Sunday Morning, by Donna J. Sreckovic

Norma Exferd walked into St. John’s Lutheran Church in Townsend, Wisconsin, holding her Bible. St. John’s was the church of which her husband had been treasurer, and where some of her six children were married, baptized, or eulogized. Many smiling faces greeted her. Everyone in town knew her or was related to someone who knew her. She was my grandma.
She took her usual place in the first pew on the right side and set down her rarely-used tan handbag, a handbag which usually held nothing more than a once shiny gold compact, some folded Kleenex and a pen from the Suring State Bank. Her long gray hair looked like cotton candy pulled up into a bun, and it was held in place with two tortoise shell combs that framed her deeply creased face. She wore her Sunday best—a light-green, knee-length dress with white polka dots and a matching jacket that had three-quarter sleeves. Grandma’s only jewelry was her thin gold wedding band, a Timex watch, and a rhinestone brooch. Support stockings and tan orthopedic shoes from a mail-order catalogue completed her outfit. Townsend was unincorporated then and didn’t offer much for shopping.
Quiet chatter surrounded her, and she felt at peace. She had lived a hard life. Growing up poor on a farm and raising a family of six on a farm, Grandma always made do. She was full of grace. She admired the beautiful wood carving of the Last Supper displayed below the pulpit—the one she had donated several years earlier in memory of her beloved husband, Hank. She never complained of the pain from a hump on her upper back—especially painful when sitting in a wooden pew.
Looking down at her wrinkled and age-spotted hands folded in prayer atop her matching well-worn King James Bible with dog-eared pages, Grandma drifted back in time.
Her clear, blue eyes welled up with tears as she reminisced about all those who had left her. She always accepted God’s plan. Then she smiled with pride, counting in her still-sharp mind five surviving children, seventeen grandchildren, thirty-four great grandchildren, and seven great great grandchildren. She marveled at the technological changes she had witnessed over the past ninety-six years, from the classic Model A and Model T cars that used to be stored in a shabby wooden shed to the light blue Ford pick-up truck that only Grandpa drove.
Rich organ music resonated throughout the simple church–“I Know That My Redeemer Lives” brought Grandma back to the present. She picked up a hymnal, turned to page two hundred and sixty-four and began to sing. Her heart sang too, and she praised God for another Sunday morning.

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