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In the wildwood

There’s a church in the valley by the wildwood
No lovelier place in the dale
No spot is so dear to my childhood
As the little brown church in the vale

Macrorie United Church. No longer open and never brown but still dear to my childhood.

Oh, come to the church by the wildwood
Come to the church in the dale
No place is so dear to my childhood
As the little brown church in the vale

inside our Church

How sweet on a clear Sabbath morning
To list to the clear ringing bell
It’s tones so sweetly are calling
Oh, come to the church in the vale

me & my cousin, Deb, at the guest book for an anniversary "come & go tea"

Oh, come to the church by the wildwood
Come to the church in the dale
No place is so dear to my childhood
As the little brown church in the vale

 * * *

Sunday school, Easter service, Confirmation classes, Christmas concerts and bridal showers.  Anniversary celebrations, retirement parties, funerals and luncheons.  Church was an anchor: a place to gather, to worship, to sing, to cry, to laugh, to live.

It doesn’t take much effort to still smell the hymnals, coffee perking in the basement kitchen and the combined fragrance of Lemon Pledge and Pine Sol  – a fragrance that said this place is clean, this place is holy; something so deeply ingrained that just a whiff today can transport me immediately there.

I still can hear the creak of the entry stairs, shared greetings between friends and neighbors and inner doors closing reverently as services began.

Mary Jane's: image superstarbabies.com

Smiling, I remember the clickety-click-click  of our Mary Jane shoes as we cantered down the aisle and into our seats.  Trying my best to be still, my hands recall the feel of the polished oak pews beneath them.

I remember the nerves that threatened to overtake us as we stood in line on the back staircase leading up to the choir stand.

But mostly, mostly I remember the warmth of the congregation and the soft presence of dear ones who left us years ago.

Do you have a childhood church living in you?

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Categories: Faith, Family, Gratitude, Joy, Life, music, Opinion, Personal, Relationships, Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 27 Comments

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27 thoughts on “In the wildwood

  1. mydailey

    I received the Kreativ Blogger Award and I’m passing it on to you. With love, Maria

  2. Love this upbeat version of “O Come to the Church in the Wildwood.” Rick is tapping his fingers and foot behind me at his desk asking “What are you listening to?” Caught his attention, too. My answer “What you’re tapping your foot to. That’s what I’m listening to.” 🙂 Silly husband.

  3. What a delightful post. Love the poem.

    • Thank you; those are actually the lyrics from the song below called “O Come to the Church in the Wildwood.” — a childhood favorite. Cheers! MJ

  4. I have several childhood churches living in me and remember feeling very loved in those places. Happy Sunday, my friend.
    Hugs,
    Kathy

    • This one’s my personal favorite; we visited lots of churches with our youth group but this one was “home.” Hugs
      MJ

  5. cooper

    Nice Farrah hair. the church i “grew up” in is more of an imposing edifice than a building hewn from the congregation…

    • Thanks – my curls were in abundance then, as you can see … but see, that imposing edifice still leaves its mark .. MJ

  6. I can relate. No church has ever felt as much like “home” as the one we attended all the years I was growing up. I still remember friends and faces from that church. I remember celebrations and special masses, weddings, baptisms…

    I’m sort of church-homeless these days. My old church is not far away, but it’s been remodeled since I went there. The people are different. And the diocese is closing it. 😦

    • I know what you mean, Terri, for no church has ever felt as home as that first one did. I’m church-homeless, too, and I’m admittedly a little afraid to venture out on my own again. It’s overwhelming to be overwhelmed … I want to slip in, check it out, try it on for size and then let me tell them that I want to be embraced, not the alternative. ~sigh!

      I’m sorry yours is closing .. I hope you’ll find a new home, too.
      MJ

  7. I remember singing this at church. We often pass over the old hymns and songs and go for the more modern ones, yet it these staples that speak to our hearts. Thanks for sharing.

    • Yep, we sang all the classics like “What a friend we have in Jesus” but it was these toe-tapping snappy ones that I preferred. 🙂 MJ

  8. Oh, yes, my childhood church lives within me. When I read your comment about the smell of the hymnals, it made me smile
    This was always one of my favorite hymns to play on the piano….
    Thanks for bringing those memories to the forefront today, MJ!

    • Me too, Dianna! I still love to play those old gospel songs, especially the uptempo ones. 🙂 I play by ear and when I sit down at my keyboard, it’s those old thyme songs that always bubble up first.
      MJ

      • I could never play a single note by ear, but always wanted to!

      • It’s a blessing in a curse – I can pick out the melody of any song but if you put the notes in front of me, I can only find middle C. That’s what I get for bluffing my way through 6 years of lessons … 🙂

  9. That’s a long time to “bluff”! Happy Monday!

    • At one point, I could read the notes. Then I figured out I didn’t need to … soon, lessons were “goof off” sessions. 🙂 MJ

  10. Love the Statler Bros! Great song, too. Yes, there’s a church from my childhood that holds lots of memories, all those of which you mentioned. I certainly remember sitting in those pews as if it were yesterday. There was a little brass nameplate on the end of each one, too, in memory or honor of someone.

  11. Truly if tomorrow I were to walk in the large wooden doors it would feel incredibly “Holy” and would take me back to the days of my youth…I loved the feeling of “Him” that was always there. Being on my knees…reciting
    prayers and singing the hymns…the smells of church…the candles…the hymnals…the older ladies perfume and Sunday best…it was the tradition…and celebration of HIs life:) Thank you MJ for taking me back to good memories:)

  12. Wow, this is beautiful. Even if I’m from a different generation, I can relate. My favorite part? The smells you describe – they instantly took me back to my childhood church. Thanks for bringing up some great memories 🙂

    • I’m glad you found a piece of your childhood in here, too. The church was central to our community; it make me sad that our little prairie church had to close. Now all the elderly parishioners carpool to the next town, about 15 miles away. There they have a church home, but it’s just not the same as our original one.

      Welcome to my neighborhood, Mrs. Weber 🙂

      MJ

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