By Luther Blackmon
On my desk is a picture of the church house at Bald Prairie, Texas where I suppose I “went to church” the first time. In my mother’s arms of course. I have heard her say that she had to take each one of us children outside just once. If you had known my mother you could understand the significance of that statement much better. Slip had not read Dr. Spock’s book and had the old-fashioned idea that children should obey their parents, especially when they were where they would disturb other people. But even if she had not felt that way about it, there was another fellow who had to be taken into consideration, Uncle Josh Raines, one of the elders. There was rarely ever any giggling or passing notes at Bald Prairie, during the life of Uncle Josh. He had a keen eye and he kept it on the audience a good part of the time. If he saw some of the youngsters talking or passing notes during the worship, he went back and took his seat with them. The silence then would be almost deafening. Uncle Josh, as he was commonly known by his friends, has passed on to his eternal reward, but the memory of him, for many years to come, will be with the people who knew him.
The cemetery where most of our folk are buried is just across the dirt road from the church building. When I am back there on a visit, (or to preach the funeral of a friend who has passed on, I usually go over into the cemetery where my loved ones lie. One day I was looking at the headstones and came to the one at the head of the grave of “Uncle Josh.” The lady who was with me, also an old friend, remarked, … They didn’t put on his headstone what he always said lie wanted there.” “What was that, I asked’!” “Always On Time. ” We both smiled at that because we both remembered that if there were only Uncle Josh and his wife, Aunt Lizzie, there when the time came to start, he started the singing. He was rough on what he considered to be wrong or less spiritual than it should be, but the world and especially the churches, could use a lot more like Uncle Josh.
TRUTH MAGAZINE XVII: 43, p. 2
September 6, 1973