Thursday, March 19, 2015

Ode to a Country Preacher

When going through some mystery boxes in the attic recently, I discovered a treasure trove of memorabilia.
My dad, a country preacher, was a prolific letter writer and thankfully I saved some of the ones written to me as well as some special ones to my children.  Sometimes, these to the kids were written from the family dog, Pug.

Most are just ramblings and re-countings of what otherwise might have been a mundane life in rural Acadiana land.

However, for my dad, nothing was mundane and even if it had been, he could paint the most interesting word pictures that often made me wish to be part of its mundaneness right along with him.

On the envelope of one such letter, I had written,
"Ode to a Country Preacher."

I think you will understand why I wrote that many years ago from the following account written by my daddy and the grand kids Papa:

Thursday Evening
Nov, 1981

Dear Family,

There are a couple of weary folk here, tonight.  Two funerals this week has left us rather tired in some ways.

Funerals here are somewhat different than in more urban areas.  In our community (church), a funeral can last for at least a couple of days.  That, of course, includes the wake.  Now, the wake itself is a kind of celebration which family and friends seem to thoroughly enjoy.  The large amounts of food and coffee provided adds to the festive nature, and to the digestive problems of the more heavy eaters and drinkers.

The children are turned loose to plunder the church's resources at will.  Fortunate are the rooms with locked doors.  The telephone rings more or less continuously prior to midnight, resulting in endless trips to find "so and so" and summon him to the phone.

The pastors' office is a favorite place!  The ladies like to retreat there for privacy in smoking; curiosity prompts some to examine books (leaving them lying around), to go through any mail or papers left in view; and poke a finger down on the typewriter keyboard to see if it really works.

Anyway, everybody has a pretty good time, except the oldest family members, who have to "bear up" before everybody.  But, it all ends with a carefully planned 30 minute service, and the multitudes think it was a "lovely service" etc.  And I'm inclined to think it was too.  Tiring though they might be, I kind of like the type of funeral we have at Chicot, in the country.

Love you,
Papa
Dad with his girls on Easter Sunday 1954.  Mother always made us matching dresses in fabric of our choice.

Papa never forgot that God had called him to preach while sitting on a tree stump in the piney woods of north Louisiana.  He wasn't called to be just any preacher either.  He knew he was called to be a "country preacher."  And he never lost sight of that calling even though he had opportunities to do what some called "more worthwhile" things such as serve as chaplain at a large hospital in Baton Rouge back in the 1950's.  My dad loved country folk and ministered to them until the day he died.
Love you, Daddy!

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9 comments:

  1. What a special treasure you have! I can't imagine having the thoughts of my Daddy forever saved in letter, what a gift that would be.
    A Godly heritage is hard to come by these days, you're blessed for sure!

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  2. I'm sure this evoked all kinds of sweet memories of your Dad. I know that the times I saw him he was such a towering individual. I have containers of wonderful treasures from my parents as well and have not nearly gone through all of it but I do hope to once we move and settle in. Dad gave me all of he and Momma's "love letters" that they wrote while he was in the Navy. I'm sure once I get started on those I will not want to stop until I have read them all. Sweet, sweet post!

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  3. I love old letters, journals, anything that reminds me how I was feeling or how things were going in past days. Thanks for sharing something so personal. Your dad knew what he had been called to do and he did not let the voice of others change his course.
    That's a great legacy.

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  4. Hi Elizabeth,
    Thanks so much for stopping by my blog today and I'm delighted to visit yours! What a treasure to have your dad's letters and I love that you shared his words and your photos with us! His words are priceless and it demonstrates quite a bit of forward thinking to share the details of his days with you so you'd have it to share with future generations. Loved this post today!

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  5. A most beautiful & sweet memory you have shared of your dad. I think what stood out to me was these words..."And he never lost sight of that calling even though he had opportunities to do what some called "more worthwhile" things." So grateful for people who are faithful to their calling for that is truly the most worthwhile thing. So grateful for this reminder today. I think this was my 1st time visiting your blog, so it is nice to "meet" you :)Blessings!

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  6. Those letters are true treasures. I really enjoyed his writing on a country funeral. The pictures are great too. Your Mom was a talented seamstress.

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  7. Thanks for linking up! I hope you'll go back and encourage the person who linked right before you. Blessings!

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  8. Love your post. My great grandfather was a traveling country circuit preacher, serving several churches. When he was "home" he lived with my dad's family, consisting of 10 children and his mom & dad. 13 PEOPLE in a small frame house in MS!

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  9. They still have funerals like that out in the country. My husband is a country preacher! Your dad had an honorable calling...

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