud enough for the angels to hear, Daddy would rap us on the head with the back of his book. 

After, we headed home for a day of quiet devotions.

“What’s for dinner, woman? I’m half starved to death.”

Momma went to the pump house and returned with a Styrofoam container of takeout.   “Crab cakes,” she said, eyes shining.  “Enough for one each.   And bread and butter, too.”

“Dessert?” Daddy demanded.

“I feel guilty, Henry.  If we asked…”

Daddy shook his head.  “The Lord takes care of the man who takes care of hisself.”  Then he swiped Momma’s crab cake and popped it in his mouth, daring her with steely eyes to challenge her. 

After our meager meal, Daddy opened the Bible and began to read aloud.  We’d run through the Bible in its entirety six times so far and I was as still as confused as ever.

There came a blast of music from outside.  Daddy frowned.  “What the blazes?”

“That’s Earle, Daddy.  He’s changing his oil today.”  Deena was sweet on Earle. 

Daddy stormed to the front door, opened it up and shouted out.  “Shut that damn music off, we’re trying to observe the Sabbath here.”

This was written in response to the Trifecta Writing Challenge.  This week's word was observe.

Labels: ,

14 Comments:

At April 17, 2012 at 3:31 PM , Anonymous Jennifer Worrell said...

Wow! Really interesting! You are a terrific writer; I want to laugh, but I don't know if I should. I would personally kick the ass of anyone who swiped MY crab cake!

 
At April 17, 2012 at 3:50 PM , Anonymous Diane Turner said...

Great post and wonderful writing. Daddy, though, has got to go.
Nicely done.

 
At April 17, 2012 at 4:42 PM , Anonymous Writerwannabe232 said...

Good imagery writing

 
At April 17, 2012 at 5:36 PM , Anonymous barbara said...

mama worked - daddy ruled. sigh. I know

 
At April 17, 2012 at 6:05 PM , Anonymous Ruby Manchanda said...

You have woven the story well.

 
At April 18, 2012 at 5:33 AM , Anonymous jaum said...

You get the reader involved, and they stay involved right up to the end when you want more. Great mental images. Except for swiping the crabcake (Unforgivable) I wouldn't be so hard on Daddy.. That's the way it was, maybe the role he was expected to play.

 
At April 18, 2012 at 5:36 AM , Anonymous The Gal Herself said...

Aw, I really like how you recaptured a child's voice. "We’d run through the Bible in its entirety six times so far and I was as still as confused as ever." And I felt just terrible for Momma, trying to keep the peace on the Sabbath.

 
At April 18, 2012 at 2:50 PM , Anonymous Columbibueno said...

Poor kids! Hope Earle doesn't get an ass whooping.

 
At April 18, 2012 at 4:22 PM , Anonymous sailwawasee said...

Bad, mean Daddy! The swiping of the crab cake doesn't go with observing the Sabbath or quiet devotions. I guess it's a case of "walking the walk" and not just "talking the talk."

 
At April 19, 2012 at 9:29 AM , Anonymous Jesterqueen said...

I love the way Daddy comes across as the least observant of the bunch, with his theft of poor Momma's food, and his swearing at Earl across the way!

 
At April 19, 2012 at 10:49 AM , Anonymous Tara R. said...

Ha! That last line was perfect! All call people like Daddy convenient Christians. I still had to laugh.

 
At April 19, 2012 at 1:50 PM , Anonymous Annabelle said...

Daddy comes through so clearly -- and the last line made me laugh too. I particularly liked the phrase "sing loud enough for the angels to hear."

 
At April 19, 2012 at 8:55 PM , Anonymous Imelda said...

Beautifully written. I like how the characters have been fleshed out. That Daddy is a little scary.

 
At April 20, 2012 at 4:24 AM , Anonymous Trifectawritingchallenge said...

Beautifully written as always.The father (who you develop really well) clearly hasn't picked up much from his six readings of the bible either. Thanks so much for linking up and I hope you'll be back at the weekend.

 

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