Here’s Mother’s new pastor’s wife costume. At Daddy’s request, she’d already raised her plunging necklines and toned down the amount of cling in her skirts, but this was as far as she was willing to go. She left honky tonks behind to follow him, but she never renounced her fondness for clothes that were shiny.
My brother and I heard Daddy’s carefully chosen words about the proper apparel for each church occasion and when Mother stepped outside the parsonage to go to the funeral that day, we caught a glimpse of his expression in the second it took him to hide his surprise with a compliment. He told her she looked so beautiful he should take a picture. She beamed. He clicked this one and off we went.
It was a summer funeral on a day hot enough to require the use of the paper fans provided by the funeral home.
Past rows and rows of men in dark suits and church women wearing black and brown and navy, Sister Fern, a beacon glowing in satin and perspiration, stepped near the coffin to sing.
One of the songs requested often for funerals during the 1950’s in the Deep South was “Whispering Hope.” Mother loved a church organ, but not many of our churches had one, and when she recorded her first album this is the only song she recorded with an organ.
Here’s “Whispering Hope,” written in the early 1900’s and interpreted here in the 1950’s by Sister Fern Jones with The Revelators Quartet.
Hallmark Christmas movies have started. You can still get a snack without pressing pause and you won’t miss a major development. Thank goodness. Our favorite plots are all still there, faithful in every detail. Here are some things that happen in every Hallmark Christmas movie.
In the big city, twin evils of ambition and technology conspire to rob our leading man or woman of their true selves. A trip to a small town or a farm will be required. Along the way, flights will be delayed. Cars will be stuck in the snow. Wardrobes will need to change.
1945 movie, Christmas in Connecticut.
Famous entertainer learns to decorate a tree while not wearing flannel.
Today’s movies acknowledge that expensive clothes could be ruined in the weather. So we get beautiful and country-fied cold weather wardrobes.
Stylish coats and mittens and scarves are crucial to the plot.
We’ve come a long way.
All this unfolds in a charming cabin or an inn. Oh but there are problems in the country too. The heating at the inn might quit or the owner is days away from eviction. Worse yet, the visitor from the city is actually a scout from some big, cold-hearted company that plans to change things.
As these movies move along, cell phones are thrown away, big job offers are turned down, snow storms create white-outs that bring commerce to a halt, forcing our hero or heroine to slow down and learn some Christmas lessons; how to toast marshmallows, trim a tree.
There will be baking, and flour may be tossed around in a getting-to-know-you romantic way. Hands will meet over cookie cutters.
Everyone is happier wearing plaid.
Turns out people in the little town are the kindest, most generous folks anyone’s ever met. Our main character falls in love with the town and also with a former sweetheart who stayed there all this time and is miraculously single.
It’s happening again right now. Christmas movies with happy endings. Fine with me. I like my holidays predictable.