Archive for the ‘church’ category

The Haggard Sisters

June 18, 2009

I am not a fan of Hillary Clinton, but I must agree with what she said about  “It takes a village to raise a child”.  I’ve come to realize the truth to this statement as I have reflected on all the people in my life who helped to raise me.  My parents, of course, but so many more people impacted my life, and helped to shape and develop my personality, spirituality, goals and dreams, and all other aspects of my life. 

Through this blog, I am chronicling my life story.  I have mentioned my parents, grandparents, siblings, a couple of my aunts, and a high school music teacher.  A few weeks ago, my sweet Aunt Mable passed away.  She was 92.  She was my mother’s sister.  My mother and my Aunt Margaret preceded her in death.  You might remember Aunt Mable and Aunt Margaret from a previous blog post.  They were pranksters!  They are  in the picture below.

Seated -A. Margaret, Standing, L to R A. Mable, A. Wanda, A. Nina

Seated -A. Margaret, Standing, L to R A. Mable, A. Wanda, A. Nina

My aunts lived full lives.  They were fun people!  I want to be a fun person. 

I spent a lot of time with my maternal aunts, and my cousins.  We lived within a few miles of each other, so we were at each others houses often. 

Like Mother, Aunt Mable was an extraordinary cook.  She was the supervisor and head cook for a technological college in Knoxville for many years.  You talk about some good eating!  A family get-together, starring the prize winning dishes, cooked by my mother and aunts, was enviable.  I say prize winning, because they competed at the Tennessee Valley A & I Fair, and took home many blue ribbons for their baking.

Aunt Margaret was quite the seamstress.  She could sew anything!  And, she could do it without a pattern to follow.  She taught me a number of short cuts when I was learning to sew; things like how to sew in sleeves.  This tip saved me many hours of time.  She encouraged me in my sewing, and complimented me on a job well done.

Aunt Mable let me hang out with her as a teenager.  Her son, Phil, was a close friend, and we double-dated.  Mother and Daddy allowed me, on occasion, to go to Sunday evening services with Phil and Aunt Mable.  There may have been an ulterior motive in my wanting to go, since my boyfriend also went to that church.  On the way home, we would sing those old hymns we had sung in church.

Anytime any of us got together there was music, or singing, involved.  I particularly remember one incident with Aunt Mable.  Her daughter, Betty Lou, my sister Nene, my Aunt Wanda, and me in the car.  I don’t remember where we were going, but we started singing.  I unashamedly say that we harmonized amazingly as we sang “Country Roads, Take Me Home”, and a gamut of other songs.  It’s funny how a seemingly insignificant moment can create a memory that lasts a lifetime.

My Aunt Nina is one of the most unique individuals I have ever known.  She took great care of herself, long before exercise was a household word.  She could roller skate.  I was awed that she could skate backwards.  She swam and walked, to add to her physical regimen.  I love her laugh!  It’s contagious.   She was an encourager to me, too.  I was 15 years old, when she came over to the house one day.  I was sitting at the sewing machine.  She came over to look at what I was making.  “Pamela, you’re going to save some man a lot of money one day.”   she admired.  Her words echoed in my mind as I sewed clothes for my three daughters, and as I made various items for gift shops.  That one sentence gave me confidence in my sewing, a skill I was able to use professionally.

Aunt Wanda is the youngest of the sisters.  A career woman, she had a lot of wisdom to impart to my young, impressionable mind.  I look more like her than any of my other aunts.  She calls us twins.  I have many memories with my Aunt Wanda, but one that really stuck was when my husband was in Vietnam.  I was only 19 years old at the time.  All my friends were still dating; going out on the weekends.  I was lonely.   I had moved back home with my parents while my husband was gone to war.  One night, they invited Aunt Wanda to spend the night.  She loved being at our house as much as we enjoyed having her.  She slept with me that night.  We talked and laughed into the night.  She told me that she felt sorry for me, because I was so young ,and I was going through missing my husband. (We had our first anniversary while he was away.)  The tears started to flow from my eyes.  She was a strong comfort for me that night, and I’ve never told her that. 

Why am I telling you all of this?  It’s because they were mentors to me.  It’s because they believed in me, enabling me to believe in myself.  It’s because we should be aware of the kind of impact we are having on the lives of those around us.   

Are we creating memories, or are we simply existing?  Is our impact positive or negative?  What will be remembered about us, after we are gone? 

