As Easter grows closer with each passing Sunday, I am reminded once again of the Easter’s at my grandparents, Charles Otto and Lottie Rosetta Underwood’s house in Roaring Springs, Texas. Just those names have a certain surreality about them. As a young boy I remember many, many aunts. My mother had nine sisters and two brothers. I can see them all as they were when I was a child. Young, because it has been a long time since I was a boy, beautiful, just because they all were, inside and out. Together those 12 children in 1970 had approximately 44 grandchildren and twenty something great grandchildren. I shudder to think of how many there would be now if all were counted, for many grandchildren had not been born until after 1970. I only remember this because that was the year my grandfather passed away and that was part of his legacy in his eulogy, I was 12. On most Easters at least six or seven of the aunts were present. It seems they all had a child we could play with, many our own age, as you might imagine. Easters were as much a family reunion as they were a celebration of Christ’s resurrection. We would gather at the tabernacle, one place that was large enough to support the descension of so many people. My grandmother was still completely viable at that time and while she may not have had to do as much work as the aunts in preparation, she was still there along with them. My aunties loved their mom and dad. So, as many aunts as were there, so were there uncles. If I do the math correctly, with 12 grown children all married, just themselves and their spouses makes 24 people, 26 with grandma and grandpa. Of course, not all of these were present at the same time, but you get the idea that there were enough offspring produced by my grandparents that there could have easily been a baseball team or small township. Preparation began at each aunt’s home, they would bring what they had prepared and continued to cook and prepare before church and after church, because whether my uncle Joe Martin or Donald Martin were present, we were going to have church. My mom’s family comes from a long line of Pentecostal teaching. There were more preachers in the family than most towns had for their parishes. As I take a pause in remembrance here, this was one of the most absolute favorite times of year for us. It brought together family in a way that is seldom done anymore. We had a huge Easter egg hunt after a huge meal, and you guessed it, we had a lot of prayer and preaching. If you weren’t saved when you left, it was surely the devils fault, because the GOSPEL was certainly present there. I can remember my mom and her sisters singing hymns as their sister Mary played the piano. This family was very musical. Many had voices of angels, including my mother. I will never forget what my mom said the last time she picked up a guitar to play. “It’s been too long now, all I can do is cord”. It is the memory and the picture made of her doing this that is so special. It was an amazing family to grow up in, with amazing cousins that were as close as brothers and sisters. Grandparents that were never too busy, especially my grandpa, what a special man! Aunts that took care of one another’s children as their own and expected the sisters to discipline their children as they would their own. Earlier I said I had 24 aunts and uncles. As I count today, I have 4 aunts and 3 uncles. That leaves 7 to tell me the stories of how it used to be, bitter sweet memories. By recognizing Easter, we understand that it is the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the tomb on what was the third day after his crucifixion. I am a professed Christian, but I also claim to be equally as spiritual. For me, my perception, I look around and see the wonders of this old world and know it did not make itself. I suppose this is a testimony of faith and for those who do not believe, just remember we all fall short sometimes, I know I certainly do, and it’s ok to question the higher power. I believe he expects us to. I guess I am just naïve enough or feel it safe enough to say, “He’s not finished with me yet”, because I know I say and do things every day that are not pleasing to him. I am a firm believer that prayer is answered in his time, in his way. Sometimes the prayer I pray may be answered short, very short of what I have prayed for, or about. But, you can believe without your even knowing it, your prayer is being answered. You see, that deep root of spirituality comes from within, at a moment you’re not expecting to be a witness, a time like now.
Copyright @coffeewithcharles.blog (Charles D. Grant)