This past weekend I was fortunate enough to get to see my mother baptized, and I can’t tell you how thankful I am for the opportunity, though probably not for the reasons you think. Although my mother’s faith is important to me, it just didn’t happen to be the most entertaining thing going.
First, you’re going to need a little background. As a young man, I watched my mother, who couldn’t swim out of a bathtub of Jell-O (and I mean that literally — the woman can’t swim a lick), learn to water ski and fall without getting her hair wet.
Remember, my mother’s generation is the Aqua Net generation, so even if she had let her head go under, it wouldn’t have mattered. Lake Hartwell would have just beaded right off.
So, when my mother told me she was going to be dunked in the good old Baptist tradition, I wouldn’t have missed it for the world. She survived the dunking, but there was a heavy sheen of hairspray still floating on the surface afterwards, so new converts beware.
My mother has always been somewhat faithful when it came to her religion in one form or another my entire life, and if there has ever been a woman who deserved sainthood for raising a son, it’s her. So her placement in the afterlife wasn’t a concern. What I was looking forward to was my family — which never, ever fails to satisfy and entertain.
Finally, after getting out of the waders I wore to take pictures in the old baptismal, we as a family gathered together to celebrate religion with food, apparently a tradition passed down through ages and ages of Southerners who know you can’t have God without a little “God, that’s delicious!”
But, considering how religion has changed and there are services at all hours now, we were way too early for lunch, or even brunch, which really limited our choices.
Moody family reunion at the Waffle House!
You would think of all places, this would be a safe one for our get-together, but not so. For those of you who know me, you know I can be a handful almost all the time. Guess what? I have three older sisters who taught me everything I know. I just perfected what they played at.
So here we all are, laughing, drinking coffee, and telling stories on one another that shouldn’t be shared in private much less public, and I can only imagine how my dad felt. Poor guy, he’s always been the one who was sort of the odd man out.
He’s quiet, reserved and believes that an opinion doesn’t need to be shared just because you think it. I don’t know how he’s made it this long, except for the woman he’s been married to since he was a boy, it seems. Almost 60 years and counting, which is a long time to do anything. I have to admit, I don’t know if I could do anything that long, even work as a taster in a pie factory.
So I take a long quiet look around and see my parents, my sons, my sisters, and some of my nieces and nephews, and I was moved. I couldn’t help but think how long it had been since we had all been in one place and enjoyed nothing but smiling and jokes at one another’s expense.
It made me miss being a kid and having those family gatherings where we played football or baseball and nothing else mattered. I realized sitting there, looking at them all and the happiness that was obvious, and knew we had lost our way.
I also realized it was time for that to change, except next time, I think I’ll suggest something a little more upscale. Why? Because if this family didn’t bother anyone eating at the time, we need to be somewhere our behavior will be reviewed a little more closely.
D. C. Moody is a staff writer for The Easley Progress, The Pickens Sentinel and Powdersville Post and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Views expressed in this column are those of the writer only and do not represent the newspaper’s opinion.