Church and Chickens
Unless otherwise noted, the Kathryn Tucker Windham blog is written by her daughter, Dilcy Windham Hilley..
Maybe Church Street United Methodist Church in Selma had a nursery. I don’t have any memories of being in it.
What I remember is being a squirmy, ill-tempered child in church. Church is something of a pastoral prison for young children and not in the bucolic sense. It’s boring, it’s long, it’s paralyzing confined. The pews are hard. The only bearable chapters are the offertory and the monthly communion service. And, of course, the benediction when the prison doors open. (God forbid you have to sing every verse of “Amazing Grace” as the closing hymn.)
Mother found a way to settle this prisoner during worship. In her purse, my mother brought little treasures she’d slip discreetly to me when the sermon started. She would hand me a little brown, hinged box that held a miniature family of chickens---rooster, mama hen, and three baby chicks. This treat was reserved for Sundays only.
I would make a little barnyard in the Methodist hymnal where the chickens could scratch until they quietly flew over to the offering envelope racks.
If I tired of the chickens, Mother had a little green box that made my three-year-old heart spasm. It held the tiny bisque girl-and-boy dolls she played with as a child.
The chickens are long gone. I found the dolls in a box in the basement last week. The tissue in the box if fragile. It smells of love and anticipation.
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Dilcy Windham Hilley
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