I wrote that as a child I loved to be with my dad. Wherever he was, I wanted to be, too. He was around more on the weekends, which I liked. He worked in the yard on Saturdays; he mowed, raked, watered the tomatoes, harvested the green beans and gathered the fallen sticks. Then he came inside and lay down on the long, green sofa with one arm up behind his head to take a short nap before he started to study his Bible for church the next day.
On Sundays, we went to church. It was not a gigantic, liturgical, cathedral-like church. But neither was it a small, casual, carefree sort of church. It was a beautiful, fairly large, fairly formal church that demonstrated love without sacrificing reverence.
Once, when I was 2, I was sitting in church with my mother. Everyone bowed their heads to pray, including my mother.
Hearing a familiar voice, I looked up, and there, standing at the pulpit, praying into the microphone was my dad.
I looked over at my mom. Her eyes were closed in silent meditation.
I slid off the pew and quietly walked up to the front of the church. I stood next to my dad and took hold of his pants leg.
He finished praying and looked down. The rest of the congregation finished praying and opened their eyes. There was Ruthie.
I think everyone laughed, gently. I did not get into trouble.
Later I sat next to my mom in the pew, using a pencil to draw on the little response card from the small rack on the back of the pew in front of us. I drew a capital E. My mind had registered that a capital E looked like a comb, so I drew it with a vertical line on the left, and horizontal lines extending to the right from the top and bottom of the vertical line. Then I enthusiastically filled it in with a whole bunch of horizontal lines between the top and the bottom lines, like the teeth of a comb.
"What is that?" my mother asked me.
"I made a letter E," I told her.
"Oh...there is only supposed to be one line in the middle, like this," she told me, and wrote a correct E next to my hairy one. I liked mine better.
I do not know why I always remember this happening on the same Sunday that I went up to the front of church to join my dad in prayer.