Old English scripted wall plaques with homespun homilies was what they were. Sold to raise funds for our church. The texture, applied to heavy cardboard, reminded me of asphalt shingle colors–spruce green, estate gray, federal blue. “Blessed are the meek.” “The family that prayed together…” “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death…”
It was small town America in the late fifties, far from the valley of death. Peddling door-to-door on Sunday afternoon, seemed pretty close to it at the time. “What if they didn’t answer the door?” “What if they weren’t home?” “What if they told my brother and me to go away?” “What if there were mean dogs?” Just like that, I was out of “what if” questions.
Mom, always the eternal optimist, “You can go to the Wilsons, the Dowlands, the Parkers. Do the best you can, dear.” These were people we knew from church, the grocery store, and from school. Everybody knew everybody, in our village of 300. Dad didn’t say much–which meant, “Quit your grousing and do it.”
What I didn’t know back then. It was tit-for-tat. You buy what my kid’s selling, and I’ll buy from yours. If it wasn’t fund raising for the church, it was garden seeds for school, candy for 4-H club, or something else.
Little kids were cuter–less likely to be turned down. Parents weren’t walking from house to house–were grateful for time away from their little monsters. So what if they didn’t win any of the neat prizes listed in the catalogue. They’d get over it.