Thursday, January 31, 2013

CP Church - January 31, 2013

From:  The White River Current - January 31, 2013
Whew!  That was close.  I almost became a Methodist.  Well, maybe I should explain.  I come from a long line of Cumberland Presbyterians.  The Cumberland Presbyterian (CP) denomination was formed on February 4, 1810, in Dickson County, Tennessee.  Three ministers are credited with the formation that resulted in an action in which one of the presbyteries (CP) withdrew from the Presbyterian (USA) denomination.  The new CP church grew rapidly and churches were established from coast to coast, from Oregon to Pennsylvania and from Michigan to Florida.  In 1906, after several years of wrangling (discussion), about 70% of the churches including most of the larger, city churches, reunited with the PCUSA denomination, leaving a remnant of mostly smaller, rural churches.  The churches at Mt. Olive and Barren Fork (Mt. Pleasant), both organized well over 150 years ago, are two of the remnant.  The Calico Rock church was established in December, 1923.  That’s church history in a nutshell.  Anyway, my great (times 6) grandfather was a CP minister and was a contemporary (close friend) of one of the three men that I have referred to above.  His descendants (my mother’s ancestors) settled in the Barren Fork area of eastern Izard County.  Meanwhile, my Dad’s father and brothers ended up settling in the Wild Cherry area of northern Izard after moving from middle Tennessee and via southern Missouri.  They were also CPs and were leaders in the establishment of the Trimble Campground CP church.  OK, the stage is set.  By the 1920s, Calico Rock was a thriving community.  The Evans from Mt. Pleasant and Waylands from Pineville established businesses on Main Street.  Both families were CPs.  My grandfather, a widower, also moved his family from Mt Pleasant to CR in order for his youngest daughter, Muriel, to attend public school.  My mother was employed as a secretary for Rand Wholesale whose offices were in the building on upper Main Street next to the old State Bank.  Excuse me if I have told this story before, but I heard it many times from my parents.  It seems that one day, after my Dad had finished doing some banking business, he was walking down the sidewalk to the drug store when he noticed the attractive young lady at her desk near the front window of Rand Wholesale.  He remarked, “that’s the woman that I’m going to marry.”  Now at that time, all the CPs who were living in the Calico Rock area worshipped at the Methodist Episcopal Church (ME).  I don’t want to use any names because I might offend someone, but it seems that after a time, some of the Methodist members began to object and started to demand that the CPs join the church.  Sort of  “put up or shut up” type of discussions followed and the CPs decided to withdraw from the Methodist congregation and start a fellowship of their own.  Their meetings were held at the home of Mr. Wayland.  In a joint effort with the Masonic Lodge, a two story frame building was erected  and the fellowship soon began meeting there.  Not to be outdone, the following announcement appeared in the January 4, 1924, edition of the Calico Rock Progress newspaper:  “Methodists to Erect Fine New Church Building Here – New Building to Cost Near Ten Thousand Dollars.”  My  parents ended the courtship phase of their relationship and were married on December 23, 1923. The following Sunday, they attended and joined fifteen others to become charter members of the newly organized Calico Rock Cumberland Presbyterian Church.  The Reverend Y. Whitfield of Pineville was employed as pastor of the congregation.  One of the first persons to join the new congregation was Ethel Thrasher who later married a Methodist minister, Burl Long.  Their sons, Dwight and Gerald, were two of my best friends.  Sometime I intend to write about our deer-hunting escapades.  Anyway, the local CP congregation moved from the “church on the rock” to their present location in 1952.  Over the years the CP and UMC congregations have had a very close, friendly relationship but I sometimes wonder:  What If?  Sitting here in my corner of the Queen City considering what might have been.  Back in two weeks.  This is Reed.  Bye for now.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

The Barber - January 17, 2013

From: The White River Current - published Thursday January 17, 2013

You may be getting weary listening to me singing the same old song about how fortunate we locals are to have the people from “off” in our community.  Well, excuse me!  One of these that I would like to highlight is Susan, the author of the “Not So Long Ago” column that also appears in the White River Current newspaper.  She and her husband, Richard, moved to the Dolph area
(from Chicago, I think) a few years ago.  I first met Susan when she came by our house to interview me for some story she was working on.  Even though she lives several miles away, she is very active in Calico Rock activities, including The 20/20 Group, The Chamber of Commerce,
The Storybook Project and many others in addition to writing for other publications.  I hope you read her “Not So..” column about Martin the Barber that was in the Current a couple of weeks ago.  I may be taking a little liberty here, but I would like to expand on this subject, maybe call it
“the rest of the story.”  Ezra was my barber, probably gave me my first haircut.  When I was a boy, 12 or 13 years old, my school friends all had their hair cut very short.  Sometime called “flattop” or “butch” it was short.  Peer pressure got to me and I eventually gave in and stopped by the barber shop one afternoon to get sheared.  I did have quite a bit of hair then but it must have been very fine because it wouldn’t stand up like a flattop is supposed to, even with an application of “Butch Wax,” a thick, lard-like substance.  OK, it looked awful.  My mother almost fainted when she saw me.  It took several weeks before the damage was repaired and I once again became the handsome young man that everyone admired.  Ezra became very popular as a “Butch” stylist and had young clients from all around the area lining up at his shop to get their cuts.  After I graduated from college and purchased the drug store on upper Main Street, Ezra continued to be my barber.  I usually made the five minute walk from the store to his shop very early in the morning, usually being his first customer.  In the winter months, his shop was most generally very cold and I usually inquired “Ezra, if I pay in advance, would you turn on the heat?”  He always complied, gave me the necessary trim and sent me on my way with the observation “Well, old boy, I think you will pass inspection.”  In later years, after I had lost most of my wavy locks, I suggested that, since I only had half-a-head of hair, I should only have to pay every other time.  He agreed and it became a routine that whenever I  received a haircut I should pay because “I didn’t pay the last time.”  Ezra gave Steve his first haircut and probably many other young men also.  He also became very proficient in other activities.  I cannot verify the following so I will have to call it a rumor.  Seems like Ezra came into the possession of a catalog of medical supplies.  He made an order under the name of Doctor Martin and, I have been told, became very good at giving penicillin shots.  He also, I have been told, ordered an electrical needle device designed to remove warts and other skin blemishes.  Apparently no one ever suffered any ill effects and, possibly, some may have benefitted from his services.  Anyway, Ezra certainly qualifies as a character that I have known.  When my dad became ill and was in the local hospital, he and Ezra occupied the same semi-private room.  On one visit, I took along my  Norelco razor to give dad a shave.  While there, I asked Ezra if he would like me to shave him.  He was reluctant but very surprised at the smooth cheeks I gave him with probably his first electric razor shave.  Early the next morning, his son-in-law called with the news that Ezra had died sometime during the night, apparently because of a heart attack.   Ironic in some ways that I gave the last shave to the person who gave me my first haircut.  Thank you, Susan, for reminding me of these episodes from my past.  I am going to comment on another of your writing very soon, maybe next time.  But for now, this if Reed, reminiscing about memories of past years, sitting here in my corner of the Queen City wondering if I need a haircut. Bye til next time.    

