When I learned to read at 6 years old, my proud grandparents celebrated my newly acquired skill by giving me my very own red leather Bible.? A Christmas gift offered with a reverence and a respect that I had already learned from both of them.? They were so delighted with me and their offering brought me into a circle of knowledge and spiritual connection that they had both known their entire lives.? I treasured this gift, willingly shared from the depths of their hearts.
My Father, always the one to encourage expansion, suggested that I work on memorizing a Psalm to be recited after Church one Sunday to Dr. Marsh, my favorite minister.? Every Sunday he greeted me with a warm hug and a query about school.? My Father said Psalm 23 was Dr. Marsh?s favorite.? I began diligently to memorize, stumbling over words like anointest and righteousness.? Big words for a six year old.? But finally after much practice, I was ready.
Saturday night was always a little of a to-do as my Mom would wash my hair and my sister?s, roll it all in pink sponge curlers in anticipation of dressing up for Sunday church.? I was anxious that everything go well the following day so I paid extra attention to the preparations.? My sister and I often had matching dresses and always white patent leather dress shoes after Easter and black after Labor Day.? I didn?t realize it then, but I know now that not only did my Mom love to dress us, she also always wanted to make sure that the doctor?s daughters were adorably attired as we always garnered much attention from the church ladies.
I remember now that I sat through an entire church service, feet swinging, nervousness held just barely at bay as I repeated my piece over and over again in my head.? Finally, all was at an end and my Father took my hand, smiled and asked if I was ready.? I swallowed, nodded and off we went in search of Dr. Marsh.? He greeted me as always and when he heard my Father?s explanation, he smiled and squeezed my hand, looking expectantly, waiting.? And I began, ?The Lord is my shepherd??? I think I got everything in and in the right order.? Dr. Marsh was delighted and impressed and appreciative.? The glow in my Dad?s eye was wonderful as well.