I have moved into yet another realm of technology today by setting up a blog. The whole purpose, pure and simple, is to write with the hope that someone out there, known or unknown, will take the time to read it; comment, if led; and tell their friends to read it, too, if it merits such publicity.
The name of this blog is Attic Ruminations, because these words strike me for their diverse yet connected meaning. Attic with a lower case “a” means a place under the eaves usually used to store things, but with an upper case”A” refers to Attica, Greece, where the architecture was pure, simple and elegant of line. Thus, the word has come to mean just that as applied to other things as well. And weren’t those words used in that first paragraph. I could have said "the Attic purpose", but that would have been pedantic, and I don’t want to show off just yet.
Rumination comes from the same word as ruminate, which is what cows do. They eat grass or hay, store it away in the rumen (one of four stomachs) where it stays until it is regurgitated to be chewed once again before being digested. You can see how that can come to mean to cogitate, meditate, ponder on a question or experience. Over time, I have coughed up a number of experiences and old perceptions in order to make sense of them now. Some of my ruminations are serious and some are, I hope, comical. All are questions that I have carried in my head, up there in my attic, where they have gathered dust but are unresolved so they can’t be thrown away. As someone once said, these are things that make you go hummm until suddenly you think, ah ha!
One of those childish misconceptions grew out of a hymn I thought I learned as a youngster. I grew up in Scott, Arkansas, a dot on the map near Little Rock. It was mostly populated by landowning white people and African-American sharecroppers although there were a few white sharecropping families as well.
Early on, the white landowners had decided that it was foolish to build a small church for each of the main line Protestant groups represented in the community when they could pool their resources and build one large interdenominational church instead. So in 1902, All Souls Church was formed. While everyone worshiped together, most families kept their denominational heritage alive in their homes. The church had three weekly services, and three separate hymnals honored those denominations. Sunday morning we sang from the Presbyterian hymnal. On Sunday evening, we used the Methodist Cokesbury hymnal and Wednesday
Prayer Meeting saw the Baptist Broadman Hymnal in use. After all, it was the Baptist who insisted on having a mid-week service. We also had, over the years, ministers from all those denominations including one who was a Southern Baptist and a full blood Italian which of itself is almost an oxymoron. Since I attended all of these services regularly, I learned many of the popular hymns by heart before I could read.
One of the Wednesday night favorites was the Baptist song, "Sweet Peas, the Gift of God’s Love". At least, that’s what I heard and I never questioned it. My grandmother, who was METHODIST (with all the letters capitalized), was also an avid gardener who never planted Sweet Peas. I worried about that a lot. Was she thinking that they were Baptist flowers? Was she missing out on some special blessings reserved for the growers of Sweet Peas? She certainly had to know from regular church attendance in what high regard God held this little flower, yet she blithely ignored them. Then I had the exciting thought that my otherwise compliant grandmother had a little streak of rebellion in her. That made me smile secretly because more than anything, I wanted to be a rebel.
I must have been nearing the end of High School when someone offered to share their hymnal with me because I hadn’t bothered to open one. I looked down and gasped in astonishment that what I had been hearing as Sweet Peas was really Sweet Peace. Right there in church, I let out a guffaw that earned me a stern look from both my grandmother and my daddy.
Grandmother, to my great relief, was in God’s good graces after all. This mostly serene woman had in her late fifties, taken over helping my daddy raise two hooligans and an infant when our mother died. I say mostly serene because she surely worried over our illnesses and had moments of utter despair over our behavior, yet she was immovable in her faith in God especially as interpreted by John Wesley.
I have often pondered why I never questioned the nonsense of what I thought I was hearing. Is it that what we perceive becomes so ingrained in our brains that we forget to argue for a more reasonable explanation? Whatever the case, I don’t plant Sweet Peas. It’s a salute to my grandmother who I perceived for so long as a dangerous rebel and therefore, a role model. And if I do see them in someone else’s garden, I can’t but help feeling the giggles rising to the surface.