Monday, January 20, 2014

What Dad Believes

January 20, 1965

Jocie Brooke here reporting from downtown Hollyhill, Kentucky. Exciting news today. Dad got contacted by somebody to do an interview. It's usually Dad interviewing other folks for a piece in the Banner, but this time the tables were turned and somebody interviewed him all about what went on last fall here in Hollyhill. You remember, don't you? Well maybe if you don't, you should read those Heart of Hollyhill books. You can find out a lot about Hollyhill and all of us in those books.

Dad was interviewed about the book Orchard of Hope. It's a good thing that writer person wrote all that down, else we might have forgotten it. Not yet, but someday. Like in fifty years or so. Dad says he thinks someday people won't pay attention to the color of a person's skin. He thinks that anybody will be able to go anywhere and do whatever they want as long as it's legal. If that person wants to eat at the lunch counter instead of in the back booth, that will be fine and there won't have to be sit-ins and Freedom Trains and so much trouble. 

I guess because Dad can see how things should be instead of how they are is why Miss Lamb decided to ask him about what he believes. One thing for sure, Dad doesn't mind talking about that. He says that every Christian should be that way and ready to share what the Lord has done for them. He studies the Bible to try to get answers out of God's Word. He talks about some of those answers over with Ms. Lamb.

Here's one of the questions Dad answered. 

(Her Question) Orchard of Hope is about hope in the midst of a turbulent era in the South. I’d love to hear what you think about what was going on around you at that time. Do you believe that the tensions that caused such strife could have been handled in a different manner?
(Dad's answer) Things have been wrong in the South for a long time before now, 1964. A man should never be judged by the color of his skin or his religion. The Lord loves us all and in our great country, we claim to believe all men are created equal. If we truly believe that, we should live that truth. So things did need to change, but change can be difficult and as you say, turbulent. Sometimes it’s easier to not stir up trouble, to just let things drift along the way they always have been. But the Lord can poke our consciences to open our eyes and see that changes need to be made however hard that is to do. He empowers a man like Martin Luther King Jr. with a gift of words to find a peaceful way to make people see that all men have the right to equal opportunities. I’m a peaceful man, as is Martin Luther King Jr., but there are times when a man has to stand up for what is right no matter the consequences. Sadly, I think the strife was bound to happen because there are so many people who cling to the old prejudices. That’s sad but too true. Being human is a messy condition. We are not puppets on a string. The Lord gives us freedom of choice even when those choices lead to sorrowful and sinful decisions and outcomes.

Now doesn't that sound just like Dad? Wise and thoughtful, I guess that's why the Lord called him to preach. So he could share some of that. You can read more of what Dad thinks at Fay Lamb's Inner Source

Don't ask me exactly what that is. I think I must have stepped forward into the future. Funny, huh. I mean funny odd. Not funny ha ha. Anyway if you leave a comment on Dad's interview and on that author's interview on Wednesday and her guest post on Friday, you'll have a chance to win a copy
of Orchard of Hope. If you already have the book, I hope you enjoy the story. But if you win a new copy, you can always give it to someone as a gift or maybe donate it to your church library. 

Pretty soon that last book will be back out. You know, the one where Dad is getting all mushy over Leigh in Summer of Joy. I caught them kissing out of the porch last week. Leigh turned red as a tomato, but Dad just laughed. He laughs a lot since he started seeing Leigh. I wish I had a picture of him to show you. Maybe I'll hunt one up. 

Anyway, right now there's not much summer. Winter grabs hold and hangs on with more cold and snow coming. If we keep missing school, we won't get more than a week's worth of summer vacation. But that doesn't matter. I'm not going to be gloomy. I don't care if it is January. Good things can happen in January, can't they?

Monday, January 13, 2014

Kids are Just Kids

Photo credit: The Roanoke Times, file photo, 1960.
January 13, 1965

Jocie Brooke here reporting from Hollyhill, Kentucky. We had to go back to school after Christmas last week. The snow kept us out a couple of days but then it was back to books and teachers. 

School's not so bad. Not now that I'm used to high school and all. That first day last year when I had to start as a freshman and the school was integrating and nobody knew exactly what to expect - well, that day was one of those days that make the ants crawl around under your skin. But now I know where my locker is and where my classes are. I know the upper class kids can be jerks, but I can just ignore them and do fine. And I know that kids are just kids no matter what they look like. 

