But on Sunday mornings, especially when I was a little older, we would go to church, put my older sisters on the bus going out to pick up kids for church, and walk around getting other things ready (filling the baptistery, folding bulletins- every preacher's kid's solemn duty at some point in life-, straightening the literature table full of missionary cards and tracts, etc. Such is the life of many pastors and definitely ones in home mission churches that meet in rented facilities.
Then, we would lock up and head to McDonald's, where we'd each get a sausage biscuit and drink and hash browns with salt and pepper. I'd casually read the newspaper left behind on our table, as if that was the normal, intellectual activity of all nine-year-olds, trying to soak in the sports columns and Seattle Mariners stats as best I could (this was pre-at home internet when anyone could appear smart by looking up information in seconds.) And my dad would silently eat his biscuit, salt and pepper his hash brown, drink his Diet Coke (one habit that did not get passed down... yuck) and study for the morning's Sunday school lesson and message (from his notes always written out in his beautiful penmanship on notebook paper.)
I really wish I had a picture from my childhood, but this was taken on a Sunday. Close enough.
It was useless to try to have a conversation during his study time, because that was what the time was for- studying- not asking about Edgar Martinez or Ichiro or the definition of "steroids." (I was an innocent child.) And if I should ever ask, "What are you preaching about today?" the answer was always the same.
"Aw, come on, Daddy. You always say that. What ABOUT Jesus?"
"You'll see." (He might give a hint, if he was feeling generous.)
The older I got, the more rare those visits to McDonald's on Sunday morning became. (Before long, it was my and Amy's turn on the bus. Yay us.) But I love thinking about those mornings, getting our church ready for Sunday ( I do get my obsessive need to pick up trash from my dad.) I can picture that McDonald's in Kirkland, Washington, so clearly. Dad would give that glib answer mostly just to make me laugh and beg to know what he was really preaching, but "Jesus" was what it all really boiled down to. I'm glad that for all these years, my dad loved, worshiped, and preached about Jesus. And that's what he taught us girls, what he wants for our lives. (Well, maybe not the preaching part.)
Happy Father's Day, Dad. If I were home today, we could go get a sausage biscuit (but this time, I'd get my own hash brown. No sharing!) I love you!