There was a counter that margaret sometimes used to

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Unformatted text preview: atha Primitive Baptist Church." "Never heard of it." "It's in the phone book." "Where is it?" "Somewhere down in Dumas, I think." "Black or white?" "I'm not sure." Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter, - --- Number seventy-eight on my list, the Maranatha Primitive Baptist Church, was a little jewel at the foot of a hill, next to a creek, under a cluster of pin oaks that were at least two hundred years old. It was a small white-frame building, narrow and long, with a high-pitched tin roof and a red steeple that was so tall it got lost in the oaks. The front doors were open wide, beckoning any and all to come worship. A cornerstone gave the date as 1813. I eased into the back pew, my usual place, and sat next to a well-dressed gentleman who'd been around for as long as the church. I counted fifty-six other worshipers that morning. The windows were wide open, and outside a gentle breeze rushed through the trees and soothed the rough edges of a hectic morning. For a century and a half people had gathered there, sat on the same pews, looked through the same windows at the same trees, and worshiped the same God. The choir—all eight—sang a gentle hymn and I drifted back to another century. The pastor was a jovial man named J. B. Cooper. I'd met him twice over the years while scrambling around trying to put together obituaries. One side benefit to my tour of county churches was the introduction to all the ministers. This really helped spice up my obits. Pastor Cooper gazed upon his flock and realized I was the only visitor. He called my name, welcomed me, and made some harmless crack about getting favorable coverage in theTimes. After four years of touring, and seventy-seven rather generous and colorful Church Notes, it was impossible for me to sneak into a service without getting noticed. I never knew what to expect in these rural churches. More often than not the sermons wer...
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