My mother made sure both my sister and I went to church when we were children.
And when I say went to church I mean she was of the mind that if you couldn't make it to Sunday school then you weren't allowed to play outside the rest of the week.
Somehow we managed to make it to Sunday school.
Yet our obligations didn't end there.
In additional to going to Sunday school, both my sister and I belonged to every conceivable church youth group at Olivet A.M.E. Church in South Bend, Indiana.
And when I say every youth group---I mean every last one.
Youth Choir, Junior Usher Board, the Young People's Department of the Women's Missionary Society---you name it, we were in it.
Additionally, we both were enrolled in Catholic school.
As you can see, we had a lot of church and religious influence in our lives.
Which made Easter week or holy week just that more torturous as a child.
It's like someone blew a whistle on Palm Sunday to signal the start of a cleaning fume, sugary ham glaze, food coloring induced frenzy that would put Martha Stewart to shame.
All usually run with crack military precision by my mother.
Cleaning the house from stem to stern and helping Mom in the kitchen was just something you did. You weren't asked for your help----your help was required and expected.
Then after working all week on domestic perfection, Friday night or Saturday afternoon we were shipped off to the hairdresser to get our hair pressed.
If you want to know where all the black women are a few days before Easter, look inside a salon.
I understand all of this might seem to be a great deal to endure as a child, but it was nothing compared to the double dose of amped up religious instruction we got that week.
If you didn't know if you were a sinner before, you did then.