Friday, December 16, 2005


(Run originally 8/4/04 on our old site)

Ernie Simpson


Uncle Jim Bennett was mom’s uncle, and I’m not sure of the other lineage here but I recall, as a young boy in church, how fervently he believed in the Word, and how strongly he wanted all to know about the word of the Lord, as he preached in the little churches around the community. It didn’t matter where he was, just as long as ‘two or three are gathered together in My name’, that’s where Uncle Jim would be, too.

We went to service often, and also had several neighbors who were faithful to church every Sunday at the little community church in Ballew community. One neighbor in particular loved to sit on the back row, and doze. This was fine, his wife couldn’t bother him as she was the piano player, and was out of reach to keep him awake. But, even the enthusiastic preaching of Uncle Jim didn’t faze the man, and his striding back and forth waving his Bible, and mopping his brow every moment or two, did not deter the dozer.

One Sunday morning, Uncle Jim was truly filled with the Spirit, and had just gotten into his sermon, and was bringing the word with enthusiasm and great emotion. He wanted everyone within the sound of his voice to hear the word, as it was profound and held Grace for all who would hear.

He was stringing his words together as fast and loudly as he could, we had to listen carefully, to make sure we caught it all, when suddenly, Uncle Jim just caught his breath, and called out, “Wa-a-a-a-ke up, Brother Canfield!!!”

Well, the dozer awoke, and everyone looked at him, but Uncle Jim did not break his stride in his sermon, and just kept preaching. Some of us kids snickered, but no matter, the sermon kept going.

That was the last time Brother Canfield dozed during one of Uncle Jim’s sermons.

Old Traditions


Grandpa Bennett told me once of a friend who was a very devout member in the little church they attended as young adults. The friend was a deacon in the church, and they were of a southern fundamentalist group who believed in following some of the acts in the scripture with celebrations appropriate to that activity. One of these was foot washing, to commemorate Jesus’ feet being washed according to Luke, by the woman, a sinner.

The man’s son was a teenager, and he and his dad had conflict that morning before church over something, and the son decided to get even. So, he took a knife, and carefully scraped the inside of the chimney pipe of the wood burning stove. When he thought he had enough soot, he carefully coated the inside of his dad’s socks.

They all got ready for church, and during the service, came time for the sacrament of the foot washing. Everyone prepared, they brought a basin and a towel, the deacon sat down and the preacher said,” Let’s have a word of prayer before we start.”

After the prayer, the dad took off his shoes, then removed his socks, and both feet were black as night.

The preacher, and the whole front of the church were aghast as they saw what happened, but the father was calm as could be as he said, “Well, that Hubert, he’s the one that done that.”

After calm was restored, they went on with the foot washing, for real. The father went home with clean feet, but the son, I learned, had a session with the razor strap.


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