By Linda H. Barnette
A post on Facebook yesterday made me think back to all the teachers I’ve had throughout my journey. In fact, I remember them all.
When I started school in 1947, my heart was broken because I had not been assigned to Mrs. Arnold’s class. I was very shy, but I knew her from First Baptist Church and was hoping to have her as my first teacher. In the end, however, I got Miss Rose Owens. Because I had 2 major surgeries that summer, I started school later than the others. “Miss Rose”, as we called her, was kind and patient as she tried to catch up with me with the class. She has always been the standard I have used to evaluate teachers – kind, motherly, effective. She made me love school that year, and that love continued for many years.
Obviously, I won’t name them all, but Mr. James Wall and his sister, Miss Claire Wall, were two of my most influential teachers as well as neighbors on our street. He was my teacher in 8th grade when we had the same person all day and again in high school for US history and civics. Thanks to him, I became a student of history and have been all my life. One of my most treasured possessions is a copy of his “History of Davie County,” signed by him and given to me by my parents many years ago as a Christmas present.
Miss Claire Wall was a lovely lady with an easy smile and an obvious love of literature, especially poetry. How could I have forgotten Charles Farthing’s reading of Edgar Allan Poe’s Raven? In this class, I first had the idea that I wanted to become a teacher.
When I went to Catawba, I had many talented teachers, including Dr. Raymond Jenkins for English and Dean Elisabeth Scranton for History. The transition from high school to college at that time was great. Always very quiet and shy, I remember Dr. Jenkins once asking us in English 101 how to correctly pronounce the word “victuals”. I remember very shyly raising my hand and saying “vittles”. I knew that from watching so many of those early cowboy shows on TV! From then on, I loved his classes and became his assistant for 4 years. It was largely thanks to him that I decided to go to graduate school at the University of Tennessee.
Miss Scranton was Dean of Women and Professor of History. She was a tall and imposing figure, which made many students feel uncomfortable in her classes. His expectations were very high. I liked him a lot and I admired him a lot and I loved his European history class and I chose to take a minor in this field.
The graduate school was very different from the university. My teachers were all very strict and only interested in our work. There seemed to be no personal interest.
It was a long journey from freshman year to college, but I loved everything. I think I was born to be both a student and a teacher!!
By Stephanie Williams
About five years ago, a stranger named Mike showed up at my door. He had come to see the garage I had rented out. He moved in the same day with just the clothes on his back. Later, Mike shared details of his personal life. He had been locked out of his home – as usual, a double-sided story. A marriage gone wrong.
Soon after, Mike’s 82-year-old mother, Carolyn, began visiting him. At that time, she was commuting from her home on the North Carolina coast. She worried about her son. Before you know it, she had rented an upstairs guest room. As you can imagine, having lost my mother, I immediately bonded with Carolyn and grew very fond of her. Mike worked every day, so I spent a lot of my time with his mother. I took her shopping or going out to lunch. We would go to WalMart and eat at the Subway on Wednesdays – the day they had their special tuna sub. We both loved the tuna.
Mike stayed in his apartment for a year before buying a house a few miles away. But my friendship with Mike and Carolyn didn’t end. Every time Carolyn came to town they called me and invited me to eat fried catfish at a local restaurant – only served on Fridays.
The following year, Mike was diagnosed with stage four colon cancer. In the years that followed, I saw Mike less as he was busy with his medical issue. But I stayed in touch with Carolyn – keeping up to date on Mike’s condition.
Fast forward – I called Carolyn one day and found out that Mike was not well. The time was approaching him. That afternoon, I stopped at his house to visit him. Mike’s health was rapidly declining. He needed help, so I stepped in. Every day for the last two months of his life, I was Mike’s driver, friend, health care advocate, emotional caregiver and support. For the past two weeks, his sister, Beth, has come and stayed with him at his home.
With Hospice, Beth took care of her physical care. Meanwhile, Carolyn came to live with me – a place where she could be at peace, rest and relax. She could easily commute daily between my house and hers.
A few days before Mike died, I reflected on how things had gone for me, Mike and Carolyn. We had once been new friends – like silver, but now we were old friends – precious gold. Life had come full circle. In a way, we were back to where we started. Who would have predicted that Carolyn would be living in the apartment Mike once occupied – and that he would be dying?