From my aunts I learned that:

1. Extended family is an important part of that village that raises us.

2. Encouraging words give hope.

3. If you don’t want to laugh, don’t hang around with the Haggard sisters.


Prankster Gets Caught

May 29, 2009

Continued from last post, “Ridgecrest Baptist Assembly”:

Donnie was Mrs. Trivette’s son.  He and we became partners in mischief early on.  A trouble maker recognizes another trouble maker.

Nene went into our dorm room to change clothes.  She turned to the closet to get her clothes, and noticed shoes on the floor that didn’t match any that belonged to her, plus they had feet in them!  Screaming, while grabbing at the hangers to unveil the intruder, she came face-to-face with Donnie.  This was the launch of the prankster war among  the youth at Knox County Lodge.

Nene was working in the kitchen with Donnie.  He tossed water onto Nene, soaking her clothing.  He was wiry and fast, so he took off running, before she could get him back….but she had a plan!  When Payne’s devise a plan, all I can say is beware.

Nene giggled as she filled the mop bucket full of ice water.  She knew that Donnie has made his way down to the kitchen the next morning.  She decided that she would climb on a ladder, and as he came through the door to the stairwell, she would dump the bucket of water on him from “heaven”. 

She could barely contain herself as she anticipated how good it was going to be to pull over such a prank on her archenemy.  She heard Donnie talking, so she knew he was in there.  It was just a matter of time. 

The sound of footsteps was getting closer and closer.  Nene held the bucket in ready-fire position.  As soon as that door opened, she poured the contents on the person below.  Horse-laughing, she looked down to revel in her victory only to see Mrs. Trvitte looking up, in utter shock.  She was not amused by the cold, icy water, that dripped from her hair and chin like the outcome of a Three Stooges stunt.  She was not one bit jovial, nor did she take off running.  Nene’s face was a whiter shade of pale as she imagined the consequences of dumping water on the Resident Director.

Suffice to say that she never did that again, and it took quite a while to get back in Mrs. Trivette’s good graces.

I think Nene made a point to go to worship (and repentance) service that night.

From this experience I learned that:

1. If you dish it out, you had better be prepared to take it.

2. Ridgecrest was an humbling place.

3. I would never agree to be a Resident Director for a building full of mischievous young people.

Daring to Date

March 27, 2009

The Payne girls had to be sixteen to go on a car date. Boys could sit with us in church, or we could go on group dates, like a banquet at church when we were fourteen, but nothing where we would be alone or unsupervised.

I had a big crush on a guy at my high school. I had been wishin’ and hopin’ and plannin’ and dreamin’ for this guy to ask me out. All those positive thoughts came to be when he invited me to a football game. I was so excited I couldn’t stand it! I counted the days until Friday night came.

Another rule was that we were not to answer the door when our date arrived. Mother or Daddy was to let him in and spend a reasonable amount of time getting to know him before we could make our entrance into the room.

Don knocked on the door and Mother invited him in, as I anxiously waited in the hallway outside the living room. After the introductions were over and the “What does your daddy do?” and “Are you planning to go to college?” questions were over, I knew it was safe for me to enter.

Nervously, I made my way into the living room, where my dream date was seated…also nervously. You can only imagine how mortified I was as I stood in disbelief at hearing the words that were escaping my father’s mouth. “Now son, I give you to understand that my daughter isn’t a salt block for any old bull that comes along to lick on. Have her home by eleven. You two have a good time.”

He did NOT just say that! You could hear a pin drop. “Dad-deeey!” I moaned. Don picked his bottom lip off of the floor and escorted me out the door. He didnt’ have much to say to me for a few minutes. It was an awkward silence. Even though Dad said he was teasing, it didn’t sound like it. I felt it totally unnecessary to make such a remark, and I was mad at him for days.

The date went well, but we didn’t date for long. Summertime came and since we didn’t have a telephone, it was hard to ask a girl out. I guess he figured it wasn’t worth the drive to see me if he was going to have to face the judge and jury every time he visited. I can’t say that I blame him.

Our cufew was always ten or eleven o’clock. That is until I agreed to go to Harry’s prom with him. Harry was a pitiful, ugly guy from church that noone would go out with. He had a crush on me. He asked me to the prom three months ahead of time. I didn’t have an excuse to say no, so I agreed. I dreaded going so badly. My parents knew this. Harry wasn’t a threat! When he came to pick me up that night, Daddy told me it didn’t matter how late he kept me out!! Again…mortified! I endured the boring date, and told him that I needed to be home by nine, because I had to study my Sunday School lesson. He bought it. Poor guy.

