Well, no more Coal Camp for me. I am back in Yawkey, WV where I lived the first three years of my life. I didn’t know it then, but I will have connections with this area all my life. Yawkey is twenty-five miles from Charleston, WV and about twelve miles from Hamlin, the county seat. Everyone has big yards, barns, gardens and it is very clean.
Mother was glad to once again attend the Porter Fork Baptist Church at Yawkey. She went to this church as a girl & she met daddy there during a revival service. The church was one big room with curtains to divide the classes on Sunday morning. The handmade pulpit sat in the middle of the podium. The seats were not very comfortable because of the slats on the bottoms and I tended to squirm during the services.
I would usually sit with Granny Woodrum because she had chewing gum in her purse. I could usually choose from Teaberry, Black Jack, Dentyne or Clove. One stick was never enough and I would put two or three in my mouth at a time. Granny didn’t care if I chewed this much gum.
On Wednesday night we would have a Bible Study with a devotional leader at church. We always called this service Prayer Meeting and as a kids I found it boring, but I had no choice in whether I attended or not. I really did learn a lot by just listening to what people said. There would be a time of people giving their testimony and telling others how much they loved God and how He had blessed them.
Everyone would shake hands and go to the alter for prayer. Everyone prayed out-loud and I would try to hear what they were saying, but it all just blurred together. Finally. the last person to finish praying would say AMEN and everyone would go back to their seat.
The local funeral home gave all the church in the area hand fans. Usually there was a picture of Jesus knocking on a door on the front, the name of the funeral home on the back and a wooden handle. There was no air conditioning and these really came in handy during sweltering hot weather. When I sat beside Granny Woodrum I would lean on her arm and she would fan me. I love sitting with her.
One night we had a guest speaker and it was really hot in the church. The heat made the wasp start coming out of the ceiling and they were darting everywhere. The preacher was preaching real loud and one swooped down and almost got him. The next one flew down and got under his glasses. He tried to keep preaching and was pulling off his glasses. Needless to say, I started laughing and was trying to hold my nose and mouth to keep quite, but I gave out a big snort of laughter. I just did what everyone else wanted to do, but they were trying to be serious. I still to this day think it was funny.