A dear friend gave me a keepsake recently.

I’ll now be getting an email question each week. I greet this project with some trepidation. Like I told a newer friend, some questions might better be answered on a couch with a professional in a nearby chair — complete with a pencil hovering over a little pad of paper. Seemingly familiar with the process already, she further commented that it was nice one could skip a question with no repercussions. Ya, I don’t know ... I feel I might be more susceptible to repercussions than some. But hey, what’s a pandemic for?

The first question was about Mom. She and my friend were close. The three of us took a road trip to Colorado once. My friend wound up going to college there for awhile. Mom introduced her to some of her cousins. I believe my friend went over to their place for a Sunday meal or two.

Like every other day of the week, we had Sunday dinner in the farm right at noon. Mom would often tie an apron on over her dress when we got home from church. There might be roast beef with mashed potatoes and gravy. She made particularly good gravy (not that I was a fan as a kid). Dad was a big fan; he sometimes mashed the potatoes after changing out of his suit. The rhythmic sound of metal hitting metal bode well for a good day.

Sometimes we’d have to go wait in the car on the yard for a few minutes while Mom got ready for church — last chance at the bathroom after a husband and three kids. She said she could get ready quicker than any of the rest of us. Probably true. Soon she’d arrive, closing the gate behind her, nylons and necklace intact, although she might need help with the clasp on the back of her necklace or the little hook above the zipper, reachable from the backseat. Then she’d probably open the clasp on her purse for a gold colored tube of bright red lipstick to apply using the mirror on the back of the visor. Most likely she’d also locate a comb to be applied to the backs of our heads as we were going up the steps to church.

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Once in ‘our’ pew and eye contact and nods, if not also a few words of greeting, were exchanged with those around us, we’d settle in for the familiar opening and closing of the books in the racks near our knees in front of us. Often a bit of slightly fumbled hurrying occurred turning to the right hymn number. Then it was time to square up our shoulders and sing in unison.