There's a church in the valley by the wild wood.
No lovelier spot in the dale; No place is so dear to my childhood
As the little brown church in the vale.
That is an old hymn we sang often at the little country church that I grew up in. And for some reason, when Easter and spring roll around that song and my memories take me back to that dear little church. I woke up the other morning with that song in my head, and before long, I was singing it. And I've been humming it for a few days now. In fact I went and looked it up in our old hymn book and refreshed my memory of the rest of the words.
My dear grandma saw to it that I went to church. I didn't realize at the time, but she was making sure that my faith, even as a little child was well established. I honestly believe if it had not been for her, and my roots starting back in that little church, I would not have the faith that I feel so strongly now in life. It has seen me through so many difficulties.
The church attendance was down quite a bit when I was a child, so many members had passed away, or married and moved, or just lost interest in such a quiet, "boring" service. I admit, I didn't understand most sermons, or hymns that we sang, but I always felt so comfortable and welcome there.
Oh, come to the church in the wildwood,
To the trees where the wildflowers bloom;
Where the parting hymn will be chanted,
We will weep by the side of the tomb.
My grandma and grandpa both are buried in the cemetery. I also remember having our Easter egg hunts in the cemetery. Amazing how many good hiding places that can be found around grave stones. There are many civil war veterans buried there. I found the dates on the stones very interesting, so that is probably why genealogy interests me. I think the funniest moment that occured during church service was when the black snake fell out of the ceiling. Oh my!! That sure did liven things up a bit! One poor lady stood up and hollered "It's the Devil!" As a kid, that was fun!
How sweet on a clear Sabbath morning,
To list to the clear ringing bell;
It's tones so sweetly are calling,
Oh come to the church in the vale.
When I reached a certain age, my job, along with another girl that was about my age, was to ring the bell. Which was a fun job for a couple of ornery girls. Pull that old rough rope down with all our might, and we'd soon be lifted up, up and up. Seemed very high, but looking back, it was probably because we were not that big yet. I always loved to hear that sound of the bell ringing, loud and clear, as if waking up the morning to let it know that Sunday had arrived. I also had the job of passing out the program for the service. I felt so important handing them down the pews, just as I had seen it done.
From the church in the valley by the wildwood,
When day fades away into night,
I would fain from this spot of my childhood
Wing on my way to the mansions of light.
Pastor Conrad O'Diem was a minister that I loved dearly. He was a German immigrant, and came to America and didn't know English. He was self taught. I don't remember a time that he didn't come through the church doors (they were the old swinging type), saying "Good Morning! Isn't it a beautiful morning??" He would say that no matter the weather. He was also a farmer, which made some sermons a lot of fun to try to follow. Somehow we would end up in the hayfield, or talking about "little yellow fuzzy things" that a mama chicken hatched out, but they were not chicks.. maybe ducklings, or baby turkeys. He has since passed away, I think about 15 years ago. Not sure. He sure was a happy man though.
I feel blessed to have been a part of such a wonderful little country church and be raised around some good, country folks who worked hard, and did their best to take care of each other. That little church is still there, meeting each Sunday morning at 8 a.m. Pleasant Hill Methodist, Logan, OH is still a wonderful place I like to go every now and then for some wonderful memories of my childhood.
Hope everyone has a very blessed Easter. Remember the reason why we observe the day, not because of the Easter bunny, as fun as that little fairy tale may be.