Hot Dog!

 

I’m sitting at a drive-thru and I am overcome. Drifting out the open window I can smell hot dogs, fries, mustard, hot grease, not too overpowering, and the hint of cardboard boxes-not styrofoam-these boxes have that unique smell; it blends in with the fries and maybe an onion ring or two. This is not a chain; it’s an independently run establishment, usually started over forty years ago, and now passed down to the son or sons to run. Successful, yes, but hard work. Everybody in the family does their part to keep the business up and running. I’ve never seen these drive-thru diners advertised; if it’s a good burger or dog for a reasonable price, word-of-mouth, that mouth having just finished a chili dog, and washed it down with sweet iced tea is enough. The parking lot will be filled, if not already. This is the South; sweet iced tea, chili dogs all-the-way, fries, onion rings, or half and half, is spoken here. It’s the language of the mid-day meal for anyone who has worked hard and needs a shot of carbs to keep going til the end of the work day. No one comes in without engaging in conversation with the patriarch of the family; no one leaves without a blessing; the locals joke around; the atmosphere is homey, loving, and well, just right. I was in there one day, during the hard times of my family members’ illnesses. I couldn’t help it, tears leaked out of my eyes. One of the young men who take orders and serve, passed by, he squeezed my shoulder; our eyes met; that was all that was needed; my pain was recognized and reassurance received. It just occurred to me that many times we don’t get that much unconditional love, care, and concern from our own churches today. Something to ponder!

I say churches today. None of the churches I’ve attended in recent years can compare to the Southern small town church; this small town church is dying they say. The old hymns, choirs just slightly off tune, wooden pews, wooden floors, wooden slates that show the hymn numbers for today’s service; wooden slats hold the numbers; each week the numbers easily changed. The small pencils without erasers fit into tiny holes in the back of the pew in front; the bigger holes hold the tiny communion glasses. As a child I was fascinated by eraser-less pencils; are there no mistakes made in church; is that the reason no erasers are needed? Again, something to ponder!

Churches today are too big for me; too many people, too many faces, too impersonal. I long for Sunday School classes of long ago. I remember we had a Superintendent who would walk from class to class each Sunday to gather class attendance records and offerings. He would be in a suit and tie, of course; I was impressed with his title and knew he was someone I should respect, and I did.

I remember learning about the Bible Stories. We were taught the characters, their names, their situations, their stories. We were not asked what we thought about church, life, Jesus, God; we were told those stories; at that age, that’s all I needed. Today there’s more concern for the child’s thoughts, questions, ideas. Where is the learning there? I taught fourth, fifth, and sixth graders for thirty-seven years. My students always loved stories; they loved learning something new; students that age don’t know much about themselves yet; so we tell them what we know; it’s up to the student to believe the information and be able to apply the skill. Isn’t that what studying Your Word is all about, Dear Lord? Read or listen to the information; believe it or not; apply those beliefs; and put those skills into practice. Hot Dog! I think I’ve got it!

Dear Lord, thank You for the many ways You show me Your love, a drive-thru diner serving hot dogs along with unconditional love, old church sanctuaries built sturdy and supplying small eraser-less pencils proving that no mistake needs erasing. Jesus did that for us already on a large wooden cross.

And all the congregation looked up, turned to hymn number 325, sang on or off-key, then dragged out a long multi-noted Amen!

 

 

Give Me That Old-Time Religion

a traditional Gospel song dating from 1873.

It was written down by Charles Davis Tillman and first heard sung by African-Americans at a camp meeting in Lexington, South Carolina in 1889.

 

Refrain:
Give me that old-time religion,
Give me that old-time religion,
Give me that old-time religion,
It’s good enough for me.
It was good for Paul and Silas,
It was good for Paul and Silas,
It was good for Paul and Silas,
It’s good enough for me. [Refrain]
It was good for the Hebrew children,
It was good for the Hebrew children,
It was good for the Hebrew children,
It’s good enough for me. [Refrain]
It was good for our mothers,
It was good for our mothers,
It was good for our mothers,
It’s good enough for me. [Refrain]
Makes me love ev’ry body,
Makes me love ev’ry body,
Makes me love ev’ry body,
It’s good enough for me. [Refrain]

 

 

The Church in the Wildwood
written by Dr. William S. Pitts in 1857

 

There’s a church in the valley by the wildwood,
No lovelier spot in the dale;
No place is so dear to my childhood
As the little brown church in the vale.
Chorus:
Come to the church in the wildwood,
Oh, come to the church in the vale;
No spot is so dear to my childhood
As the little brown church in the vale.
Oh, come to the church in the wildwood,
To the trees where the wild flowers bloom;
Where the parting hymn will be chanted,
We will weep by the side of the tomb. (Chorus)
How sweet on a clear Sunday morning,
To list to the clear ringing bell;
Its tones so sweetly are calling,
Oh, come to the church in the vale. (Chorus)
From the church in the valley by the wildwood,
When day fades away into night,
I would fain from this spot of my childhood
Wing my way to the mansions of light. (Chorus)

 

 

 

 

 

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7 thoughts on “Hot Dog!”

  1. Church in the Wildwood ! Sung every summer at Camp Deerwood ! Are you in Hartsville at that drive in ?

    Margaret Smith, ABR®, CRS®, GRI®, SRES®
    Coldwell Banker Caine
    Cell & Text: (864) 270-1108

    “Celebrating 40 years in Greenville Real Estate”

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