Changing Times

Tis the season to reflect and I’ve been doing just that lately. I began my first pastorate at age 20. The little church [then] was about 20 miles from home so someone invited me to lunch each Sunday to keep me from having to drive back and forth. I would visit on Sunday evenings are play ball with the young folks, then preach again at night and head home. Later, when June and I were in Seminary and I pastored a little church in central Mississippi, we had a place to go every week and now and again on Sunday night. We always got invited by someone. Our church mom, Mrs. Belle Sessums would hang around and if no one else invited us, she would say, “You kids come with me.” She knew how to fry a chicken and she made the best homemade rolls.
Double Bubble LightsWe graduated Seminary in May of 74, we then moved to Cherokee in August. Believe it or not, we continued to get a lot of invites but not every Sunday but times began to change while we were there and our family was growing which made it harder to fed my bunch. We came to Danville in April of 79 and we ate in homes for a couple of months because we were not living on the field but the tradition began to die. We probably got invited into homes for a meal 4-6 times a year and now all those cooks are either promoted or retired from the kitchen. I can’t remember the last time June and I were invited to a home for a meal. It is just one of those church traditions that has died: I mean it is dead in the water but it is not the only one.
We use to love Christmas at Danville because all the Sunday School classes would invite us to their Christmas parties. One of my fondest memories was the Joe Eaton class  inviting June and I to their Christmas party at All Steak in Cullman. This was probably middle 80’s and I had never heard of All Steak. It was Jimmie Stephenson’s idea and I liked it. I think Hugh may have fussed a little but we had a ball. June and I tried to develop a taste for coffee while we were in Seminary but it did not take but that night Jimmie talked me into ordering a cup of coffee to go with my orange rolls and I have been drinking coffee since that night. Folks, I thought I had died and gone to heaven. I never saw a ticket in those days. Lewis Screws, John Tanner, Jimmie Stephenson and Joe Eaton thought it was a sin to make the preacher pay. I miss this generation. There is no one to replace them. So getting invited to Christmas parties doesn’t happen anymore and it is not that we have a house full of kids, I think that we are just too old and no one does this kind of thing anymore. What inspired this story was that one class {June’s} was planning a Christmas party and I was looking forward to it. Not for a free meal, we always pay these days and we should: the LORD has blessed us. I was just excited about a Christmas party but they canceled it and it broke my heart.
Don’t get me wrong, I do not want to go back but I do miss some of the traditions of the old days. I think I’ll try to talk my class into a party!

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