A Day to Remember
Mary sat on the floor, coloring in her John the Baptist activity book, while Mother’s sewing machine quietly hummed along. “I’m almost ready to have you try on your dress.” Mother announced as the sewing machine came to a stop.
Anxiously Mary put down her crayon and jumped up. Hurrying to Mother’s side, she watched her remove the row of straight pins, before pulling the dress over Mary’s head.
“Turn around. I need to mark the back, so I’ll know where to sew on the buttons.”
Swinging around in two and a half big circles, Mary dramatically sighed with delight as she watched the full skirt billow out. Stopping with her back facing Mother she exclaimed, “Oh, Mommy. It is the most beautiful dress I’ve ever seen!”
“The most beautiful dress for the most beautiful girl!” Mother exclaimed. “Take it back off now, though. We need to go get lunch on the table. Daddy will be home soon with Grandma-great.”
“Oh! I am so glad that Grandma-great will be here for my baptism. It’s been forever since I’ve seen her.”
Mary was helping set the table when she heard the back door open. She quickly folded the last napkin and ran to meet her great-grandmother with a big hug. “Hurry quick, Grandma-great. Lunch’s ready and I want you to sit by me!” Mary said as she tugged on her great-grandmother’s hand.
“Slow down just a minute and let me look at you,” Grandma-great said. “Oh my you can’t be my little Mary, you’re way too big,” she continued.
“It really is me Grandma-great! I’m just grown-up now,” Mary said. “I turned eight-years-old on my birthday. That’s why I get to be baptized!”
Nettie laughed with amusement at her grown-up great-granddaughter. Just then Cory and Logan dashed into the room. “Woo hoo! Grandma-great’s here,” they shouted before fighting for a hugging position and nearly knocking Great-grandmother off her feet.
“You boys be careful!” Father reprimanded his rambunctious sons. “Go get washed up for lunch now. And make it fast. I’m starving!” He said before greeting Mother with a kiss on the cheek.
After lunch father shooed the “girls” out of the kitchen. Insisting that he and the boys would clean up.
“Quick, Grandma-great!” Mary said, while tugging on her great-grandmother’s arm. “You’ve got to see the most beautiful dress in the whole world, Mommy is making me!”
“If I don’t hurry, it’ll never be done in time,” Mother confessed. “There are still eight little buttons to sew on and I haven’t put the finishing touches on my talk for the baptism yet.”
Nettie admired the dainty, white dress, “You are such an excellent seamstress, Margaret!”
“Thank you, Grandma,” Margaret expressed before giving her Grandmother a peck on the cheek. “But you know it’s just because I had an excellent teacher!”
“You’ve far outdone your teacher. I can however, still sew on buttons,” Nettie said. “Just give me a needle and some thread and you go finish up your talk.”
Mary sat close to her great-grandmother while she sewed the tiny pearl buttons onto the baptism dress. “Grandma-great! Mommy says that I’ll remember my baptism day forever. Is that true? Can you still remember the day you were baptized?”
Nettie smiled. “My, yes! Seems like only yesterday, instead of seventy-eight years ago,” she stated. “It was a cold January afternoon. I wasn’t baptized in a baptismal font either.”
“Were you baptized in a river? Just like Jesus?” Mary asked.
“Not a river, but close. I was baptized in Cedar Lake.” “My mama told me I should wait until spring. After the ice had melted ’cause I might catch a nasty cold. But I was determined not to wait,” Nettie confided. “So, Papa cut a big hole in the ice…”
Mary sat wide-eyed as her great-grandmother recalled the memories of her special day.
Mary looked in awe at her great-grandmother, who seemed to be glowing.
“When we climbed out of the water and onto the banks, Mama had tears rolling down her face. She wrapped her best quilts around us,” Nettie continued with a far away look in her eye. “Then Papa told me how proud he was of me and how pleased God in Heaven was with me too! Just like He had been pleased with His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ!”
“Did you catch a cold?” Mary asked curiously.
“Not even a sniffle!” Nettie then looked deep into Mary’s eyes. “You know, Mary! After you’re baptized, you get a clean, peaceful feeling,” she said as she gave Mary’s hand a squeeze. “But the best part is,” she promised, “You can keep that feeling of peace, every Sunday, as you partake of the sacrament and renew your baptismal covenants with God.”
by Margie Nauta Lee