Homecoming

Do you remember Homecoming at your church? I’ve been to many of them, from my childhood through adulthood, but the best memories I have of them are the ones when I was around 8 or 9 years old. I’m sure I have great memories of later ones too, but when I think of Homecoming, it’s those days that come to memory. It’s the middle of summer, the season for Homecoming, hence the memories.

I remember the crowds. The church pews were always full with visiting family members, people who came to visit for the weekend and church members that didn’t always make it on a regular basis. My family’s church was a small one by today’s standards, but was moderate to large for our neighborhood. There would be a visiting pastor, usually one that had ministered our church before, and we’d have an all day singing, eating and visiting time.

The singing would be a bit discordant, I bet, but everyone in the choir (including a redheaded little girl) sang with enthusiasm. And then the preacher would spend at least forty-five minutes preaching, usually loudly. Homecoming always occurred during the summer and our church didn’t have air conditioning, so every woman in the place had funeral home fans in their hands trying to stir the air. The pungent smell of perfume, sweat and the food stored downstairs in the basement fellowship hall combined to make an interesting and unforgettable mix.

After the preaching, we’d all troop downstairs for food. Long tables were filled with food, from fried chicken to beef, chicken and dumplings, and every summer vegetable you could think of and some I didn’t dare try to identify. My favorite meal for those days consisted of fried chicken, deviled eggs, rolls and fresh cucumbers and tomato slices. And then there were the drinks. My mother and dad didn’t think soda was something you should drink on a daily basis, so a soda was a treat. The Homecoming drinks were stored in tubs of ice, so the drinks were cold and wonderful. Orange Crush was my favorite, or Grape.

And the desserts? Yum! German Chocolate cake, banana pudding, rice pudding, and pies galore. Always more than anyone could eat.

After we stuffed ourselves, we’d trudge upstairs again and have more singing. Finally, at the end of the day, we’d return home, hopefully with an extra slice of cake for the next day.

Do you remember Homecoming? What is your favorite memory?

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