When I was about six (and had two younger brothers) daddy gave up his good job at the bank and the decision was made to attend Hyles-AndersonCollege in Indiana.Daddy went to school and worked full time.My mom also worked full time.We kids were enrolled in Hammond Baptist Grade School and we attended First Baptist Church of Hammond, Indiana (to me, the preaching was exceptional and I heard great preachers such as Dr. John R. Rice, Dr. Bill Rice, Dr. Lee Roberson, heard Rudy Atwood play the piano, and laughed at ventriloquist Geraldine and Little Ricky, too!).Three more kids were born, one with life a threatening birth defect that required major surgery over the course of a year or more, which in turn extended Daddy’s years in college and our time in Indiana to a total of seven.
It was encouraged that all men who attended Hyles-Anderson should become “preacher boys” and that they should go out on weekly “soul winning” visits.My brother Brian and I sometimes went with daddy to the ghettos of Chicago, knocking on doors and telling people about Jesus.Some people closed doors in our faces, some invited us in, some invited HIM in! What a great learning experience for us kids!
I remember my mom’s boss, who was Jewish, coming to our home.He was loud.He stretched himself across my parents’ bed.Daddy had his Bible out and they talked about Christ as the promised Messiah.Because of my mom’s witness at work, daddy was able to lead him to the Lord.
We lived in Oregon for three years while daddy pastored a small church.I distinctly remember hearing that one of the women in church told my mother we kids were not going to turn out right because my mom had a job outside the home.Can you imagine being told that?However, God used my parents in that community.Souls were saved and lives were changed.
According to my sister, Elizabeth, what influenced her the most “was the closeness that (was) experienced as a family.Even if it was just a Sunday afternoon drive, Mom and Daddy always tried to make things enjoyable and interesting. Everything was a learning experience, but fun at the same time.”I remember those drives and trips! I remember standing under the rocket in Huntsville, Alabama (1970s).We went to Mount St. Helens (which had erupted a few years earlier) in Washington.We camped at Crater Lake in Oregon.We hikedand rode horses all over Oregon.We saw the redwoods in California.We saw the Grand Canyon, Hoover Dam, the Rocky Mountains…!
Some of Elizabeth’s best memories as a family? Our “moving from Oregon to Alabama. What an adventure! Being able to see sights as a family that we knew we may never get to see again was awesome.”
About that move… my parents sold just about everything so we could take our two horses with us.My parents said it was easier to take the horses than to leave the kids!Taking the horses proved a grand adventure!We stopped more often because the horses needed exercise (so did the kids!!).We had some fun riding down the side of the highways!At one roadside stop in New Mexico a state trooper pulled over and ultimately invited us to his home.We made such an impression on him (don’t know if it was good or bad!) that he sent cards for several years.It took us two weeks to get from Madras, Oregon to Montgomery, Alabama, arriving on an extremely hot Mother’s day weekend in 1985.
We have been back in Alabama twenty-six years.Daddy has built a family business where three of my four brothers are partners.He honors God through his business and is quick to witness to everyone he meets.The reputation of our family is such that people come up to us kids and say, “you’re one of those Coons, aren’t you?”Yes, we are!
Proverbs 22:6 says “train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”Because of my parents’ training, all six of us accepted Christ as our Savior at an early age.My brothers have all married Christian women.All of the grandchildren who are old enough have also made early decisions for Christ.And all of my brothers serve in lay positions in their churches.
Happy Anniversary Daddy & Mama!
Ephesians 6:2says, “honour thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise.”