When a neighbor became ill or just out of work she and all the other neighbors would take food, household goods, and even kerosene for their heaters. One did not go without life’s necessities in her community, whether they had a dime in their pocket or not.
Everyone had gardens. Every picking time she would take fresh vegetables to all her neighbors, and they would do the same for her. She might have butter beans, they might have turnips, but before long everyone for a country mile had something of everything that was planted that spring.
Come hog killing time she would have several killed. The neighbors would come and help clean them, and everyone would go home with parts of a hog. She went around to passing out fresh laid eggs to those who didn’t have chickens. She was even known to give away a few live chickens to those less fortunate. She didn’t have running water, but she had a well, and everyone was welcome to all the water they needed.
The toilet was an outhouse. Talk about neighborly love. When someone needed a new one the whole community showed up to dig a new hole and cover the old one. Then they helped move the outhouse itself to it's new destination. That is the true test of friendship right there.
When someone’s children needed something the neighbors saw to it they got it. Whether it was food, clothes, toys, or medicine. If they knew a child was being mistreated, they called the old sheriff in and he would give the offender a what-for. He would then keep check on the children. If it happened again the old sheriff would haul the abuser off to jail. Then several preachers would go by and talk to whoever was doing the mistreating. Back in those days it was usually a drunken father, and he would either get scared straight or leave town sans wife and kids.
Of course, everyone knew everyone else’s business. My grandmother had a three party phone line, and she was caught more than a few times listening in on other people’s conversations. I guess that was about the biggest sin she ever committed. Now, it was a well known secret that all the other ladies who had a phone did the same thing. In a country town of about a hundred and fifty people, that was about the only form of entertainment there was.
The only person in town who had a television happened to live right across the road. She was a nice old lady, and once in a while she would invite me over to watch The Lawrence Welk Show. That was the first television show I ever saw. I still remember how amazing it was to watch those bubbles come out of the saxaphones.
I wrote this story with one thing in mind. These people had Christ in them. A town of one hundred and fifty people had four small churches, and come Sunday mornings they were each at least three fourths full. People who didn’t attend church might as well leave town with the child abusers.
In this small town, Jesus lived in the hearts of it’s people. If only He could live in all hearts, in all towns, big and small, what a wonderful world this would be.