She always smelled like baby powder on Sunday mornings – it was the scent of innocent times.
My bigmama always put powder on when she took me to church. She’d even sprinkle some across my back before I got dressed. Sundays were for us and the Good Lord, she’d say.Somehow, we could never go meet the Good Lord on Sundays without first stopping by the BigMidget, a neighborhood grocery store two blocks from my bigmama’s house.
She’d drive her early ’70s Chrysler to the front door, hand me $1 and say, “Get a bag full of 5-cent peppermint candies.” It’s how my bigmama and I occupied our time while the preacher shouted in the pulpit.
We’d eat those peppermint balls one by one, doing our best not to crinkle the paper too loudly so the lady wearing the big hat in front of us wouldn’t turn around to complain.
My bigmama always did know how to make me feel as if smiling were the most important part of life. Her tactic for making me smile was peppermints.
Recently, at the funeral of one of her sisters, I sat next to my bigmama to console her. I knew she’d be fidgeting during the eulogy, and my role was to act as comforter.
Ironically, we were in the same church she took me to years before when I was a child. This time, I was the one with the little brown paper bag of goodies.
To see her smile during that time of grief warmed my heart. I think one of the best feelings anyone can have is repaying someone for the love they’ve shown you at some point. I did that day.
I wrote this recently as my “most memorable moment” for part of an application for a summer internship. I share it with you as we enter into the season of thanks, which should be a time to reflect on family.
There are few holidays that aren’t so washed over with commercialism that we remember their true meaning. At Thanksgiving, the pace is slowed … no presents to wrap, no eggs to boil and color and no stomachaches after eating too much chocolate.
Thanksgiving to me is like a revival. It renews the spirit of family.
I walked along the beach one night recently and gazed into the sky. It was sort of weird, I thought. I couldn’t see the stars unless I looked long enough. The same can happen with family.
As a child, I would sit outside under the stars and pick out the constellations. As I grew older, the stars didn’t shine any dimmer. I just stopped taking time to watch them sparkle.
My family has never stopped cheering for me, praying for me or loving me. But somewhere along the way, I became so focused on the game of life that I didn’t notice the fans – my family.
I’ll use this Thanksgiving as a time-out, a time to reflect on the lessons I’ve learned growing up, like how to love.
This fall has been a roller-coaster of events for people nationwide. We could all take some time to look at the sky a moment longer until we see the stars.
- Kevin Graham is The Oracle editor in firstname.lastname@example.org