Archive for Feb/2009

CLEANLINESS AND GODLINESS

I have a memory so vivid that I can hold it in my hand like a black and white photo.

I was about eight years old and being driven to summer camp by a friend’s mother. Several sweaty little girls in a station wagon full of gear.

We passed three shacks on the edge of a green field by the side of a farm road. Weathered boards. Dirt yards. Rusty pickup.

And sitting on the edge of one of the porches, their hands folded in their laps and dangling their bare feet were three dark little girls wearing three spotless white dresses. Starched and ironed to immaculate perfection. Each ruffle standing out like the petal of a flower. Their faces were scrubbed until they were shiny. In their hair (which was braided so tightly that I doubt they could blink) each had perfect satin bows. Every child had a different pastel color. One had pink, one blue and the smallest had yellow.

They sat there. Keeping clean for church. Smiling. Chatting. Waving at passing cars.

I thought they looked like angels with butterflies dancing around their heads. Pink. Blue. Yellow.

“No matter how poor you are, you can always buy soap.” said the mother as she waved back.

This has stayed in my mind like a deckle edged snapshot with the bows tinted in. Pink. Blue. Yellow.

That family had no money but those children were not poor.

Feb/2009 at 2:57 pm 1 comment


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