Roanoke Church of Christ



By my friend, Ben

It were Saturday and the feller on the TV said it were gonna be a real warm day, which were fine with me. It were. The winter had been right cold an’ were still hangin on, so I were looking forward to bein’ able to get out a bit. Other than workin’ at the lumber yard an’ goin’ to church I’d stayed perty close to home. I did. It’d been so cold the saw mill an’ the yard were shut down for more days than I reckon I could remember. They were.
Nother reason I were glad it were warm were because it were Ma’s birthday. It were. So me’n ol’ Blue were headin’ up to Hickory Ridge Cemetery to spend some time with Ma an’ Pa. We were.
It were too early for anything to be bloomin’, so I didn’t have no flowers to put on her grave. I didn’t. But I did see a few crocus’ startin’ to stick their heads outta the ground. I did.
Since it were Late mornin’, Jeremiah Hatcher had done opened the gate to the cemetery. He always done it early on Saturday an’ Sunday mornin’s, ceptin’ in bad weather. He did.
When we got to the top were ma an’ pa were buried, ol’ Blue took off hopin’ to pick up the scent of a deer or somethin’. He did. I weren’t worried about him cause the cemetery were all fenced in. It were.
I grabbed me the folding chair what I’d stuck in the backa my truck and sat down between Ma an’ Pa’s graves. I did. I could see Hickory Ridge in the valley, all nestled between the hills. It were a right peaceful sight. It were.
I could see the church where me’n Ma went every Sunday mornin’ an’ mosta the time on Sunday nights. We did. Wednesday evenin’ prayer meetin’s were a tad harder, bein’ that pa had to drive us, an’ me an’ him had chores to do when he got home from the saw mill. We did.
As I looked at the steeple on the church buildin’ it took me back to them times when I’d sit beside Ma an’ could hear her singin’ the hymns. It did. Ma had a right good voice, an’ hearin’ her sing “Leanin’ on the everlastin’ arms” made me feel good in a way I didn’t understand. It did. An’ when she sang “Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine” I could tell it came from down deep in her heart. An’ I remember tellin’ her I reckoned that were one of her favorite songs. I did. She told me the lady what wrote it were named Fanny Crosbey. She did. She said that Fanny Crosbey were blind at birth, or soon after. An’ that she didn’t let that keep her from lovin’ God an’ trustin’ him with her life. It didn’t. She said when she sang “Blessed Assurance” it were as if she could hear Fanny singin’ it too. She did.
I went back to my truck an’ took out my ol’ guitar. It were really Pa’s. But he’d taught me a few chords before he were killed at the saw mill. He did. I reckon I kinda picked up the rest on my own. I did.
After I tuned it a little I started to sing. “Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine! O what a foretaste of glory divine! Heir of salvation, purchase of God, born of his spirit, washed in his blood.”
Since I knowed all the verses, I were just finishin’ “filled with his goodness, lost in his love”, when somethin’ caught my eye comin’ up beside me. It did. I stopped an’ there stood Anna Bell Tucker. I reckon I were so lost in my thoughts I didn’t see her drive through the gate. Her daughter, Emma Sue, had been killed in a car wreck over at Council Gap about a month ago. She were Anna Bell an’ Henry’s only child. She were.
Anna Bell said, “O Ben, I’m so sorry I startled you! I come up to be with Emma Sue for awhile an’ I heard you singin’. It touched my heart so much I wanted to tell you.”
Now Anna Bell Tucker were known to have a right good singin’ voice herself. She were. Fact is, she sang in several of them plays what the folks put on over at the West Union Playhouse. She did.
She touched my shoulder an’ turned as iffen she were leavin’ an’ then stopped. She did. She said, “Ben, would you do me a favor?” I told her I’d be glad to. She asked iffen I would go with her to Emma Sue’s grave an’ sing a song with her. She did. An’ I told her I would. I did.
When we got around the hill she showed me Emma Sue’s grave. She did. She asked iffin I would sing Amazing Grace with her. She said Emma Sue always liked that song. She said, “You know Ben, Emma Sue were testin’ her wings. She stopped goin’ to church with us, an’ I reckon goin’ out with Bradley Carter that night were just her way of seekin’ her own way of livin’. Now the Carter’s an’ us have both lost our children. I don’t blame Bradley, I know he were goin’ too fast, but he couldn’t see that rock slide until it were too late.”
She stepped in closer to me an’ started to sing an’ I joined in. I did. “Amazing grace, how sweet the sound! That saved a wretch like me! I once was lost, but now I’m found; was blind, but now I see.”
Anna Bell’s voice were so clear an’ beautiful I reckoned they could hear us all the way down in Hickory Ridge. I did. An when we were done, she leaned over agin me an’ said, “Thank you Ben.” I gave her a hug an said, “Anna Bell, lets me’n you go up on top of the hill an’ sing a little to all the folks what are buried here.” And so we did. We sang How Great Thou Art an’ The Old Rugged Cross, an’ Shall We Gather at the River. We did.
Then I asked her to do me a favor. I did. I asked iffen she would go to Ma an’ Pa’s graves an sing one of Ma’s favorite songs. I did. She smiled an said she’d like that.
As I strummed my ol’ guitar, Anna Bell Tucker’s sweet, clear voice spread out all across Hickory Ridge.
“I come to the garden alone, While the due is still on the roses; And the voice I hear falling on my ear, The son of God discloses. And he walks with me, and he talks with me, and he tells me I am his own; And the joy we share as we tarry there, None other has ever known.”
Happy birthday Ma


