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Frugal Living
by Donna Flood
Pioneering Faith in Oklahoma 1957

There was a lovely building setting off a main thoroughfare. The structure was set in a landscaped area with every sort of planting design to give the grounds a look of peaceful surroundings. There was a small walking bridge across a dry creek bed. Setting all about there were very large boulders which, no doubt, had been moved into the area with no small effort. It was a location for a place of worship and truly, this was a fitting place to see the work of men who are inspired to appreciate the beauty of creation.

Their car was brought to the rather large overhang and the little family gathered Bibles in order to exit quickly at the front door to wait while her husband parked the car. Other families were gathering as well so Mitzie was moving the children along so as not to cause a traffic jam. With only a minimum of hustle and bustle they were inside and seated.

The woman took a moment to look about her. There was a very rich decor. She noted a plush carpet, flower arrangements at the front, expensive looking drapery across and behind the podium. Setting at the front too was very expensive looking furniture for the guest speaker to wait his introduction. Every where she looked there was evidence of a fairly large congregation, possibly two hundred or more. They were all well dressed with an easy feeling on their countenances of comfortable living. This was a good size for the population of the little town. She couldn't help but allow herself a moment of revery as her mind went back to a time over forty years before.

Mitzie's mind went back to a time some forty years earlier, and she was remembering how her mother had burst into the living room of her home with a look of total disarray about her. There were mud splotches on her expensive tan cashmere looking coat, her habitually neat coiffure was pulled at to see strands of locks of hair out of place, her shiny neat shoes on her very small feet were clumped with mud.

"Mother! Whatever has happened to you. Are you all right?" Mitzie was more than a little startled by the unusual appearance of her Mother, not to mention the shocked look the woman had on her face.

"I'm so furious!" the little woman complained, "you will never believe what has happened.

I will never get into the car with that idiot again."

"Who? Mother what has happened to you?" "Where have you been?" the daughter had all sort of visions of a car wreck, a stalled car, or any other possibility.

"Look at my coat!" the mother was livid, "the cleaners will never be able to get these mud spots out!" She began to rub at them with a tissue.

"Don't rub at them, please!" Mitzie was busy removing the woman's coat from her shoulders. "Here take your shoes off, they are just clumps of mud!" the dutiful daughter was trying to begin to placate her mother's shattered personality.

"Let me have your gloves, Mother!" "Look! you have rubbed those mud splotches now your gloves are soiled. I don't know how we will get this mud off white kid." Mitzie took the soft delicate leather gloves and laid them aside to think about later.

Her mother was pulling the pins from her very long hair, running her fingers through it and working at twisting it back into a bun until it was once again back in place and characteristically very neat. All the while she was doing this she was making disgusted comments about someone.

"That kid from the East. He thinks everything is frozen here like it is up there in the winter."

"Oh! I am just so furious with him. Of all the people we could have invited to Sunday's lecture who are living in town. No! WE had to go to the country to make calls. I tried to tell him about muddy country roads. Do you think he would listen?"

The picture was coming clear to Mitzie. "Oh! I see," she raised her eyebrows without making a comment.

"Do you know I had to get out and push the car? Sister Cooper and I? You know how tiny she is! Can you imagine her pushing a car down a muddy road?"

"Well, as a matter of fact, I'm having a little trouble visualizing you pushing the car. However, I know now, how your good white kids gloves got so muddy." With that observation Mitzi was not going to crack a smile. She may have had an urge to laugh out loud at the ridiculous situation, but she felt sure it would have put her at a great risk

That was another time, another congregation and, although, it was the root of this one where they were now, the similarities were lost totally somewhere in the passage of time. Certainly, the little upstairs room was replaced by this lavishly furnished room. This greater crowd of people was different too. They, no doubt, had the same convictions but, the intense focused look of the people who lived in her mind was not here. These folks were more relaxed, going more to a casual attitude, which was fine and agreeable. Their conversations were different too, as she remembered. In those days, forty years ago, their main concern was a strategy as to their carrying out their immediate goals with a quiet determination. Today, these folks were discussing things of a nature going toward their daily lives, their children, jobs, and other topics of local interest, which certainly would have had nothing to do with pushing a car down a muddy country road, and she smiled to herself with the memory of her Mother and her less than Christian reaction to the ruining of her one good coat.

Mitzie's revelry was interrupted, "Is this your first time here?" A lovely young woman was extending a greeting to her.

"Well, yes and no," Mitzie smiled to her not wanting to go into a detailed explanation, "it has been a while. My husband went to college here and we lived here, but it has been a while ago."



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