Casting Bread Upon The Water

My Book, Casting Bread Upon the Water sold out in the first printing.  I just recieved the second printing and now have plenty of books available.  If you failed to get your hands on a copy, let me know and I can give you details on how to order.  You can also check my website www.darlensnyder.com to order via Paypal.

The book is about a country church – my home church and the community of Kirksville Kentucky where the church sits. It is history, but it also gives the readers an inside view of the making of a church – the successes and failures. I share memories of some members of the church as well as glimpse into the community. If you enjoy reading about people outside your own community and enjoy seeing how other people live or have lived, you will enjoy the book.  There are also plenty of pictures. 

 

Advertisements

Still in Love After Seventy Years of Marriage

The gravels crunched beneath my tires as I drove my automobile up the inclined  driveway.  Bits of grass grew wildly between some of the rocks.  After parking, I took a moment to view the house I was about to enter. 

 The two story older home looked like it had new siding – a pale yellow color.  The front held two porch swings –one on each end of the concreted covered entrance. The lawn neatly mowed looked inviting. The trees in the front looked as if they were coaxing me to pull up a lawn chair and sit beneath them on this warm summer day, I immediately thought of my childhood home. 

As a writer, this was my first time of interviewing people for something other than memory writing. Although I was a little nervous, knowing the couple I was about to interview for an article that I was writing, kept most of the butterflies at bay.

 After walking the path to the front door, I banged loudly on the door to attract the attention of the older couple I was visiting.  They were expecting me.  I could hear the television – even with the front door closed.  I knew Cecil wore a hearing aide.  Many times sitting a few pews back from them at church, I’d hear his hearing aide buzzing because he had it turned up too loud.

 Sally ambled to the door and after opening it, she invited me in, greeting me with a huge smile. After instructing Cecil to turn off the TV so that they could hear me, Sally offered me a seat.

 The floral sofa did not match the floral chair.  Most of the furniture was mixed matched.  Photographs of their son, grandchildren, great and great great grandchildren lined the walls, shelves and tables. The hardwood floors held a variety of throw rugs.  I noticed white country style curtains hanging on the windows in the family room and the kitchen.  I wasn’t sure about the curtains in the rest of the house since I hadn’t seen it yet. I did notice the beautiful antiques, furniture and glassware. 

I began my interview, starting with how long they had been married, (seventy years) to what times were like when they first married. I soon realized this wasn’t going to be a typical interview.  I had to yell my questions, and they answered what they thought the questions were, most answers didn’t have anything to do with what I’d just asked.

 These people were about the sweetest married couple I’d seen in a long while. The way they answered the questions together or looking at each other and their mannerism was refreshing. The couple brought back my faith in the institution of marriage. Although my intention was only to interview  women, they were so tightly joined that it would’ve been almost impossible to just interview one of them.

They told me things like, we’ve never gone to bed angry with each other, never had a fight so big that divorce was contemplated, always worked hard and made decisions together. Cecil proudly says they’ve never purchased anything they couldn’t pay for in cash. They don’t use credit cards and don’t live above thier means.

Sally and Cecil say that their faith in Jesus Christ is what has sustained them through their marriage and just recently through the loss of their adult son.

Cecil and Sally attend church regurlary every Sunday and requires no special accomendations such as handicap parking and wouldn’t hear of being treated any differently than every other church member.

When I grow up, when I’ve been married seventy years, I hope to be as happy as Cecil and Sally are in life.

It’s All Elementary

 

By: Darlene G. Snyder

Look for my photo book on Amazon

 

follow me on Twitter

Darlene Snyder's Facebook profile

 

I’ve always been a nail biter. This particular day I was gnawing on them with intensity. In line with the other second graders in my class, we waited. I don’t recall why, but we were in line to be spanked.

 I do recall, that whatever the wrong, I hadn’t participated, but Mrs. Lewis, our teacher was determined to get us all – just to make sure she got the ones who were involved. Now that I think about it, she was upset over something that happened while she was out of the room.

 My tiny stomach rolled. My knees trembled, and my hands never left my mouth. I dreaded the sting of the paddle and I dreaded going home. If I was spanked at school, I knew my parents would get me again, never doubting that I deserved the punishment. Not because I was a mean child or even mischievous, it’s just that my dad was a disciplinarian and wanted to keep us kids in line. He’d have to spank me again just so I’d know he wasn’t going to put up with any misbehavior at school.

 That was the closest I came to a spanking at school. For some unknown or unremembered reason, Mrs. Lewis decided not to spank us. That was close.  Too, close.

 Spankings in school are a thing of the past. While I believe that schools should be able to punish children and spanking is one form of punishment that seemed to be effective in deterring bad behavior, in the past adults have abused this punishment.

