Palm Sunday


My mother took us to church on religious holidays. She was not a religious woman, but she liked to sing, only her singing voice was like that of a cat crying. But at church she could belt out her favorite hymns and no one could complain.

My sisters and I were too young to join the main congregation so we attended a Sunday school service, held in a pre-fab building next to the church. There were couches in there and beanbags, and like all Sunday schools, there was mostly table tennis going on and a very enthusiastic young carer trying desperately to interest everyone in the Good Word. Easter was my favorite service because we were allowed to make palm crosses and build, in small buckets, replicas of Jesus’s tomb. I loved making things and my tomb took me the better part of twenty minutes. I molded it out of mud, found pebbles, and covered the top in moss.

I then set about playing on my tomb with a Lego monkey, until my enthusiastic caregiver, sensing a dip in my spiritual application, steered me to the activities table where kids were making palm crosses and told me “ to just try a few, for fun.”

There has only been one thing I have ever been good at folding – paper airplanes. I tried my hand at a few palm crosses, got bored and set about crafting five of the finest palm airplanes the world had yet seen

The caregiver was busy and I wanted then to show my mother the palm airplanes. I snuck out of the pre-fab, towards the glorious sound of mother’s caterwauling inside the church. I had my reservations about marching in there, but I thought a display would suit the occasion, so I launched, one by one, my palm airplanes across the singing congregation.

They sailed through the House of God, gliding gently, bathed in stained glass light. The song ended, “The Lord has Come.” Most of the planes landed in the crowd. But my best design found its way to the preacher’s pulpit. The old preacher, good soul that he was, simply smiled, picked it up and threw it back to me. It sailed across the crowd and I caught it neatly.

(photo courtesy of Eric Krouse/