Ministers of Happiness

Today is Easter Sunday, and I tried very hard to come up with an Easter recollection to complement my deep reservoir of Thanksgiving memories which flow from me like rivers to oceans or even my Christmas memories which aren’t quite up to Thanksgiving levels but still trickle in through little streams of consciousness. The best I had was clothes…and music.

I can visualize frilly pink Easter dresses, white lacy Easter bonnets, snug-fitting white Easter gloves, shiny white Easter shoes and a matching white Bible to carry to church. I had won the white Bible the summer before during Vacation Bible School as a reward for memorizing the most scripture verses in my class. My name was engraved in gold letters which stood out nicely against the white leather Bible.

The dress was home-made by my paternal grandmother Ma who tortured me with fittings several times before the actual final inspection was made and the dress approved to her satisfaction. She and my mother coordinated the remainder of the ensemble with a great deal of whispering behind my back because they wanted to avoid the exasperated facial expressions I made whenever they brought up the subject of the Easter “outfit.” Horrors – please don’t talk about that.

The Easter outfit was like a Halloween costume to me. I might as well have been dressed in a white cowboy hat wearing a black Lone Ranger mask sitting astride my stick-horse yelling Hi, ho, Silver, Away periodically during the congregational singing at our Southern Baptist church. Instead, I was sitting demurely between my grandmother and granddaddy singing Up from the Grave He Arose. As a matter of fact, I definitely would have preferred The Lone Ranger look over the Easter outfit.

But I had to wear the clothes to hear the music, and I loved the music even then. The old rugged cross was exchanged for a crown, because he lived I could live forever, just as I was without one plea I came because his blood was shed for me, I lifted up my heart to sing hosanna, hosanna to the king because of the amazing grace that found me when I was blind and could not see. The hymns had 18th. century harmony which I knew nothing about at the time I learned to sing them, but that lack of composition understanding didn’t interfere with my love of the experience.

Even the sermon on Easter Sunday morning was hopeful – once you got over the nasty business of the crucifixion – the minister was so happy about the resurrection. Really, he seemed to me to be more joyful at Easter than he was at Christmas when the tidings of great joy were proclaimed by the angels.

My first Easter Sunday was the day I was born on April 21, 1946, which makes this one my 71st.  Unbelievable.  Where does time really go. I miss my family and the singing at the little church today. I don’t miss the Easter outfit.

Although it isn’t my birthday, I am going to make an Easter wish. My wish for all of us today in the midst of a world that is fraught with monumental uncertainties is that we become ministers of happiness founded on our own good health, good relationships, erasing inequalities where we can, creating trust in our communities and standing against injustice whenever we witness it. One by one, as the saying goes.

Resurrect hope today.



About Sheila Morris

Sheila Morris is a personal historian, essayist with humorist tendencies, lesbian activist, truth seeker and speaker in the tradition of other female Texas storytellers including her paternal grandmother. In December, 2017, the University of South Carolina Press published her collection of first-person accounts of a few of the people primarily responsible for the development of LGBTQ organizations in South Carolina. Southern Perspectives on the Queer Movement: Committed to Home will resonate with everyone interested in LGBTQ history in the South during the tumultuous times from the AIDS pandemic to marriage equality. She has published five nonfiction books including two memoirs, an essay compilation and two collections of her favorite blogs from I'll Call It Like I See It. Her first book, Deep in the Heart: A Memoir of Love and Longing received a Golden Crown Literary Society Award in 2008. Her writings have been included in various anthologies - most recently the 2017 Saints and Sinners Literary Magazine. Her latest book, Four Ticket Ride, was released in January, 2019. She is a displaced Texan living in South Carolina with her wife Teresa Williams and their dogs Spike, Charly and Carl. She is also Naynay to her two granddaughters Ella and Molly James who light up her life for real. Born in rural Grimes County, Texas in 1946 her Texas roots still run wide and deep.
This entry was posted in Humor, Lesbian Literary, Life, Personal, Reflections, Slice of Life and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Ministers of Happiness

  1. Marla says:

    I love it when you said “I had to wear the clothes to hear the music”. It can be applicable literally or figuratively.
    Good one, S!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Susanne says:

    Amen to this: “we become ministers of happiness founded on our own good health, good relationships, erasing inequalities where we can, creating trust in our communities and standing against injustice whenever we witness it. “

    Liked by 1 person

  3. diannegray says:

    Yes – the Crucifixion part was always the worst, but then he’s back alive again! Wow, that part always confused my sisters and I. But then after church we would stop and get ice-creams, which is probably the only way my parents could get us to go to church in the first place 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  4. rockyden says:

    yes , all those Easter Sunday memories came flooding back to me as well , dear cousin. The Bar B Que which was always chicken, followed by potato salad, baked beans, many cold jello salads, and pies, lots of lemon and chocolate pie, followed by the 4:00 coffee. And most of all, our parents and grandparents were still around and in charge, directing all the food arrangements as well as the social contact agenda of all the family members that would attend the event. Today’s are quite different, but equally, and more so, enjoyable, spent with friends that are now called family. Finally, and late in life, I’ve come to know the Jesus that I heard about for many years, and I have stood in his presence and have walked with him in His garden, and He lives with me now. Oh how precious is the name……..oh how wonderful………the ole’ hymn tune verses that actually have come to mean something today. Love always, rockyden(church organist)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Post-Easter greetings, cousin rockyden a/k/a church organist,
      We share some memories, particularly the food…goodness gracious, there was some good cooking going on in our family’s kitchens!
      That’s so funny about the 4:00 coffee. I remember the afternoon coffee with desserts, but I didn’t remember it was at 4:00. What I wouldn’t give for one of our grandmother’s kolaches and cup of coffee again.
      I’m glad you had a good Easter and that you enjoyed the old hymn tune verses. I sing them often in my mind – and sometimes with Pretty.
      We love you, cuz…


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