Is that so?” I inquired.
“Yes, I’m supplyin’ at a country church on a Sunday,” he replied modestly, as he continued his hair cutting. “I conducts the Sunday Schools, preaches at the mornin’ service, holds the young peoples’ meeting in the afternoon, and preaches again Sunday night. The Baptist Church in the country, where I was employed regular, was so bad in debt, it lost all its property. The mortgage on it was foreclosed, and it had to be shut down.
“No, ma’am, I don’t make any money at preachin’. What I made when I was servin’ four country churches wasn’t enough to pay my gas and oil bill. Once this winter, I went to a little country church in an ice storm. The regular preacher never come. So I filled in for him. The congregation took up a collection for me, and paid me $10 to show their appreciation. But that was unusual. Another time, I held a big meeting on Lone Duck Creek, in the tobacco farmin’ section. The people there are real clever,” – a localism for kind hearted. “When I come to go home, I found they’d filled the back of my old sedan with garden stuff, groceries, and canned goods of all kinds.
“But for the most part, the churches where I preach are very poor. The farmers are hard up. They cain’t afford to pay a preacher much. Before I came back here and opened this shop ten year ago, I used to go around in Tennessee and Virginia and hold big meetings. But it was inconvenient and expensive taking my family with me. I had 14 children. No ma’am, I never left them behind. I didn’t want to be separated from them. I had a good offer just the other day to go ’round holdin’ revivals in Virginia, but I turned it down. Seems like I don’t want to leave home.
W Asheville, NC
By Anne Winn Stevens
Federal Writer’s Project 1936-1940