Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Precious Memories

The Little Brown Church- Bradford, Iowa
Tonight, Gary Keese led The Church In The Wildwood as we met for Bible study. I'll be honest- it kind of tied together all the feelings of nostalgia I have when returning to Texas from my mom's home in Arkansas. The song has no clear scriptural references but relies on the imagery of childhood and loved ones and location. It was written by William Pitts in 1857 who was riding on a stagecoach to meet his fiancee when they stopped in tiny Bradford, Iowa. As Pitts walked about, he found a spot he thought would be the ideal setting for a place of worship and after returning home to Wisconsin, he penned the words and music. About five years later, he and his now wife moved to Iowa where  he found, to his amazement, a church building being erected on that site and because it was the cheapest color, the members chose brown paint! The song was sung at the dedication but soon passed from memory. It was not until decades later that a gospel group, the Weatherwax Quartet began using The Church In The Wildwood as their theme, making it very popular and the church a tourist attraction. It remains so to this day- the website for the church said they have had 73,000 weddings there! In a first for me, I could not pick which youtube version of the hymn I liked best so I included two, one from the legendary Carter Family and one from The Andy Griffith Show. I hope you'll listen to both renditions.

I know not everyone had a happy childhood or has a place of warm remembrances to return to- I know I'm blessed. But the Lord gave all of us the gift of memory, where we can escape to a sunny recollection in the winter of our actuality. He allows us to mentally reconnect with loved ones, even though they have passed into the afterlife. That's why I think The Church In The Wildwood has the capacity to touch some folks deeply. The Andy Griffith clip is priceless. The old man on the porch was pompous and arrogant  and obnoxious but something started to change as Andy and Barney began to harmonize on the porch. Here's to all of our hymns of precious memories; may we still be able to sing them without a book and with our eyes closed.

Applicable quote of the day, # 1:
"There is a garden in every childhood, an enchanted place where colors are brighter, the air softer, and the morning more fragrant than ever again."
Elizabeth Lawrence

Applicable quote of the day, # 2:
"What we remember from childhood we remember forever - permanent ghosts, stamped, inked, imprinted, eternally seen."
Cynthia Ozick

God bless,
Luke 18:1
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