Sunday, March 16, 2008

Arkansas Family

We children walked the mile and a half to school through fair weather and foul. I remember having frost-bitten feet from the severely cold winter weather. As we grew older, we also walked to late evening and night events in our rural community, such as church services, parties, ice cream suppers, pie suppers and the annual "Cap Tiller" silent western movies which were shown at the Stoney Point school house. It didn't matter if the country roads were lighted by a full moon or if there was no light at all, we had no difficulty since we had learned every crook and turn in the road. And it was safe in those days. We had no fear of being molested or harmed in any way as we walked in the dark. Though simple, those were enjoyable times.
Mama had a strong faith. It was not always possible for her to attend church regularly but she did when she could and read from the Bible often. One of the most pleasant memories of my childhood was of her reading Bible stories to us each night at bedtime. I learned a great deal about the Old Testament characters in particular from those bedtime experiences. This was a practice which I had good intentions of following with my own children, and I did make a start, but regrettably did not continue. Sad to say, the television got in the way. I feel indebted to Mama for setting a good example of strong faith and for encouraging us to be religious without pressuring us into any particular one. She and Daddy co-existed peacefully in a Methodist/Baptist relationship. (Extracted from 'A Tribute to my Mother, Bertha Freeman Simpson' by her daughter Mable Simpson Brown, April 1989)
Newt was a great concern to his mother as he left home as a boy and ended in Salt Lake City where he married a Mormon girl. You can imagine how this disturbed his mother who cherished her faith and considered Mormons little more than heathens. Newt didn't attend his wife's church often or any other for that matter but he did volunteer to assist with work projects and perform music. His smoking and occasional drinking binge kept him from converting to the LDS faith for about fifteen years. He was unable to stop smoking for very long though he was baptised and Temple endowed. Smoking no doubt contributed to the lung cancer that claimed his life.

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