SUNDAY SCHOOL BLUES
As a kid, I never liked going to church.
All that standing up and sitting down again. Mumbling words to hymns that no one knew how to sing. Getting up Sunday morning and having to put on a suit and tie and dress shoes. It was too early. My day hadn't even gotten into gear yet. I was too young to drink coffee. Maybe if I'd had a few cups of coffee in me and a cigarette like my mother did church wouldn't have been such a God awful experience.
My mother believed it was essential for me to go to Sunday school. I slumped into the backseat of the car in my dress clothes, and rode to the church as a convict rides the short bus to prison. She dropped me off at the door and I went inside and climbed the stairs to the Sunday school classroom. I sat in an uncomfortable chair in a semi circle with kids I didn't know. The Sunday school teacher might have had us say a prayer to begin the session. I imagine lessons followed but I don't remember any of them because they were boring. I fidgeted, waiting for the time to pass so I could get the hell out of there.
Occasionally I'd be forced to attend the regular church service with all the dressed up adults. I'd watch the people in the choir as they walked past me and sang the opening hymn. I could tell these people thoroughly enjoyed singing. I suspected most of them went the church to sing rather than to get enlightened. When they weren't singing a hymn, they sat there in their robes staring at other people
Plates were passed around. People dropped envelopes with money into them or dollar bills. The same guys always did the plate passing. They'd pass the plates half way down one side of the seating sections and back again. There was nothing to do while this went on except sit there on a stiff wooden bench and pray that this thing would be over before I lost my mind.
I never paid any attention to the sermon because it wasn't interesting. Once the sermon ended I knew the end was near. The benediction was delivered, the minister and his choir went down the aisle, and the rest of us quickly piled in behind them.
It took longer to get out of church than it did to get in there because as everyone filed out they stopped to shake hands with the minister. I shook hands with him too. Thats probably how I got colds and flu. I didn't wash my hands after I got back home. I had the germs of one hundred people or more on my right hand .
Then it happened. I didn't have to go to church anymore. I think it was because my mother got to the point where she wanted to sleep in on Sunday morning instead of getting up, getting dressed, and driving us to church. I felt liberated. Freed from the stuffy Sunday school classroom and from the moody blue mood of the Sunday morning church service.
Thank God for that.