If you've followed my blog for very long or read my profile on my sidebar then you know I'm the daughter of a preacher-man. For as long as I can remember my father was a student of the Word and because of his ministry I was exposed to many amazing things during my childhood. As a young girl I didn't fully understand the impact some of those early life-lessons would have upon my life, or years later just how they would affect me as I grew into adulthood.
Sunday was always a busy day at our home. We were up early and rarely missed church. We had to be on our death-bed or at the very least laden with a high fever to get out of going. I tried faking being sick a few times, but I was always busted. After morning services ended as a family we returned home for lunch. Rarely was dining out an option as my father's meager income couldn't afford the luxury of a restaurant meal. By early afternoon my brother Bill and I, along with our father, piled back into our ratty-trap car (I know this because ALL the cars we ever owned were junkers!) and drove about ten miles to a convalescent home to minister to the aged and afflicted. We did this three Sundays out of four each month until we were in our early teens...
I suppose it's important to tell you here that although I willingly went with my father to these services
sometimes most times I didn't want to go. Although my dad never forced me to go with him, I just could never actually bring myself to tell him I wanted to stay home. Instead of singing to a bunch of old people, who were either out of their minds or sleeping, I just want to run and play outside with my friends.
On most of our trips to the nursing home my brother would pass out hymnals and I would almost always sing and play my guitar. It was in these simple, unsophisticated meetings I learned what it meant to have a compassionate heart for the sick and infirmed. It would take another three decades before I would come to appreciate the experience and today I hold the memory of our convalescent services as one of my best. I'm so glad I didn't stay home.
When the nursing home service concluded Bill and I knew our father would treat us both to something special. It was never much...a small ice-cream float at the local A&W or a bottle of pop from Market Basket. Sometimes he'd buy us a tiny box of candy, but usually it was a sweet, fizzy concoction of our own choosing. Together we would open the cooler's lid and pull out whatever soda fit our fancy on that day. Bill never picked the same thing twice and my dad, if he could afford three bottles, always drank Dr. Pepper...
But for me, being the kind of thinker I am, I had the picking out of my soda down to an art. My logic was simple. I would simply pick the biggest bottle of pop for the least amount of money... And without a doubt it was always BUBBLE-UP. Most soda pop bottles back then were 12oz or 16oz...but not Bubble-Up! It held a whopping 18oz (which was alotta pop back then!) and I promise you I savored ever tiny drop.
I rarely (if ever) drink soda anymore... But while on our mini vacation over Thanksgiving I visited a small store out west and sitting right in front of me was a four pack of Bubble-Up. My heart skipped a beat and I instantly was transported back to the age of ten. It was as if the last 40 years had never passed for I could feel myself standing along side my father and brother with my trusty icy cold, lemon-lime drink in hand.
What I understand today is that those bottles of pop often took my father's last few coins.
He gave us all he had and we didn't even realize it.
As I type this my only brother and his wife are driving from Southern Cali to Oklahoma (20 plus hour trip) to be here to watch my beloved, my Mr. AGPMan, receive his college diploma. As a family we will celebrate with joy!
While here we will also travel down to the nursing home where our father still resides for a long overdue visit. I'll take my guitar and my brother will take his and together we will sing and play for a special aged and infirmed man, just like we did as children...
And just in case we get thirsty I'll have three bottles of soda in my satchel...
An Orange Crush for Bill.
Dr. Pepper for my Daddy.
And Bubble-Up for me.
Blessings as the memories help carry you through...
Love to you~