Fairview Baptist Tabernacle
Tuesday, September 19, 2017
Staying Connected
January 10 – January 16
Scripture Passage: “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit dries the bones.”   Proverbs 17:22
Dear Friends,
     Last week I had to make a trip back home for my friend’s surgery. I spent the night with my mom and dad and great deal of my time with them was spent reminiscing about the little community I grew up in. Some of the things we talked about occurred during my childhood, but most occurred during my dad’s. Our community is small so everyone “holy watches” and keeps up with everyone else’s business. There are no red lights and now days you cannot buy gasoline or groceries in the downtown area. The Dollar Store came and put in a store on the “new road” so it has become the place to go to buy a loaf of bread and a jug of milk. (Notice I do not buy a gallon of milk mine comes in a jug.) We began to talk about the community where our church was located and the people who made it up. This area was known as Friendly Town. It is still called that by the older people even today. Friendly town was made up a small houses built very close together. If a person had a little more money their house would have looked different than the little box house right beside it. It was separated from the river by the railroad tracks and bottom land pasture fields. The north side was the town and in all the other directions you did not have to go far before you were surrounded by woods and farmland. Now Friendly Town did not get its name because everyone was friendly, it got its name because someone always seemed to be feuding in the little close-nit community. Pap says there were men there who raised big families and no one ever remembered them working anywhere. They would raise a hog and pasture a milk cow anywhere they could find green grass, and the chickens had the run of the wollered down yard. Possums, rabbits, squirrels and cat-fish rounded out the menu. My papaw raised a lot of field corn and pumpkins in the area and always seemed to be missing a portion come harvest time. These would have been stolen during the night time to feed the livestock in the day. My uncle George, on more than one occasion, found his fish traps and steel traps emptied and the river bank muddied by the footprints of the perpetrator. Now these were serious occurrences to those doing the work, but did not cause a blink of the eye to the one in need of a little “financial assistance.” There were a lot of good people in Friendly Town but they had a few rascals also. 
     Pap remembers the first TV that came into the area. It was in Friendly Town and belonged to the Bassinet Family. Red put a big long pipe with an antennae attached to the top up through the middle of a tree so they could get a “good picture.” Then the TV would be brought out on the porch and hooked up so that everyone could see. One of the crowd favorites was wrestling. Pap says that you dared not sit next to Ms. Marcum while you were watching wrestling because she would beat you to death. Another famous hangout was Billy Golden’s Store. Billy “carried” people from one month to the next on credit. A person would come in and pay their bill and start their next month’s credit the same day. I am sure that when Billy died there were still people who owed him money. There was a lot of mischief that happened in a country store. Everything from exploding cigarettes, to E-Lax being put in candy wrappers, to rotten apples being thrown or smeared through the face of a loud mouth, to heated debates about politics took place. I still remember going my first time, by myself, to Billy Golden’s to buy a Pepsi and Moon Pie and sit on the front porch and watch the world go by.   Those were some good times. 
    Finally, I want to tell you one of my favorite stories about a local character named Garnie Gross. Garnie could not read nor write. I do not ever remember him having a permanent place of residence. He just lived wherever he could until he got ran off. Garnie was known to steal a ham out of the smokehouse or whatever he needed from the store. The problem was you could never catch him. He was also known to sell a little moonshine liquor. One night while running from the law, he ran his car into the ditch and got stuck. Before the law could catch up, Garnie had put the glass jars of white lightening in the ditch under the car. He was arrested and thrown into jail for transporting illegal moonshine. The day his case went to trial, every lawyer in town was present to watch Garnie at work. (The only case he ever lost was one where he had a lawyer.) When the evidence was presented. Garney said that the moonshine was in the ditch line when he wrecked his car over top of it and that it was not his. His simple defense was that he challenged the law or anyone else to prove that the liquor belonged to him since it was not in his car. Garnie won his case and was set free for time served for driving without a license. I hope you have enjoyed some of my visits down memory lane. Live a little. Love much. Laugh a lot.
In Christ,
Pastor Johnny