Life is like that. It’s often said that what happens comes back – and I believe it does in many circumstances. There is a beautiful Bible verse in Ecclesiastes 1:5-7 (NIV) that I love – and it reads:
“The sun rises and the sun sets, and rushes to where it rises. The wind blows south and turns north; it goes round and round, always coming back on its course. All the streams flow into the sea, but the sea is never full. Where the streams come from, there they return again.
Although relevant to my story, the meaning of the verse in the biblical context differs. Towards the end of Solomon’s life, he wrote from his personal experience: our purposes or anything apart from God – will fail to satisfy.
The cornerstone was laid on August 22, 1874, and regular services were held until about 1933. Time took its toll on this little white church on the hill and in the 1970s this little Lutheran church, Cherry Hill Church in southern Davie County, was due to be demolished. But, thanks to Johnny Singleton and many others, it was declared a historic gem to be preserved, and so it was. The descendants of former members of the church and the surrounding community have come together, and now they ensure that the sacred places and the church are well maintained and open for the annual return.
Another year passes and I am blessed to once again be one of those witnessing the homecoming. Reverend John C. Elam of Franklin Presbyterian brings the message titled “Let’s Come Home.” The hymns sung were ‘Blest Be the Tie That Binds’ and ‘Rock of Ages’ as air fans whirled and the congregation used their ballots to fan themselves. And, just like in the old days before nurseries, you could hear the soft rustling of restless children. Like the children, the adults might have started to get restless towards the end of the service, knowing that a hearty “dinner in the field” was to follow.
Attending a church homecoming always brings back childhood memories, as in the case of the Cherry Hill Sunday homecoming. Another such memory is of our parents taking us to No Creek Early Baptist Church. Have you ever participated in a foot washing ceremony? Well, as I recall, at eight years old, I hadn’t. My nephew, Bobby, who was only two years younger and like a brother to me, didn’t either. We both thought they were going after us too, so we snuck out before they could get close. I’m sure we were reprimanded later.
No Creek Baptist Church holds a special place for my family because my paternal great-grandfather, John Henry Snider (1855-1914) and his wife, my great-grandmother, Ellen Frances Hendrix (1859-1932) were buried. And, I believe I was named after that great-grandmother. No wonder our parents took us to events at this church that had footwashings.
The early Christian church introduced the custom of imitating the humility and selfless love of Jesus, who washed the feet of the twelve apostles at the Last Supper (John 13:1-15), the day before his crucifixion. . This practice of foot washing is most commonly associated with Early Baptist churches whose members believe that Jesus washed feet to set an example and remind us to be kind, forgiving, gracious, and humble.
Although we must sometimes change over time, the traditions of the religious realm of our lives help to unite us in a more cohesive society and hopefully give us a deeper appreciation for everything and everyone around us. Homecomings and other rites of worship are full of symbolism that can keep us grounded, regardless of religious denomination.
“Blessed be the bond that binds.”
Summer Constellation: Delphinus the dolphin
By David R. Moore
Delphinus (pronounced del-fine-nus) is a small constellation located in the east-southeast sky. Look for the Summer Triangle and Delphinus is near Altair. The star marks the lower right corner of the triangle. To the left of Altaïr, about two fists at arm’s length is the faint, slightly oblique Star Diamond. This diamond describes the torso of the jumping dolphin, and another star at the bottom right of the diamond marks the tail.
According to Greek mythology, the way Delphinus ascended into the sky centers on a musical superstar (of the time) named Arion. He sang and played his harp all over the ancient world, and people loved him.
He had a yacht and a crew that rowed him around the Greek islands and beyond. Although he was rich, he became a cheapskate by paying his crew. Their resentment built up as, time and time again, he re-entered the ship with sacks of coins but refused to pay them their wages. After a successful performance in Sicily and again boarding the boat with sacks of money, the furious crew jumped him and put him on a board for his last ride. They did not believe his promises of payment, but they allowed him to play his harp one last time. Standing on the plank, he sang with all his might, and his music was so beautiful that the dolphins gathered below and sang. He extended his song as long as he could, but when the final chorus ended, into the ocean he went.
The dolphins were impressed by his music and Delphinus, the tallest of the group, hoisted the drowning Arion out of the water and onto his back. Delphinus brought Arion back to Greece, where Arion and his music survived. The gods of Mount Olympus were so happy with Arion’s rescue that they raised the bottlenose dolphin into the Celestial Sea, where he swims among the stars every night.