By Nikki Pelezo / Dirt Roads
She’s down an old dirt road here in Northeast Texas. You can’t miss her. She’s been standing in the same spot for over 150 years. The old church is quiet now, the cemetery association took her over about twenty years ago. She is used now for community reunions.
The old Methodist church used to be the backbone of this community. Thousands upon thousands of country folk filled her pews to capacity. Hundreds of revivals were put on, thousands of church suppers were attended. She was the community; she was the center of my little world.
Over the years farming became unproductive. Fields are now growing cattle and pine trees, nothing that would sustain growing families. Sons and daughters had to leave this little community to find jobs. The old folks kept her going until there were three members left to attend the services. It was time to close her doors.
I’m parked out in the yard of the old church. If I close my eyes I can hear the limbs from the old cedar tree scrape along her eaves and windows. Listen, you can hear the children’s laughter, the grieving of a mother, the snores of an old grandpa. You can hear the singing of the hymns, the monotone of the sermons and the flutter of all the souls that entered this old church.
I’m back in my car and ready for the ride back home. I have this moment of clarity that at my age I am the memory keeper for this old church. When I pass from this life there will be no one left to remember what a grand church she was and what solace she gave to thousands that worshiped within her.
Before I turn onto the big road I look back in my rearview mirror and see her in all her glory. I no longer hear the children’s laughter or the hymns. She is quiet, she sits waiting for us all to return.