Fandango’s Dog Days of August #19-Hate
I was almost five I went to Sunday school with my friend, Lori.
Lori told me that during the Summer you could win a prizes if you memorized a bible verses. She told me that they way it worked was they gave you this little bookmark with a verse on it and a ‘helper’ would sit with you and help you memorize it if you couldn’t read.
It sounded like fun to me, so when we got to class I went up to the front of the room to get my little bookmark -which wasn’t exactly little and wow did it have a lot of words.
What I got was the Lord’s Prayer.
I was five years old and couldn’t read and within 20 minutes I was supposed to learn the Lord’s Prayer and get up in front of all of those people and say it.
The girl helping me saw what I had and I watched her go up to the man who was passing out the bookmarks and he said something about not having anymore to hand out and that I would have to do my best.
This one was for the older kids who could read, she said. He looked at me and he sort of smiled- but looking back at it his smile was far from friendly.
We all went off with our helpers and the group of kids memorizing this verse were all older then me. I was a little squirt to begin with and I think there was a comment about me belonging to the ‘baby group’. To make it worse I was having a hard time because the helper had to go over it word for word with me and the other kids were reading their verses and then saying them back to each other from memory and it was really distracting.
When I got up there I still had the bookmark in my hand and I looked into what felt like was a million faces and I could remember a line or two and I just froze. It occurred to me that I probably wouldn’t get a prize.
I stumbled along and stopped.
” Could I remember anything else?” he asked.
Sweet relief I could. My babysitter, Melody, had taught it to me:
“Here I opened wide
and nothing more.”
I remembered to grab my chest and stumble back.
Of course my Melody had taught me other lines too, but that was my favorite.
” That’s not appropriate, little girl “
” It’s The Raven.” I told him ” By Poe. “
I didn’t win a prize- he snatched the bookmark out of my hand and sent me back to my seat so I didn’t even get to have that. But I realized something at that moment.
There was potential to have a lot of fun at Sunday School and right then and there I was determined to go back.
Because that look on the Teacher’s face when I would march in on Sunday has always been one my fondest memories. He was never glad to see me, he never smiled at me and when I got the hang of memorizing verses, I was winning pencils and pictures of Jesus with lambs hand over fist he would sort of drop them down to me to catch.
I felt like my being there offended him and taking his prizes made him angry and that was fine with me because I had the distinct impression he wanted to scare or humiliate me on that first day.
I know, it was wicked of me and I was going to that Church for the wrong reason.
What can I say?
There has always been a little of the Devil in me.