We hardly even think about integration these days. It's like we've been going to school together forever. At least, that's how it is with Charissa and me. Have I told you about Charissa? She's one of my best friends now. We're both PKs. That's short for preachers' kids, you know. And PKs need to stick together.

I can't believe we didn't know each other before the schools integrated. We grew up in the same town but we were never in the same places. But now we are. I've even been to her church to hear her father preach and she's been to mine to hear Dad. The churches are a lot different. When they sing at her church, they sound like they could keep on forever. When we sing at Mt. Pleasant, we sound like we just wish the song was over. I like the way her church sings better, but when I told Dad I thought we needed more oomph in our songs, he just laughed and said the way we sing hymns is fine. 

Maybe so. But I liked clapping my hands and singing at Charissa's church. Of course, if I tried that at our church, Aunt Love would have a stroke right there in the pew. She would. She'd think clapping hands in church wouldn't be reverent. Funny how people come up with different ideas of how to be properly reverent.

It's funny too how people thought we, Charissa and I, couldn't attend the same schools. Our skin might be different colors, but we're so much alike. Besides the PK kind of stuff. You know like we both like aqua. Not only for the color it is but also for the way the word looks spelled out. Charissa and I both like words. We like to run our tongue around new words we're just learning. We both like Blue Monday candy bars and soft drinks and we can keep a hula hoop going forever. And we both definitely know how it is for a whole church full of people to think you ought to never make a mistake because you're the preacher's kid. Either that, or they decide you get away with murder because you're a PK. 

Do you remember when your schools were integrated? You might think that sounds funny - to think about kids going to separate schools because of the color of their skin. And you know what? You're right. But back here in the 1960's we were just figuring all that out.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Snow in Hollyhill's Summer of Joy

January 6, 1965
Jocie Brooke reporting from Hollyhill, Kentucky. It's snowing! It's snowing! No school in Hollyhill tomorrow. I shouldn't be happy about that since we just went back to school from Christmas break last week, but when you get a snow day, you have to be happy. Aren't you happy when you get a snow day? I love snow. I do. 

In that book about Hollyhill, Summer of Joy, there are a lot of snow scenes. That sounds sort of strange for a book named Summer of something, but the story starts out before Christmas and ends in June. I guess when the summer started it was pretty  joyful in Hollyhill, but the snowstorm in that book was something. 

The weathermen had said flurries and so Dad and Leigh figured it would be fine for them to drive to Grundy so Dad could meet Leigh's parents. Leigh wasn't too excited about that. She said her parents were "different." She made quotes around the word when she said it. They wanted her to move back home with them instead of being her own person, but Leigh says sometimes a girl has to grow up and be a person on her own and not just somebody's daughter. Especially when she falls in love. You did know that Leigh has majorly fallen for Dad, didn't you? Majorly.

Anyway, Leigh says her parents aren't all that much in favor of her being crazy for Dad. He is a lot older than her since she's not all that much older than Tabitha. But she says age doesn't matter and maybe it doesn't because Dad has been really happy lately. I think he liked almost getting stuck with Leigh in the snow. 

Maybe you'll think it's fun to read a bit from that Summer of Joy book when the snow if falling fast and furious.

     And then they were out the door, stepping through snow over their shoe tops to the car. The snow crunched under the car's wheels as David backed carefully out of the driveway. He didn't want to have to pray himself out of the ditch right in front of their house. Once they were back on the main highway, the roads were still fairly clear. There wasn't much traffic. Just a car now and again. Some other idiot trying to escape his future in-laws' house.
     David was concentrating on driving, feeling every slip of the wheels, but at the same time, he was keenly aware of Leigh's silence in the dark beside him. He glanced over at her, "You okay?"
     "I'm sorry, David. They were even worse than I thought they would be."
     "Your mother wasn't too happy about our news, but you know, I'm not marrying your mother. I'm marrying you and you're happy about our news."
     "I am." Suddenly Leigh started laughing.
     "What's so funny?" David asked.
     "I don't know. Us. Them. The snow. Everything. I always have to laugh when I leave their house. All that laughter that I couldn't spill there gets piled up inside me and I have to let it out."
     And so they laughed and prayed their way through the snow back to Hollyhill.

Hope you liked reading that. Lots more happened during that snowstorm in Hollyhill. Dad had some surprises when he got home. We all did - thanks to Zella's meddling. You won't believe what Zella did. Well, maybe you will. After all, we're talking about Zella now.

Pretty soon Summer of Joy (March) will be back on the shelves and you will have a chance to read all about that snow storm and those surprises.