 Here is an example of a teacher abusing a student.

 Mike, my husband wasn’t the only one to garner the wrath of Mrs. Ross, a third grade teacher in the elementary school he attended as a child. He was however, one of a few that she physically abused.

 She kept a bottle of cough syrup in her desk. The students knew what really was in the bottle as she drank her whisky from it all during the school day. Mrs. Ross was a stout built woman with a booming voice. The more she drank from the bottle, the more she fussed and screamed at the class. One particular day, her behavior was worse than usual.

 She called on Mike to solve a problem on the blackboard. When he couldn’t do what she asked, she spanked him. She asked again, and of course he couldn’t solve the problem so she spanked him again. Even if he could have, the fear and anger she instilled in him would have kept him from doing so. I don’t know at what point she stopped spanking and started beating him with the paddle turned up on the ends, but he went home all bruised and battered. He didn’t share this experience with his parents, but when his mother saw him in the tub later that night, she questioned him and he finally told her what happened. As one would imagine, his mother was so upset she went to school the next day and had to be held back because she wanted to get her hands on the teacher.

 One would think that would be the end and that Mrs. Ross would’ve been escorted from the school, but she wasn’t. In fact, she made fun of Mike in front of the class, taunted him and put him away from the other students, telling them not to play with him or his mama would come and get them. How horrific.  Mike said that for years he dreamed about running over Mrs. Ross with a car. Bless his little heart. 

 Spankings didn’t just happen in the schools, unlike many homes today, punishment was the norm. Children thought about the punishment before committing the infraction. The smell of fear interrupted many a child’s thought of misbehaving. Sometimes the smell was stronger than other times.

 In my home, it was Sundays when that smell was the strongest. Mom took my sister, brother and me to church every week. We sat with her in the sanctuary since there was no such thing as Children’s Church. We sat still or as still as any three children could sit. Yes, sometimes we pinched, hit, elbowed the other and sometimes we whispered, possibly whispering louder than we thought. Mom would call us down, give us that stern look and say through clenched teeth, “Just wait until you get home!” We all knew what that meant and would sit quieter still, contemplating our fate. No amount of begging after church would release us from, gulp, the belt.

 As soon as we arrive home, mom would tell dad about our unruliness. Sometimes it was before lunch, sometime we’d have to suffer through lunch, anticipating the burn from the belt. Swallowing food while knowing our doom was most difficult; if he spanked us before lunch, we’d sulk and not want to eat.

 The worse part was forming the line. The three of us would line up and wait to bend over his knees for the spanking. As I remember it, he only hit a couple of times or so, but you would’ve thought he’d beat us furiously. As we stood from our bent position, the tears wet our face. If I were not the first one, as soon as the spanking began on my siblings, I’d start crying. To this day, I can still hear the sound that the belt made as it smacked against the tender skin of the backside. Even worse, I can still feel the sting.

 Mom says that we never really acted that badly in church, but she says she didn’t want us to think we could get by with bad behavior. Since dad didn’t attend church with her, she tried to keep the bluff on three active children who were very close in age. Well, it worked. We were very afraid of the consequences of our behavior, knowing the outcome.

 There were other spankings in my life, but the Sunday spankings are the ones that stand out the most.

 If you dare, share your childhood spanking stories with me. What other forms of punishment did you receive?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NOT JUST SISTERS, BEST FRIENDS

By Darlene G. Snyder

follow me on Twitter

Darlene Snyder's Facebook profile

Me and Sis

Me and Sis

 

 

 

“Stop  it!” I screamed as I looked down at the blood streaming from the wounds on my arms.  I began kicking franticly, she made me mad and I was determined she would not get in any more hits.

“Mama, make her stop kicking me,” she yelled as I grabbed a handful of hair and yanked.

“Girls, stop it right now!” mama hollered from the kitchen.  “If you have enough energy to fight, you have energy enough to help me.  Get in here – now!”

My sister and I were teenagers, fighting like children.  This day, the fight was over my wearing her shoes.  She hated it when I took them without asking.  She always insisted I mistreated her shoes and scuffed them.  I never admitted it, but she was right, I was hard on shoes.

Since our house wasn’t large enough for the four of us-my two brothers, my sister and I – to have a space of our own, the boys shared one room and we shared another.  Our rooms were located upstairs in the old farmhouse.

Later that same day, after we retired to our rooms for the night, Paulene and I grabbed a book and sat with our backs up against the headboard on our full size bed.  Both of us loved to read.  Before long, her foot touched mine. This didn’t sit well with me so I kicked her. She reached over and slapped my arm. Another fight ensued.

“Stay on your side of the bed,” she barked at me.

“I am on my side.  You are acting like a pig and hogging the whole bed,” I snapped back. “Keep your feet off me.”