CONCERNS: Marie Barnett has asked for our prayers for both her and her mother, who is very ill at this time. One of Melisha Scruggs’ instructors is both teaching full time and caring for her mother who has Alzheimer’s. Martha Foy asks for prayers for her aunt, Sue Huels, who was also injured in a fall recently, Sandra Anderson and Gil Richardson. Jim Hunter has been told the cancer has returned, but they are not sure where at this time. Garrett Lee Williams’s friend, Hannah, is responding well to treatment for leukemia. Continue to remember Rich Crites, Leena Bolin’s brother, Nick, and her mother Helen. Deana McRoy, Gary Overstreet, Stephanie Rigney, Marge Greenwood, Jenni Cullum, Tim Elder, Mary Smith, Mrs. Matara, the mother of a friend of Jim Hunter’s, and Sharon, a friend of Del Bolin’s

Monday: John 8:21-47
Tuesday: Luke 22:14-30
Wednesday: Luke 22:13-34
Thursday: Psalm 51:1-19
Friday: Acts 4:2-5:11
Saturday: Psalm 99:1-9; 100:1-5
Monday: John 17:1-26
Tuesday: Revelation 19:1-16
Wednesday: Luke 16:19-31
Thursday: Matthew 9:1-13
Friday: I Corinthians 10:1-13
Saturday: Psalm 106:1-48

On Sunday, March 2nd, Marie Barnett stepped forward and let it be known that she wanted to redirect her life toward God. Marie was baptized a number of years ago, but her life has taken several turns that lead her away from a life with God. She has asked for our prayers as she starts over.
This Sunday (today) is Super Sunday. Hopefully this will be the last time we have a fire in the fireplace until fall arrives. Plan to stay and enjoy the meal
There are some ongoing projects we are working on and hope to advance that need to be discussed. (See the following announcement) The meeting will be in the library after the Super Sunday meal.
The plans have been drawn and a contractor is reviewing them to give an estimate on the cost of making the restroom in the cry room handicapped accessible.
When it is started it will take about three weeks to finish. That does not mean the facilities will not be available, just that there will be some alterations being done. However, there may be a Sunday when it will not usable.
The lighting system in the annex is in need of replacement. Some acoustical changes are also planned along with a new set of lights with fans to circulate the air.
Changes to improve our worship experience is also in the works.
James Downing’s birthday is March 29. Now that we are getting back in the swing of things after the cold weather, we will start collecting information for a new directory. If you know of other birthdays in March, let it be known.
Susan and Wayne Phlegar continue to send breakfast items to the troops closing out the war in Afghanistan. These are really appreciated, so keep on bringing in the items on the list. A few copies can be found on the foyer table. Also, if you were not here to hear about Churches of Christ Relief Effort, information is also on the table.

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