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Sundays Smell Different

John W. Pinkerton


“Sundays smell different.”

Ella began to laugh softly as she delivered a plate of teacakes to the kitchen table.

“I think it's the teacakes, Emma.  You know I make them every Sunday morning…it's easier than bacon and eggs, and it gives us more time to get ready for Church.”

Emma too began to chuckle reflecting on her own proclamation.

“I don't know, Ella, maybe it just smells different on the Lord's Day.  I'm positive the Lord wouldn't want his day to stink.”

“Emma, that's wonderful.  I'm sure you're right.”

The both chuckled as Ella returned to deliver the morning cups of coffee.

They quietly nibbled at the teacakes and sipped the hot coffee, both looking quite satisfied with the teacakes, the coffee, and themselves.

“Well, Emma, what do you think the preacher will preach on today.”

“Sin, I suspect.”

Emma laughed aloud and then sunk into a thoughtful silence staring into the backyard where she and Ella had played as kids.

Ella, in a quiet secretive voice, asked, “Do you miss Momma as much as I do?”

“Oh, Ella,…how could we not miss Momma.  I think of her every day…several times each day.”

“What do you miss most about Momma?”

A clever smile turned up one corner of Emma's lips.

“I know I miss her making the teacakes on Sunday morning.”

A little coffee and cookie crumbs spit from Ella’s lips as Emma laughed a laugh that could be heard by the next door neighbors.

Ella got a napkin and patted Emma's lips and wiped the joyous coffee and cookies from the table.

“Oh, Emma, you can so make me laugh…but I know that's not all you miss.”

After placing the napkin in the kitchen trash can, she returned to the table and took Ella's hand in hers.

“I miss her dearly.  She was the Lord's special gift to us….  Ella, you look particularly spiffy in your new dress.  Very stylish.”

“Do you really think so?”

They nibbled their teacakes and sipped their coffee.

“What about Papa?” Ella asked.

“Papa was stylish too.”

“Oh, Emma, Papa was anything but stylish.  He worked so hard at the butcher shop.”

“Ah, but on Sundays he looked like the ambassador to Japan.”


“Well, Emma, one of those exotic places.”

There was a long pause as they nibbled and sipped.

“Ella, why didn't you marry Thomas Smith, or Bill Black…or even George Jones?”

The mention of the suitor George Jones made a wonderful hurumph emanate from Emma.

“Emma, George Jones!  I haven't thought of him in years.  I swear that boy wasn't quite right in the head.”

“But, Emma, you had so many suitors.  You kept Papa upset all the time.”

Another silence as Emma put the empty cups and plate in the sink.

Emma sat down next to Ella.

“Ella, I'm going to share a secret with you.”

Ella's eyes widened in anticipation.

“Those boys never stood a chance with me. There is only one boy I loved, and I loved him with all my heart…and soul---Jimmy Johnson.”

“Jimmy Johnson?”

“Ella, I know you don't remember Jimmy.  He arrived one day in the spring of my fifth grade year.  I can still see his auburn hair gleaming in the sunlight like a halo, and I remember his smile…I don't know…full of grace.”

“He was only here for a few days and then he was gone.  I think his folks moved on to Waco.”

“Emma, you're making me sad.”

“Ella, I guess no one else ever measured up to Jimmy.”

“Oh, Emma.”

“Ella, up and at ‘em.  It's time for church and a little talk of sin.”

“A little talk about sin…” followed by a giggle.

As they stepped out on the front porch and the smell of Sunday, Ella put her hand on Emma's arm and added, “And maybe a little prayer for Jimmy.”