About Once Upon a Word: We're a large group of multi-talented authors working together, to bring you the best romances. Please, stop by our websites and check out what we've been up to: Publishing by Rebecca J. Vickery and Victory Tales Press.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

A short story just for you.....

First of all, I'd like to say that I am very grateful for those at Victory Tales Press who allow me to tell the stories of Rebel's Crossroads. It is a wonderful thing to see these luscious characters come to life. The stories of Rebel's Crossroads are figments of my imagination and do not resemble anyone living. So, as the spring holidays begin, I am leaving you with a short little story for your enjoyment.


Traditions
                                                                                                                         by Nan O'Berry



Miss Muriel Lowe took a tighter grip of the Bible, tucked deep under her arm, and mounted the brick steps that led up to the First Methodist Church of Rebel’s Crossroads. She was late. Something that didn’t happen often, however today was important. Palm Sunday began the week leading up to Easter and everyone who was anyone came out on these two particular Sundays.
Muriel took her cues from her mother and her mother from her mother. Everything had to look just right. She’d badgered her nephew, Hubert, to take the afternoon off from the Treasurer’s office and drive her up to that new mall. There, she’d managed to wrangle two new outfits. Today’s ensemble consisted of a sheath dress of deep Kelley green, topped off with a cream colored coat embroidered around the edges with an array of flowers sure to make Monet jealous.
Why, she’d even spent an extra twenty dollars so that Eva Green could put a bit of color, a shimmer of Champagne gold, in her hair, just like in her youth. She reached up and fingered the back of the highly trained curls wondering if it all been in vain. Few would see the change beneath the splendid bonnet with the wide brim. She’d seen it first in passing. Sitting at a jaunty angle in the store window, it called to her. Unable to resist its siren call, she’d walked in and purchased the straw creation and to her delight, it matched the color of her dress. The wide satin ribbon and bow clutched a handful of shamrocks and mirrored the cream of the jacket. Yes, it was a spectacular outfit, fit for Palm Sunday.
“Morning, Miss Muriel.” Dan Rodger’s smiled as he handed her the bulletin. “Running a bit late, I see.”
“Yes.” She said as heat crawled into her cheeks. “Just a bit.” “She took time to look around. “Where is your lovely wife?”
He gazed past her to the corner of the church building. “She’s lining up the children and waiting for her cue.”
“Then I must hurry to sit down. I don’t want to keep them waiting.”
The warmth of the sunlight faded as she moved into the sanctuary. The early spring sunlight broke and splintered by the stain glass, showered the worshipers with all the colors of the rainbow. To her delight, every pew was filled. The heels of her sandals tapped against the tile that lined the sanctuary floor as she made her way to the third bench on the right where her family had always occupied. The right side is the one on God’s good graces; her father was fond of saying. Miss Muriel slid into place.
Setting her pocketbook down, she gazed at the altar. A profusion of pastel colors represented the offering from Doris’ garden. Gladiolas, always a favorite, dominated the white wicker basket in shades of pale pink, blue, and yellow. Yes, Doris had done herself proud. It was a shame she had to go down to her daughter’s in Virginia Beach and miss the splendor.
Precisely at eleven, the air inside and out filled with the ringing of church bells across town. Baptist, Presbyterians, Lutherans, even the Catholic Church, rang in unison. Feet skidded on the floor as the congregation rose and the doors flew open. At first, the sound was minimal.
Soft voices.
Tiny voices.
 Yet, as they marched in the words to the child’s hymn, Jesus Loves Me, became loud and clear. Even though they were too small to be seen over the heads of adults, the palm leaves cut from green construction paper waved with conviction back and forth. When they reached the first pew, the children stopped, lining the inside of the center aisle. Behind them a single line took up the center. The adult choir joined in with the children. Their voices in harmony echoed and filled the rafters of the structure until the windows vibrated. This was all that is should be. Muriel’s heart expanded and to her surprise, tears glistened at the corner of her eyes.
She watched as the minister, Reverend Finlay, walked passed. Later, after the service, they would all gather at the fellowship hall for a pot luck dinner. Plates of golden brown fried chicken, a staple of any southern gathering from weddings to funerals would dominate the table. To be sure not a chicken would be left alive within a fifty mile radius.  Other offerings included bowls of creamy southern potato salad, and baked beans sprinkled with dark ground sugar would wait to be plundered. All would be washed away with sweet ice tea.
Then, one by one, mothers and fathers would grasp their children’s hands as they cross the streets to gather at the central park. Under the watchful gaze of General Archibald Saunders, Mayor Moore would preside in the one-hundred thirty-fourth Easter Egg Hunt. It happened this way, generation after generation. Grandmothers and grandfathers handed down the tradition to their children, then mothers and fathers passed it on to their offspring, and to Muriel, it was a glorious rite of spring.  In small towns, traditions and families ran deep.
Yes, Miss Muriel mused. The more things change, the more they stay the same.
“Blessings to all who enter here today,” Reverend Finlay’s voice boomed. “May the Lord grant you peace.”