I can’t really fault my parents too much. I owe them a debt of gratitude in many respects, but when I was sixteen going on seventeed, I didn’t understand. I made a lot of the same rules for my own daughters, though I didn’t say things that would embarrass them in front of their dates. My daughters would tell you that they are thankful for the boundaries that we set. It showed that we cared. I agree that it did.

I learned from my dating experiences that:

1. Boys didn’t always have my best interest in mind.

2. That my parents did!

3. That the embarrassing your kids approach was not something I would perpetrate in parenting.

Come back for my next post, when I tell you about Donna’s mortifying experiences with Mother and dating. You won’t believe this one!

Saturday Morning Hair Salon

February 14, 2009

The Knox County Baptist Mission was supported by area churches, and primarily First Baptist Church, in Knoxville, Tennessee, where we were members.  Daddy had been called to be the pastor for the mission.  He and Mother wanted us to enjoy the advantages of being a part of a large church, so Suz and I went to the main church, while Mother and Dad were ministering at the mission.  Nene played the piano for their church services, but  joined us on Wednesday and Sunday nights at the main church, as did Mother and Daddy.  To leave Suz and I to our own devices, probably wasn’t the wisest decision, but that’s another story for another time.

Our parent’s work at the mission was hard, and often discouraging, but they persevered and had an impact on many people’s lives who passed through there.  They picked up children on the way to church, so our car was full every time we made the trip.  We didn’t have seat belts.  They hadn’t been invented yet.  We crammed as many people in the car as we possibly could, and then some.  It was a happy time.  The car was as full of laughter as it was people.  For these “underprivileged” children, it was quite probably the only lighthearted time of their young lives, to that point.  They faced such hardships with alcoholic parents and/or abusive parents, that they were hungry for attention and love.

On Saturdays we went to the mission to help get the women and children ready for church on Sunday.  Daddy cut hair.  Mother, Nene, Reva, and I washed and rolled hair.  We had two or three hair dryers that we brought along with us.  Do you remember the ones with the caps?  They had a hose from the cap to the motor.  The motor blew heat into the cap to dry the hair.  We taught them how to style their hair, how to apply make-up, and how to act like a lady.

Minstering to the physical needs of the people was vital.  It boosted their self-esteem.  They learned skills that would serve them well when they went  to apply for jobs.  We were doing something for them that would have a lasting impact.

I was fifteen years old at the time.  I had grown up learning to serve others.  It came naturally by the time I was fifteen.  The compassion that was taught to us by our parents’ example will never be forgotten.  I was thinking today how the past couple of generations haven’t had the privilege to observe or practice serving others.  I feel sorry for them.  They have missed so much, mainly the purpose of living!

Our parents taught us well how to look out for our brothers and sisters.  Not just the ones we had by birth, but the ones we met along the way.  For this I am thankful!


Daddy Cutting Hair


Mother Styling Hair

Pam Brushing Hair

Pam Brushing Hair

Funny Things Happen At Church

November 30, 2008

Last weekend I had the best time!  It had been several months since I had the opportunity to go to Knoxville to visit with Donna and Nene,  so when I saw a break in my schedule I took advantage of it.  Did we ever make up for lost time!  We checked out a few restaurants, shopped, celebrated my nephew’s birthday, and sat around and talked about old times.  It didn’t take us long to launch the giggles. 

Any time we get together, one of our favorite topics of conversation is all the funny things that happened at church.  We generally revisit the same old stories, but this time a new memory emerged from the cobwebs of our brains.  Donna said, “Do you remember how we used to take the hymnal out of the rack during church and hold our fingers over the words to make up a new title?”  We dissolved into laughter as we recalled the various combinations.  “Where Is My Wandering Boy Tonight…..In The Garden” was one example.  “Yes, and we used to add words to the songs while we were singing, too.”  added Nene.  The corners of my mouth stretched far across my teeth as I held my tummy, enduring the sweet agony of laughter.  “Love lifted me….put me down.”  was one that I remembered, along with, “I was sinking deep in sin….yippee!”.  Oh my, we were so irreverant.  Playing hymn havoc was harmless.

We didn’t mean any sacrilege.  One has to understand that we practically lived at church.  We were there every time the doors were opened, and more.  We loved going to church, we loved God, and we didn’t like to miss any sessions, but sometimes acting up in church was worth getting a spanking, just to relieve the sameness of the routine.  Our happiest moments were spent in church, or at church functions.   We have shaken the pews many times with our uncontrolable observance of the hilarity of a given situation.  We can’t help it, it is engrained in our very being.  

Before I could read, I thought that to be able to sing those hymns you had to go to the front of the church and pray with the preacher.  After you prayed, you would somehow automatically know the words to the song. 

