The church was tiny by any standard, and the congregation was correspondingly small. In fact, small as the building was, I am sure that more people could have been seated within at any given service. Principally what I recall about the edifice was the imposing, to me, bell tower with its spire pointing heavenward. An exciting time it was for me when I got to watch Daddy pull the rope to swing the great bell, calling the congregants to worship!
The other building feature with which I might have been impressed was the front porch, a stoop, really, because the elevation to the floor level also corresponded to the wee nature of the structure. I might have been impressed, but memory fails and here I rely on the first-hand witness of my mother who testified to taking me from the service on occasion to the front steps. The purpose was two-fold. First, it was to relieve the worshipers of the annoyance of an ill-behaved child; and second, and more important to Mother, to instill in that child the fear of God, and coincidentally, the fear of Mother. Years later Mama told me that she was the object of criticism among some of the old ladies (and the church was mostly old ladies) for applying corporal punishment to a child so young. Mama’s theory of child-rearing: Conquer the child. Clearly some children need more “conquering” than others!
Corresponding to the minuscule nature of his charge, Daddy’s salary was virtually non-existent. The nation was in the thrall of the Great Depression, so there was all but no work to be had. A gentleman in the community, though, had a piece of land that he wanted cleared of timber. While he was doing the work himself, he needed a second set of hands. He hired Daddy to work with him. The wages amounted to fifty cents a day, early morning until evening. The most exciting part of this work was blasting stumps and logs. They drilled holes in the wood with an augur, then sweetened them up, literally, with a compound they mixed up using a couple of common farm and household materials. The substance was carefully tamped into the holes, then fireworks! I heard my father relate stories about this work many times, and yet today I can picture a length of log cartwheeling thirty feet into the air!
While many people idolized the President who had been reelected for a second term and would soon be elected to his third term, my Dad was not among them. If I haven’t already told you why, I’ll try to work that into the Saga of Survival in Nebraska next time around.