I was about six or seven years old when we started attending the Maple Hill Church of Christ in Marshall County, Kentucky. The building was a little one-room block building situated on top of a hill with maple trees all around it, thus the name. There were maybe ten people who first started attending and it finally grew to the size it is today.
There was a pot-bellied stove in the center of the room; and in the winter, everybody tried to sit as close to that stove as they could. I remember Mom bundling Cheryl and me up when it snowed to make the drive to church. There were very few reasons to miss church and snow wasn’t one of them. When it did snow, Dad would put the chains on the tires and off we would go. It seemed like it took forever; and since we were on a one-lane gravel road covered in snow, it was treacherous. And it was really tricky if you met another car. Once we got there, Dad would leave the car at the bottom of the hill and we walked up the hill to the building. By the time we got to the building, we were wet and cold, and Dad still had to start a fire in the stove.
I don’t remember when there were enough people attending that we started having classes. Most of the time, we sang a lot of songs and one of the men would preach. I guess that’s where I learned to love music and singing.
My mom sat with her friend Vivian; of course they sat on the second row right up front. Vivian was the sweetest lady you could ever know. What was so cute about her was that every Sunday, Mom would ask her how she was doing and she would always say, “Oh, I have fresh cold.” Her granddaughter and I were good friends and we sat on the bench in front of Mom and Vivian; and I tell ya, if we so much as moved, she would reach up and pinch a plug out of us or yank our hair. But, she was one of the best alto singers I have ever known and I learned how to sing alto while I was sitting on that bench in front of her, even though she did pinch me alot.
Now, I have to tell you a little story about Uncle Ernest, my dad’s brother, and what he did at Community Chapel Church one time. (He’s the fourth from the left in the photo) I think I have told you in earlier posts that Uncle Ernest was probably the most mischievous of the brothers, but this episode took the cake. Before services, the men and boys would stand outside and shoot the breeze and smoke. On this particular day, all the guys started into the building except Uncle Ernest. He waited until everybody got into the building and picked up a handful of little rocks and threw them way up into the air so he could get into the building before they came down. Let me add here that he could have been a major-league baseball pitcher if he had just disciplined himself a little better. Anyway, after he threw the rocks, he ran into the building and sat down. The church building had a tin roof so you can just imagine the noise when all those rocks hit that roof. And you know what, Uncle Ernest was the first person outside to see if they could catch whoever did this bad deed.
I have more stories about Maple Hill Church of Christ that I think you will enjoy.
See ya next Wednesday.