We continued smacking at each other.  I kicked and crawled my way to the end of the bed, stood up and was about to jump on top of her when suddenly; she kicked me with both of her feet.  I went tumbling backwards onto the floor.  I hit it with a thud and felt the room shake from the impact.

“Are, are you alright?” she giggled.

Silence.

“Hey Darlene, are you ok? She asked I detected fear in her voice.

Motionless, I remained silent.  I clamped my hands over my mouth, holding in the laughter trying to escape. I heard her moving in the bed.  I knew she was crawling down the length of the bed to peep over at me.  I continued to allow the silence to worry her, waiting for just the right moment.

“Aargh!!” I yelled as I jumped up and scared her.  Laughing as I watched her fall backwards onto the bed.

“You crazy thing!” she laughed, “You scared me to death. I thought I had killed you.” We lay in bed and laughed until mama yelled up the stairs for us to be quiet.

She and I were not always fighting.  We loved teaming up against our older brother.  He was too serious about everything and nothing we did pleased him.  Our favorite pastime was making his life miserable. 

Danny was one year older than me. My sister was one year younger. Cecil Jr, was several years younger than the rest of us. All Jr. wanted to do was play. Danny on the other hand didn’t like anything Paulene and I did, and he especially hated it when we wore short skirts.  Without fail, every morning before leaving home for school, he fussed.

“Mama, make them put some clothes on.”

We pranced around the room as he fumed. 

Living out a long lane, we had to walk a ways to catch a ride on the bus. When we reached the end of the road, Paulene and I would roll our skirts up even shorter. We didn’t believe our skirts could be too short, but we didn’t want mama to see us even though we knew Danny would tell her.  We received double satisfaction knowing we disturbed Danny.  He would be furious by the time we got on the bus.  Ruffling his feathers always left us satisfied.

Popping gum as we chewed it was another thing Danny hated.  This was a wonderful discovery for Paulene and me.  Each Sunday when all of us were in the car headed to church, we would plop a piece of gum into our mouths and by the time that we were well on our way, we had Danny riled.

“Stop popping your gum in my ear!” Danny seethed.

“We ain’t popping our gum, we are just chewing it,” one of us would reply innocently.

“Mama, did you hear that?  They are popping their gum.  Make them stop!”

The fussing continued until we stopped aggravating him, mama made us spit the gum out or we arrived at church, whichever came first. On other occasions, we found something else to get him going.

We learned he despised the strong odor of perfume.  Of course, before we jumped into the car to go to church or anywhere else, we sprayed ourselves down in whatever cologne we had on hand.  Most usually, it was Avon-good stout Avon.  We smelled awful because she used one kind and I would use another. Mixing the two would choke anyone, but at least it served as a way to disturb Danny the most.

It’s a wonder Danny even speaks to us now.

I can’t say when it happened, but somewhere along the way, the fighting between my sister and I subsided. Our bickering slowed to almost non-existent.   We even stopped harassing Danny. Surprisingly we liked him.  We were all getting along; Paulene and I had become friends.

Soon we were shopping together, attending functions and sharing secrets about our boyfriends.  I desired her opinion on what I should wear, how to wear my make-up and whether my shoes matched my outfit or not.  I envied her having voluptuous breasts and long, thin, pretty, tanned legs.  I was skinny, pale, wiry, redheaded, and short. My ears were too big and my teeth slightly bucked.  I was very self-conscious of how I looked.

Danny soon married and moved away from home, I followed his lead and married a year after he did.  Paulene was my maid of honor in my wedding and when I moved from home, she was lost and miserable.  I missed her wretchedly.  Before long, she began to visit- spending the night with us.  She began staying with us more than she was living at home.

After she married and both of us had children of our own, our lives led us in different directions. Even so, we enjoy spending time with each other and love to reminisce about days gone by. As much as I love my brothers, there is just something about sharing with my sister.  She has become my best friend and confidante.  We continue to confide in each other, sharing our secrets.  I value her opinion and still find myself envious of her beauty. 

 

She is kind hearted, loving and encouraging.  She never fails to complement me when we visit.  My best friend is always just a phone call away.

Outhouse at the Church House and Other Memories

 By Darlene G. Snyder (find me on facebook)

 

 

Last summer, Mike and I were riding our motorcycle in the Jackson County area of Kentucky. We rode past a small country church and I spotted an outhouse standing stalwartly to the side of the church as if waiting for the next visitor. I had to take a photograph of this lonely looking, tall and skinny rectangular box that reminded me instantly of my childhood.

 

Our church had two of those boxes that sometimes are referred to as an outside toilet or an outhouse. Our outhouses were situated behind the church – I think one was for men and one was for the women.