We didn’t have children’s church back in the day.  All the children were in the worship service with the adults.  Children worship in precious abandon and purity.  They also react to funny things….out loud!  If a soloist was bad, we laughed.  If a preacher got his “Ah Ha brother” going, we laughed.  If Billy Wilson was picking his nose, we giggled.  When Sammy Mitchell slid on the floor on his belly from the front pew and popped up on the back one, we snickered.  When his mother, Thelma, sat and flipped Samson’s socks during the “preaching”, we got tickled.  Honestly, what would you have done?  I don’t see how the adults kept a straight face.  Well…sometimes they didn’t.

Daddy was preaching, “There’s nothing more disgusting than these men running around in shorts.  They look like lemons with toothpicks stuck in them!”  I’m sorry, but that’s funny, I don’t care who you are.  The adults laughed.  I supposed there is an appropriate time to laugh in church.  Children don’t know the difference.

I still love going to church.  I look forward to the music, sermons, and fellowship.  Sometimes I get tickled.  My parents, if still living, would give me a good talkin’ to.  Somehow, I believe that they might be smiling along with me, nodding in agreement that it is okay to see the merriment of the funny things at church.  At least, I’d like to think so.

Keep Your Dentures In Your Mouth

September 12, 2008

Going to church every Sunday was not something we discussed on Saturday night.  It was understood, no questions asked.  We were supposed to look our very best, wear our best clothes, and act like somebody!  We weren’t to chew gum at church, and we absolutely weren’t supposed to laugh, unless it was appropriate.

One of the gentlemen in our church felt the call to the ministry.  He was a sincere man, so Daddy let him have the pulpit one Sunday.  I was in the choir, which had a perfect vantage point when it came to being able to see everything that was going on in the congregation, and behind the pulpit.  My sister was sitting next to me…bad mistake! 

The preacher got his ‘preach’ on.  He was slapping his Bible against the podium, and walking from side to side across the stage.    All of sudden, we caught sight of something flying across in front of us.  It was his false teeth!  Evidently he had not used his Polygrip that morning.  He immediately covered his mouth and called on someone to pray.  “Dear Father…” the prayer began as he hit the deck to retrieve his teeth.

My sister and I got so tickled that the movement of our shaking shoulders was vibrating the pew.  There’s nothing worse than having to stifle giggles.  Our faces turned red, and tears began to stream down our faces.  We could not control the laughter.  Every time we would dare to glance each others way, it would start all over again. 

We weren’t successful at sinking our teeth into that sermon.  However, we did catch Hell, once Daddy got us home.

Shake, Rattle, and Roll

August 20, 2008

Suzanne is the baby of the family; child number six.  She had long, blonde, ringlets that hung to her waist.  (She still has hair, just not long or in ringlets. LOL)  I called her Foofanne or Foofie.  Don’t ask me why, it was one of those silly moments we were sharing, and the name stuck.

Suz was a happy child.  She sang all the time!  She was singing solos in church by age four.  “Bye and Bye, when the morning comes.  All the saints of God are gathered home.  We will tell the story, how we’ve overcome.  We will understand it better bye and bye.”  The voice that emitted from that tiny body would shake the rafters. 

Suz loved going to church.  As with all of us, she would get bored and fidgety during Daddy’s long winded sermons.  Mother told her to put some things in her purse to occupy her.  Daddy was wound up.  ” I tell you, friends, there’ll be a PRICE to pay for all these people who are throwing away their money on these GAMBLING tables, while their little children go barefoot!”  His red face reflected the conviction in his voice.  “Amen”  “Preach it brother.”  and other affirmations resounded through the congregation.  “The devil looooooooves to break up families! ”  Daddy’s voice had reached fever pitch, his message prodded by the voices in one accord, encouraging him to preach on.  About this time, a few seconds of quiet changed the tone of the entire service.  For, during this moment of silence, when everyone was absorbing the dynamic spoken words, the click, click, click could be heard all over the room.  All eyes shifted to the innocent four-year old, sitting on the front pew.  Suz was rolling dice on the hard, wooden pew.  She had her monopoly money and cards laid out in front of her.  Fully engaged in her game, she made no connection between what she was doing and Daddy’s sermon.  An extended silence fell over the room.  Snickers and muffled laughter broke their way through the heavy cloud of anxious anticipation.  It was like a ping pong match; eyes volleying their way from the pulpit to Suz, and back to the pulpit, where Daddy stood in stunned disbelief.   After a few seconds, he gathered his wits and threw himself back into his message of condemnation. 

After that episode,  purses were checked at the door, before we left for church.