I remember my childhood as being mostly about church activities, cub scouts and boy scouts. I also must admit that I have always been a prideful person; independent and self reliant, thorough and dependable. That’s the way children were taught in those days. To be very much like a Boy Scout; “Do my duty to God and my country, and to be trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, reverent”.
Raised in a strict Southern Baptist family with a generations-long line of bible thumping fire-and-brimstone preachers who pastored churches and taught in summertime revival tents, it seemed to me that most of the family’s time was spent at church functions; Sunday School and Sunday church services, morning and evening, with a big family lunch in between.
The memory of those meals still recalls the vision of crispy fried chicken, mashed potatoes with cream gravy, green beans and ham, biscuits and iced tea. There was always lively discussion and much joviality in the family fellowship on Sundays. It was a weekly family party.
Monday nights I attended Royal Ambassadors, a Bible-centered, church-based, Southern Baptist organization for boys in grades 1-6. Tuesday was Cub Scouts, and in later years, Boy Scouts, Wednesday was Bible Study, and Thursday night was visitation; the pastor and church leadership visited the ill, those who requested special prayer, and visitors to the church who may be interested in becoming members. I, occasionally, was allowed to accompany my grandfather on family visitations.
My grandfather was pastor of Immanuel Baptist Church in Hannibal, Missouri when I was in grade school. Reverend William T Vaughn’s ministry was led to Hannibal after pastoring in Bevier, Center, Kahoka, Meadville and Braymer, Missouri, and later pastored a church near St Joseph, Missouri. His father, great-grandfather Lafayette Vaughn had been a circuit preacher, ministering to Baptist and Methodist churches in Southern Illinois on alternating weekends. Great-great-great grandfather David Vaughn had been a minister in Southern Illinois in the 1700s. My Uncle Virgil was busy pastoring his own church near St Louis, and occasionally came to Hannibal as a guest speaker in grandfather’s church.