'Sunday Week'Editor's note: A look at the activities one...

STORY TIME

September 12, 1999|By Dinah Johnson

'Sunday Week'

Editor's note: A look at the activities one community takes part in all week long as it waits for Sunday, the best day of all.

Blue Monday,

everybody's got

the Monday morning blues.

On those

true blue Mondays

the whole neighborhood

has the blues.

The grown-ups don't

want to go to work

and the children don't

want to go to school.

Miss Clara says,

"One day at a time,

sweet Jesus,

that's all I'm asking from you."

The double Dutch champions

of the neighborhood

practice every

Tuesday afternoon,

step step step step,

high high high high,

while people go on

about their business

hurrying here and there.

The champions

keep on keeping on

stepping quick,

stepping high

as the rest of the world

passes by.

Wednesday evenings

Deacon Johnson heads for

choir practice at Lovely Hill

Baptist Church.

Yusef hands out flyers for

a meeting at the mosque.

Desiree lights a candle in the

cathedral and says a prayer

for the people she loves.

Every Thursday, every week,

we sit in a circle

with Miss Augusta,

surrounded by books

filled with magic words.

We can taste them

and hear them

and feel them

and fashion them --

speak words written

and said long ago

to make today

and tomorrow our own.

On Fridays the fishman

cooks for everybody

on the block,

frying brim and catfish

and flounder.

"Just like Jesus

feeding the multitudes,"

Brother Gilliard likes to say.

Hush puppies like loaves,

Kool-Aid in the coolers,

happiness in the hellos,

music in the air.

Finally Friday.

Saturday is workday --

wash those clothes and

hang them out to dry.

Wax the kitchen floor

until it shines.

While you're at it,

wax the car too.

Work and work some more

until there's nothing left to do.

Our mamas don't allow

any work on the seventh day,

so Saturday before we play

we have to get ready

for the Lord's Day.

Come Sunday

come sunrise,

the church bells

make it sound like

heaven is right here

Come Sunday

come sunrise,

the old folks and

some of the young ones

whisper a little prayer.

At Lovely Hill

we squirm

on the hard seats

until the church mother

gives us a look that means,

be quiet and listen

to the words

from the Holy Book.

Fans are fanning,

toes are tapping,

coins are clinking

in the offering plate.

The fingers of the organist

do a dance all their own.

The singers in the choir

lift their arms

and in those robes

they look like they mean it

when they sing

"I'll fly away, fly away home."

Reverend Wright

shakes every hand,

calling everybody by name,

saying, "Glad you came."

But now he's hungry

like the people

in his congregation

heading home

for Sunday dinner --

food for all God's people,

saints and sinners.

There's fried chicken

coated with Big Mama's

secret recipe.

There's Carolina rice and

black-eyed peas and cornbread

and yams and greens,

just-squeezed lemonade,

and tea and pecan pie.

But today wouldn't be Sunday

without a Sunday drive.

Doesn't matter if you go

near or far

as long as everybody

fits in the car.

Cousins on top of cousins' laps,

with this kind of trip

you don't need a map.

Just go where the road goes

or go where the heart goes

and you'll find yourself

at the home of friends.

Come Sunday

come sunset,

it's about time to get

on the way back home,

waving God be with you

until we meet again.

Come Sunday...

From SUNDAY WEEK by Dinah Johnson, illustrations by Tyrone Geter. Copyright c 1999 by Dinah Johnson. Illustrations copyright c 1999 by Tyrone Geter. Reprinted by arrangement with Henry Holt and Company.

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