One Sunday I decided to be Methodist. The week before I was First Presbyterian. When I’m away from home, I like to dress up and go where the cars are. Learning how others worship, and adding my voice in praise, increases my appreciation for and understanding of life.
The First United Methodist Church is on the corner of Main Street and North Church Avenue in Louisville, MS. I parked, walked across the street and intended to walk up the steps. Up close they looked like a brick ladder to Heaven: narrow and steep. I could go up with the handrail, but down? How do they do it?
A beautiful Southern lady came along and smiled. I commented, “You have to be in good shape to be Methodist.”
Miss Sylvia laughed, “We don’t use them. Come on, we go in the side door and use the elevator.” Thank God! Few could pass the step test.
I don’t think I’ve felt more welcome visiting a church. Miss Sylvia and Miss Joyce introduced me. Others came forward in welcome. I was invited to Sunday School and services. Two college students shared their mission for “Dry Tears” by raising money for water wells for African children. It never occurred to me that a body doesn't make tears when it is dehydrated.
After church I asked Miss Joyce if she was eating alone. She was. JB out of town left me alone, too. We ate at the Tiak O’Khata buffet that smelled like Thanksgiving: turkey, cornbread stuffing, cranberry sauce, crispy fried chicken, lima beans, greens, string beans, creamed corn, sweet potatoes cooked with apples and cinnamon, bread pudding with hard sauce and caramel (butterscotch to me) pie to name a few. Heaven on a plate.
Although neither of us said so, we didn’t want to go home alone. We laughed and shared the afternoon away while she gave me the grand tour of Louisville established in the 1830’s by Scottish immigrants.
I shall long remember this Sunday’s blessings and new-found friends. Collecting friends is a travel treasure. When I am at home in my First Presbyterian Church in Nebraska, I promise to pay more attention to our visitors and make them feel as welcome.
2009 Red Convertible Travel Series