Happy Easter to everyone from my home and the folks at Rebel’s Crossroads.
Nan O’Berry

Other stories set in Rebel's Crossroads can be found on Amazon, Barnes and Nobles, Smashwords, and other fine retailers....

 

17 comments:

  1. A Happy Easter to you too, Nan. Did you draw upon your own memories of Easter services in the chapter above? My cherished memory is from all us kids being marched onto the altar after Sunday School and singing for the church (songs like "He's Got the Whole World in His Hands") and then we'd be handed bags of candy by the Preacher as we left the church.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, a few. Growing up in a very small church everyone knew everyone. I can remember all the colors of the ladies of the church and those pill box hats. Thanks for stopping by, Gerald. Have a great Easter.

      Delete
  2. Great story! I can only imagine what Miss Muriel is up to. :)

    I agree, Gerald. I remember lots of stories just like that. And for Palm Sunday, we'd always have those palm fronds to carry into the church. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, Miss Muriel is always up to something. I remember cutting out those leaves. Of course some of the boys would use them to bop others on the head. It was always so magical when we were young its a shame we can't go back to that time period. Have a great Easter Markee

      Delete
    2. You, too, Nan! And yes on the bopping. LOL! I remember that part. LOL!

      Delete
  3. Replies
    1. Happy Easter, Denise. Thanks for stopping by.

      Delete
  4. I enjoyed your lovely story. All the best to you and a very happy Easter, Nan.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Happy Easter, Sarah. You too. Have a fantastic Bunny day.
      Nan

      Delete
  5. What a wonderful story for the beginning of Spring and to prepare us for Easter! I enjoyed it very much! Kind of makes me long for small towns and wonderful years-old traditions! Happy Easter, Nan!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, but remember traditions are what you make them. Even if for you own enjoyment. Decorate a tree with plastic eggs and giggle as you watch people walk by or drive past. I bet they are smiling. Have a wonder Spring break.
      Nan

      Delete
  6. Sure loved visiting Rebel's Crossroads, and of course Miss Muriel, too. I've enjoyed all your stories and look forward to many more. (hint, hint). My dad would make the palms into crosses for me and my brothers and sisters. When I was young, we would all dress up in our new Easter outfits when we went to church. Us girls had bonnets, shiny white shoes, gloves and a purse to go with our new Easter dress. Lovely memories.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. LOL I know... I know. Miss Muriel and Reverend Frinlay keep pushing at me. I understand that there is a hair shop in town now, called the Fancy Lady. I can only wonder what goes on there. Oh, yes. I remember those white patent leather shoes and ruffled socks. Mine always got sucked down into those shoes. You had to have a permanent too so your hair looked just right. The 'exlixer' of curl would sting your eyes and make you cry. But you had to sit there or face the wrath of a smack with the hair brush. Sigh, kids have it so easy today. :o)
      Nan

      Delete
  7. What a sweet nostalgic story. We attend 160 year old Presbyterian Church that is small but beautiful red brick and wonderful stained glass. It began on the banks of the San Marcos River in a tiny log cabin that is now partially preserved. Our congregation is rather casual now, not formal as it once was, and while little girls may have on new dresses, practically no one dresses any differently than any other Sunday. Our church is crowded and noisy, full of life--which disturbs some of the older crowd, but then some of the most elderly love it! We had a wonderful Palm Sunday, and will have a bigger more involved beautiful Easter Service. Thanks, Nan...I'm reading your blog before daylight!This starts my day off right.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am so glad to hear that, Celia. It sounds so perfect. A church near the water. I wonder, do or did they baptize the folks in the river?
      Nan

      Delete
  8. Nan, I'm late getting here but I wouldn't have missed your story of Rebel Crossroads. It certainly takes me back to attending a country church with my grandparents when I was a little girl.(My mother was ill much of my childhood and she and my daddy didn't often attend church because of it.) Looking back, it was such an innocent time in a kinder, gentler world. And your stories and Miss Muriel capture that so well.Please keep writing about this typical small Southern town and its people. It warms my heart.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I consider that high praise. Thank you from the bottom of my heart, Linda. I will just keep doing that. My father took ill in my middle and high school years. Mom would stay home to care for him while I went with others. I'm thinking there is a story in there for that too.
      Nan

      Delete

Comments relevant to the blog post are welcome as long as they are noninflammatory and appropriate for everyone of all ages to read.
Thank you for your interest and input.