catalenamara (catalenamara) wrote,
catalenamara
catalenamara

On my knees in front of the altar (with the furniture polish)

One of my jobs as a preacher’s kid, from the age of 13 or 14 on, was cleaning the church and the meeting hall every Saturday. I actually got paid for this, so I can’t complain. I can’t say I ever felt much of a sense of holiness inside the church, but when you’ve dusted and polished all the pews and the altar and vacuumed the carpet.... well maybe some people can find zen in that task. Myself, I listened to my transistor radio whenever I thought my mother wouldn’t come by and give me holy hell for listening to secular music inside the church itself. (It was OK to listen to my radio while I was cleaning the meeting hall but I preferred to listen to reel-to-reel audiotape records of Star Trek episodes.)

My mother was also quite insistent I genuflect* every time I crossed in front of the altar, which was every time I hauled the vacuum cleaner back and forth. Genuflection was another task I neglected to do unless I thought she might come on over. (We lived in the rectory right next door to the church, and my mom was a housewife, so chances were good on any given Saturday she might drop by and check up on me.)

I only set foot in church these days for my brother’s Christmas concert, and the occasional wedding. I don’t miss it in the least. When I was a kid and had to attend church a couple of times each Sunday, I staved off utter boredom (especially during my dad’s sermons) by making up Star Trek stories in my head. Funny, isn’t it, how making up Star Trek stories stuck? Guess my dad’s sermons served some kind of purpose. ;-)


*We were Episcopalians, but my mother, like any convert, could be very “high church” when she put her mind to it.
Tags: preacher's kid tales
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