Monday, July 5, 2010

Looking Back


The tiny community where my roots run deep and childhood memories abound will forever be an integral part of me. The church you see in this photo had, last weekend, a Homecoming.

Established 0n June 23, 1921 it's seen all things; the joy of the human experience and the worst of times. Through floods, lack of growth in membership and time taking its toll on the old wooden structure, the members brought determination and resolve to see the tough times through to the sunshine. The loving caretakers of this place tend its' needs, even now, as surely as those from the past. One story that touches my heart was of three women who persevered through one of the darkest hours in the church's history. They were the only member's in attendance...the only one's. A nearby church paid for various minister's to come each Sunday to deliver the message. But the cloud passed, others joined for Sunday morning worship once more and the loyalty of these ladies is now written in the history books of this congregation. This is such an inspiring account to me, having known one of the ladies intimately as one of Mama's best friends.

This Homecoming day we gathered, we sang, we spoke and read of the past, we expressed hope in the future and together we immensely enjoyed the present once more in that quaint building, in that tiny village by the river.

Returning to this church with my mother, my two uncle's, old friends from the past and others gave me a view of my beginning replete with solid family ties and steadfast recollections. I was asked by a friend to read a poem written by my Mother and to compose a brief account of my own memories. This writing follows...

These walls hold so memories, not just for me but for those of us here today that can still look around and see just where our friends and loved ones sat every Sunday. My Mammy sat there on the second row near the aisle; and Pappy sat beside the aisle three rows from the back. Mama played the piano often and I see her there; my little brother on the front row with his friends squirming and whispering. Daddy sat on the second to the back row and Ma and Pa there with him.

To my left was the Deacon's corner and it provided two short pews for those who had that distinction. These men could be found there during the pastor's message, discerning the Spirit and interjecting the timely, Amen.

How could any of us forget Easter Sunday with all the delicious bowls and pots of food placed on tables out under the trees, then afterward an Easter egg hunt for all the little ones. Starched petticoats and little bow ties, no matter, the serious business of finding lots of eggs was ladylike or gentlemanly conduct observed in this pursuit.

Christmas! The huge hand picked tree from the nearby woods was decorated commonly, yet beautifully. It was a glorious sight for all of us. I remember Mammy and Mama making little angel costumes for my brother and me for a Christmas play. We actually carried real lighted candles down the aisle. It was simple and angelic.

There would be no time to list or speak to the extent of my memories, but the moment I step into this revered and sacred place, I can say the reason that it holds such deep significance is not only because it truly is the house of our Lord, but also because of the saints that I had the privilege of knowing as a child and young adult here in this wonderfully old and picturesque building.

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