In a discussion with Peppermint Patty, Charlie Brown explains that security is sleeping in the back seat of the car at night riding home. He says you don’t have to worry about anything because your parents do all the worrying. He moves on to his cup-half-empty attitude and says it doesn’t last because you grow up, and it can never be the same way again.
While my cup tends toward the half-full category, and I have found adulthood not to be that bad for the most part, I do think Charlie Brown has a point. He certainly stirred up a good memory.
Daddy had been away as the guest preacher for a revival a couple of counties distant from home. In her role as chauffeur because of his visual handicap, Mama planned to attend the final Friday night service and bring him home. For some reason, maybe because she wanted company for the trip, she arranged for someone else to keep the other three girls and let me go with her. I don’t remember the service, probably because it was much like many others I attended as I grew up.
I do remember the pleasant drive home. I took the back bench seat in the old station wagon that we called Genevieve, the only car we ever had with a name that stuck. Don’t ask me where the name came from, for I have no idea. I just know it could hold the four of us girls with a bunch of other kids that Mama and Daddy were taking to a church youth event – current safety standards not in place!
But this night it was just me. I listened to Mama catch Daddy up on home and community events and then to Daddy as he told about his week away. He named people he had seen that they knew. He told about the good spirit in the services. Perhaps of most interest to me at ten years old was his description of the meals prepared by members who had volunteered to feed the preachers at noon and night. With a decade of experience as a preacher’s kid behind me, I knew those Southern cooks had put their best dishes out for him – fried chicken, buttery mashed potatoes, fried okra, vegetables fresh from the garden, caramel cakes, chocolate pies. My parents seemed to have forgotten I was there with their relaxed happy conversation that did not include me.
Worry-free and secure like Charlie Brown and with my arms as the world’s best pillow, I listened until I dozed off into peaceful slumber. Charlie’s probably right that it will never be the same way again. All the same, I give thanks for the memory.