Father’s Day Singing

Mama Daddy & me 1952My Daddy was a church-going man; an old-line, foot-washing Primitive Baptist.  Most Sundays (and some Saturdays) were spent going to one of the churches in our regular rotation.  Each church held services only one weekend per month, having a service and conference on Saturday, just worship on Sunday.

The third Sunday of the month was not the weekend for “his” church, the one where he was a member and church clerk, so we often visited different churches on that weekend.  Sometimes on the third Sunday in June, Father’s Day, we would go to Damascus Methodist Church in the community where locals would gather for a gospel sing.  Gospel groups from all around the area would come and sing.  There would be a mix of congregational singing, too.

It was always a memorable day with friends and relatives and friends of friends and friends of relatives coming in and out and visiting and listening to great harmony.  It was especially joyous for me and my mother if the Oakes Family came to sing.  L.A. Oakes was Mama’s first cousin.  He and his wife sang beautifully and were joined by other strong voices over the years.  It was always a thrill to hear them and to visit with them.  And to tell people, “I’m related to them.”

Some of these groups were accompanied on a piano, but never any other instrument.  And some of them sang a cappella.  We were accustomed to that.  Primitive Baptists do not use musical instruments in their song service, so the pure harmony of humble voices sounds more heavenly to me than any other.  Nonetheless, a good gospel quartet with an ivory-pounding accompanist thrilled me, too.

I miss being with my Daddy on Father’s Day and every day, for that matter.  I know the image our culture has portrayed of Heaven includes harps.  But for the corner of Heaven where my parents are now, I hope there is some good, soul-stirring, a cappella harmony being lifted today.

Author: Sandy Gilreath

I’ve stitched my way through life. Early skills in utilitarian and decorative sewing have merged with art in the world of quiltmaking. My love of journaling has now crossed into the cloth world, too. I love old songs, old souls, old words; my collections attest to my fascination with memories.

5 thoughts on “Father’s Day Singing”

  1. Sandy: I knew the Oakes family well. They lived down the street from us in Pinehurst! He could play a mean fiddle. Was also a death-camp survivor/prisoner. Does this sound like the same L.A. Oakes?

  2. My grandparents were Primitive Baptist, and I remember going with them to church a few times. Out of curiosity, (bad reason) I asked to go with them on a “Foot washing” Sunday. It was a memorable experience! My grandmother was in charge of the foot washing pans and towels and she also made the wine for communion.

    1. And in our family, there’s a story of one of my cousins helping himself to some of the wine before his Daddy, the deacon, left home with it. I think he was 8 years old at the time.

  3. Sandy – no doubt there will be that kind of singing in Heaven, because my Granny Maloy is there too, and she was a singing “shoutin’ Baptist” all her days. Love this post – as the wife of a worship minister for 39 years…nothing thrills me more than the simple worship memories of my grandmother and the beautiful harmonies in the old hymns. Thank you Sandy for sharing.

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