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Sunday, April 4, 2010

Honk if you love Sunrise Services


It was Easter morning. My mother flicked on the light in my room and shook me awake. I tried to bully the sleep from my eyes with my fists, but when I saw the dark purple sky outside, I pulled the covers over my head and rolled over. My snoozing was snatched away when my mother returned, pulled off the covers, and forced me into action.

I was seven years old, and my sister was eight. We dragged ourselves to the car, grumbling about being tired. Sunrise Easter service was not as exciting as catching a few more winks of sleep. How could we sing praises to the Lord with a merry heart, when we didn’t even have the energy to sit up? My mother relented, tossed a couple of blankets into the car, and we were off to church.

A piano, pulpit, and the choir gathered behind the church on a precipice that overlooked a pasture. As the service progressed, the sun rose over rolling hills, providing worshipers with a picturesque view behind the preacher.

My mother placed us in the front and back seats as she draped blankets over our lifeless bodies, then joined the choir. There must have been something magical in the way the piano played, for once the music hit our ears, our weary bodies were resurrected with new life.

I’m sure my sister started it. She might tell you otherwise, but don’t believe her. I was watching the service and soaking in the music, when she attacked me. I had no choice but to defend myself. We were locked in mortal combat when my sister tumbled backwards and sat on the horn. It was loud and long. We looked to see if anyone noticed. The windows were now fogged up, so we assumed that if we couldn’t see out, they couldn’t see in.

I dove to the back seat, and my sister followed. We then dove to the front seat. My sister fell against the horn again. Another long blare. I fought to regain control of the battle, and grabbed the only thing within my grasp. It wasn’t the horn. It was the steering wheel. However, as I pulled myself up, my elbow hit the horn and it blasted the congregation again. But that was my sister’s fault, because she was pushing down on me.

We continued to leap back and forth like two squirrels fighting for territory. At last count, we had made twenty-five leaps across the seats, and only four horn blares. Three for her, but only one for me. All things considered, that was a pretty good percentage. Have you ever tried hand-to-hand combat in a cramped car without hitting the horn?

My mother and father weren’t happy. After arriving home, my sister and I weren’t happy. For some reason, my mother wasn’t impressed with the fact that only one horn honk was the result of physical contact with my body. She describes the scene as a car, rocking violently with an occasional blasting of the horn. Like my sister and I, she was also grateful that the windows were fogged up so no one could identify the children inside. Unfortunately, everyone watched my parents climb into the car.

This was the day I discovered that car horns were distractions to outdoor services, and that my parents do not enjoy being humiliated in front of the church. When the Easter Bunny came to deliver our baskets, my dad shot him and my mother buried his corpse in the back yard – along with the treats he’d brought for good boys and girls.

Few churches conduct sunrise services these days, but if they do, and you are disposed to go, do not leave weary children in the car. If you do, be sure to disconnect the battery or disable the horn. Have a happy Easter!


Eddie Snipes

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