CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Sunday began on Saturday. It was the day that my grandmother surveyed her chicken flock and decided which one of them would be in the pot for Sunday dinner.
She would gather up her apron into a container, pour a handful of cracked corn into it, walk into the chicken yard and call chick, chick, chick. The henhouse gang was soon at her feet pecking corn. She would maneuver to be above the chosen victim; in a flash she would have the chicken by the legs. She would secure the wings and feet, go to the chopping block and with an ax sever its head. Then she would scald, pluck, eviscerate and make it pot or skillet ready.
Sunday was a day of rest. No work except what had to be done. Cows were milked, pigs were fed, dog and cat fed. Breakfast was prepared and eaten. The rest was mostly for males. The women had to prepare the biggest meal of the week: Sunday dinner. Much was done early toward preparing that meal because church attendance was a must.
My grandfather sang in the choir. He had a hymnal with shaped notes. The shape of the note determined its musical value. He also had a tuning fork. He would dress early while the women rushed about doing necessary chores and would sit on the porch in a split bottom, strike his tuning fork on the banister and sing quietly to himself. He was practicing for his choir responsibilities.
My grandparents had a closet about the size of a telephone booth. It contained their Sunday best, which wasn't worn except on Sundays and at funerals. Someone always had to tie my grandfather's tie. Aunt Sadie did it for years. I also helped to tie it when I learned how. Grandmother dressed in black with some lace here and there and flat-heeled shoes. Spike heels would not do on country roads. Before leaving for church, my grandmother, whose only income was from the sale of eggs, would call me into her bedroom and take from a purse a dime for me to contribute to the collection at church.
It was time now to depart for church. It was a half mile walk, but all walked. In the early years the walk was a country road, dust in summer and mud in winter. Later a hard surface road was built not far from the house and gave easier access to the church. The church was the Mount Pisgah Methodist. It was a steepled box with wooden benches, a wood-fired stove on either side, a pulpit and a wrap-around railing with a cushioned runner for the sinners to kneel on when confessing sins or converting. My aunt played the organ and grandfather sat with the choir. Grandmother had her friends. I got with my buddies. Sunday was about the only day my buddies and I got to be together in summer months with the exception of a fishing expedition in the Greenbrier on some holidays.
Before preaching, there was Sunday school. The congregation was divided into four groups according to age. Granddad and grandmother sat in one corner of the church with the oldsters. Aunt Sadie taught a class of youth, and I sat with Punk, my buddy, with the teen group, which was taught by Uncle John Carden, who was my mother's uncle and was married to my Grandfather's sister. We always received literature that had Jesus' picture on it and was inscribed with Scripture. The Scripture was the teaching theme for the day.