 

I will presume that we all know what the real purpose of the outhouses was, but it had another purpose. Mothers with a misbehaving child in church would often take the child to the outhouse to administer justice to the child for their behavior.

 

I never made it to the outhouse for that purpose. It wasn’t because I didn’t misbehave. My mother had other forms of discipline for my siblings and me on days when we acted up in church. She would wait until we returned home and then tell my father all about how we misbehaved. Daddy, who didn’t attend church with us during this time, would have my siblings and I line up and take our turn at being bent over his knees while he striped our bottoms with a few whacks of his belt. This happened each week, Sunday after Sunday – or so it seemed. It’s a wonder that any of us continued to attend church after we grew-up. I mean, the price we had to pay each week seemed enormous to me.

 

The outhouse behind my childhood home was also used for other things. I recall times when my siblings, cousins and I would play hide-n’-go-seek and inevitably one of us could be found hiding in the outhouse. I also recall stacking boxes, buckets and other stuff on the side of the outhouse, climbing up and sitting on its flat roof.  

 

I couldn’t help noticing that some people had nicer looking outhouses than ours. I mean, some were painted, neat and clean. Ours were always built using old barn wood and was a very uncomfortable, but necessary piece of real estate. I don’t recall our outhouse ever being painted or prettied up.

 

Later, when Mike and I married we purchased a very small house with a barn and a couple of acres to go along with it. The house didn’t have a bathroom, but it did have an outhouse. My sister who was just a year younger visited often. We were very close and she was dissatisfied living at home after I moved out. When it came time to take care of business after dark, my husband would have to walk the two of us outside – we were too afraid to go out alone. We had to make sure our need to take care of business came at the same time.

 

These are just a few of my outhouse memories, maybe you have some outhouse memories you’d like to share.  If so, post them here in the comment section.

Prayer Habits

I need your help.

I’m working on a book about prayer.  To help me understand where I should focus some of my attention, I need to hear from you.  I’m posting some questions here and would like for you to answer them as honestly as possible.  If you are comfortable with answering them within the comment section that will be fine, but copy/pasting the questions with your answers into an email will work also.  darlenesnyder@bellsouth.net I just want to hear from as many of you as possible. Please be as honest as possible.  All of us have bad habits and find it diffcult to pray at some time or the other.

Let’s get started.  Here are the questions:

 

 Are you a Christian?

 

Do you attend church?

 

How often do you pray?

 

What are some things you pray about?

 

Do your pray through-out the day/night?

 

Do you ever bow down onto your knees and pray?              

If yes, where and when do you do this? 

How often?

 

Do you find that when you pray, your mind drifts?

How does this make you feel?

What are some things you could do to keep this from happening?

 

Do you pray while at church?     If so, how often?              

 

Has God spoken to you through prayer?

Explain.

 

How often do you pray for people other than your family?

 

Do you have a daily prayer routine?

 

What do you believe you can do to improve your prayer life?

 

If there were a proven technique that would improve your prayer life, would you want to know about it?

 

Share an instance when you know without a doubt God answered a prayer that you prayed.

 

List what you consider to be your good prayer habits and your bad.

 

Add any other information regarding prayer that you want to share.

 

 

How can I Pray For You?

 

Gated Community
Gated Community

Just thought I’d inform my readers that I have placed myself on a thirty-day prayer challenge.   I feel that my prayers have been mostly self-centered.  It’s my guess that most of us who pray on a regular basis have a difficult time not focusing our prayers on our own needs and desires. The prayers I sent up were mostly about my family, my life, my needs, my job, my… See what I mean?

 Sure, if prompted, I’d pray a quick prayer for others and if I remembered the requests given in church, I’d include them in the middle of the me prayers. But, I’ve never had a personal prayer list or prayer journal or spent much of my time praying for others.  I’ve decided it was time to change my ways.

 So, I now have a prayer journal.  Each day I ask at least one person this question, “How can I pray for you?”

So far, in just a few short days, I have twenty people on my list.  I have specific requests written down by each name and I set aside time nightly to pray for only those people on my list.  I tell individuals that I will keep praying for them and their concerns for thirty days. The amazing thing is I am already marking names off my list because prayers have been answered.  I’m asking some family, some friends and some co-workers.  My list represents a variety of people and needs.

 Tonight, I thought I’d ask my readers, How can I pray for you?

If you have a prayer concern or a need in your life that you want me to help you pray about, leave a comment here. Please be specific on how you want me to pray.  If you prefer to keep your request confidential, email me.  Follow the link to my website-click on my contact page if you do not know my email address.

 I assure you that if you contact me, I will pray for you and your request for thirty-days.  If you ask me to pray for you then I request that when the prayer is answered you let me know so that I can focus more of my time on the other requests.

 Waiting to hear from you.

 Darlene