These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.
Deuteronomy 6:6-8 NIV
“Sermonettes make Christianettes” must have been the thinking of the evangelists who came through
Ponca City to preach revivals. Now these were not weekend revivals. Revivals in the fifties went for two solid weeks of lengthy services. The faithful attendees were tired, but somehow refreshed, after the ten days of meetings.
One of my family’s favorite speakers was Halley C. Howell. The “C” stood for “Comet.” He was born at the time of the appearance of “Hailey’s Comet,” sometimes called “Halley’s Comet” in 1909. Many people at that time felt that the world was coming to an end. His mother, so taken by the strange sight in the heavens, decided to name him for the comet. And he, like the comet, was a fireball. His emotional appeals to come to the Lord before it was too late touched the hearts of everyone who heard him speak. I’m sure many souls will be in heaven through the ministry of Brother Howell and thousands of other evangelists like him who traveled around to preach the gospel.
Another two-week event that happened every summer was Vacation Bible School. In today’s world it is hard to imagine being able to get enough workers for a morning Bible School from 9-12 a.m. for two weeks. But we did. We had the usual Bible stories, songs, crafts, and games. I don’t remember having any refreshments, except on the final Friday. Then we got little three ounce ice cream cups from the Midwest Creamery. Now, the very best thing about the ice cream cups was getting to eat them with little wooden
spoons. This ice cream would not have tasted the same with plastic or metal spoons. We loved the taste of wet wood mixed with the vanilla ice cream.
Much of our time during the two weeks was spent getting a display of crafts and a full hour program ready for our parents to see on the final Friday night. Each class had to prepare a part of the program for that evening. We wrote skits and learned memory verses to entertain our parents. One year a creative teacher of the junior class had a shadow play. She had us stand close to a sheet in freeze-frames of various Bible stories while she put a spotlight on us. I remember being “Dorcas” from the Acts account of the godly woman who helped so many that her death was greatly mourned. She was miraculously raised from the dead. I stood very close to the white sheet with a pan in my hand to show Dorcas’ loving care of others. I guess I have always wondered why I had a pan in my hand, since Dorcas’ home economics skill was sewing, not cooking.
Another year our teacher said we would have a service project of painting the chairs in
the Beginners’ classroom a bright red. We had so much fun the first day as our teacher let us paint and run
back and forth across the choir loft with our friends. Then, on Tuesday, there must have been a
staff adjustment as the fun teacher was replaced by one who got control of the Junior class and ruined the great service project the first teacher had planned.
The church trusted me to teach children when I was very young. I believe these “student
teaching” episodes made my college education courses easier as I already had experience in working with children. My forays into the world of teaching were not always successful. I remember my equally inept friend and I teaching a lesson on sharing only to have the Primaries fighting over the crayons in the