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

New Year - January 3, 2013

From:  The White River Current - Thursday January 3, 2013

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!  Well, here it is only three days into January and I’ll bet most of you have already discarded those  resolutions you made.  Things like dropping a few pounds, exercising more, etc.  Did any of you resolve to do a random act of kindness every day?  Folks, we have to start treating each other with a little more respect.  We closed out the old year with a terrible tragedy at an elementary school in Connecticut.  Some twenty or so very young school children and several adults lost their lives at the hand of a twenty year old young man.  Oh, I know.  If he hadn’t had access to the guns, etc., etc. But, what if someone (a friend, or a neighbor
or relative) had  seen the warning signs and given this young man some attention, just maybe, but, of course, we probably will never know.  Let’s all continue to pray for the grieving.  Anyway, I hope everyone of you readers had a great Christmas with family and friends.  It’s seems to get more difficult every year to get all the family together at the same time and place.
I heard of one family that celebrated Thanksgiving Day on the traditional Thursday then had their family Christmas, opening gifts, etc., the following day (Friday) before everyone went their separate ways.  We spent family Christmas with the entire clan at the home of Ross and Leah in Tulsa on Saturday.  We had a great time eating, visiting, eating, playing games, eating, singing Christmas songs, opening gifts and enjoying the great grands, Molly and Nathan.  The next day (Sunday) we all attended a very inspiring worship service and, after lunch, said our goodbyes and departed to return to our individual homes.  This seems to be the norm these days when families are so scattered.  I’ve been trying to remember how Christmas was when I was growing up.  We always had a tree, a cedar, that we decorated with tinsel and silver icicles.  My mother would make popcorn balls.  We had Sunday School parties, usually at the American Legion hut.
The kids would each get a gift of an orange, an apple, some unshelled nuts and several pieces of hard candy.  On Christmas eve, Santa would arrive in Calico Rock.  Dressed in the traditional red suit, Santa (Dr. Copp) would climb aboard the train that had stopped for him at Creswell and ride into  town where a huge crowd had eagerly gathered to welcome him.  This was a wonderful tradition for many years and I only wish it could continue today. Santa riding into town on the fire truck is OK but it just isn’t the same.  Anyway, Anita and I enjoyed the time with our family and got back to town in time to attend the candlelight Christmas Eve service at our church.  It was wonderful.  Tom* shook the rafters with an outstanding rendition of “O Holy Night!”  and we all held high our lighted candles as we sang “Silent Night.”  On Christmas Day, Anita and I made a large pot of vegetable beef soup and a pan of corn bread.  How’s that for a delicious Christmas meal?  Gene joined us for lunch, after which we kicked back and watched a movie on TV entitled “The Christmas Story.”  Have you seen this?  It was filmed back in 1983 and didn’t do much until in 1997 cable channel TBS started running it non-stop for 24 hours on Christmas day.  Now it has bypassed “It’s a Wonderful Life” and “Miracle on 34th Street” as the favorite holiday movie.  A really good family movie about a twelve year boy wanting a Red Ryder BB gun for Christmas.  The scene that cracks me up occurs close to the end of the movie.  When the family loses their turkey and trimmings to a bunch of rowdy dogs, the father takes everyone out to a Chinese restaurant for Christmas dinner.  The waiters attempt to lift the spirits of the family by singing carols such as “Deck the “Harrs” with boughs of ‘Horry’ Tis the Season to be ‘Jorry”
Tra Ra Ra Ra Ra, Ra Ra, Ra Ra.”  Well, I thought it was funny as were several scenes.  If you didn’t get to see this movie, it will be on again this year on December 25, 2013.  Mark it on your calendar.  By the way, it has been made into a Broadway play so next time you are in NYC you might just want to take it in.  Anyway, I’m at the old computer keyboard,  looking back into the recesses of my mind for some memories to pass on to anyone who might be interested.  May this New Year be good for you and yours.  With love and blessings, this is Reed.  Bye for now.