Also a quick note. Thank you all so much for the very kind and supportive words I received in response to my post about Pheba Baptist Church. At last count I had over 900 views to the blog in regards to this post. That's absolutely unheard of for me. It’s an emotional subject and honestly I was nervous to post my thoughts and hesitated for a good long whileMonday night before I hit the post button. I was ready and prepared to take the post down if it was interpreted to be offensive in any way, but quite the opposite has happened. It has been shared many times on facebook by hometown folks and the comments have been so kind. I may never make it as a professional writer but I love learning about my beautiful home and the history of a place with so little written about it. Mississippi is a treasure trove of stories just waiting to be discovered, and I like sharing them with all of you. Thank you all again so much.
Wednesday, July 1, 2015
Monday, June 29, 2015
I took these pictures last year when I found out that Pheba Baptist Church was slated for demolition. A new church was built several years ago and I heard several rumors about what was to be done with the old building. It would be renovated for a chapel, the youth would use it for their activities, etc. But over time it became clear that no maintenance plan was going to be carried out. The roof began to sag and then I heard the news that bids were being taken for demolition. What a waste of a perfectly usable building.
In the past few months I began to see that the windows had been removed, the front columns, the pews, the doors. Little by little the building was being stripped of anything found to be of value. I thought to stop and take a picture of the shell left by these efforts Saturday morning on my way to Mom and Dad's but I hesitated. My hesitation was a symptom of my feelings on the matter. It felt wrong. I felt like I would be taking a picture of a corpse. A once vital, significant building had been deemed to be past its prime. Past care. Past thought. Past consideration. Not worth the time and effort needed to preserve it. It made my heart ache. I slowed down, but did not stop either of the two times I passed Saturday.
Why would a church established in 1914 be cast aside. A church so proud of it's 100 year anniversary last year they invested in a banner to make sure everyone that passed knew of this benchmark in their history. Maybe the decision was not causally made. Maybe it was with great thought and consideration by all involved. The decision was made to cast it aside none the less. It is a sad day when we don't respect our history and the physical representations of it.
A country church is a physical representation of the faith and community of a town. The land is usually donated as are the materials and the labor to built it. Maintenance is continued by future generations of church members and their donations. It's our responsibility as stewards of those gifts to maintain and protect them. This building when abandoned was not in poor condition, at least from the outside. It needed a roof and I'm sure interior repairs but it was not beyond saving. Instead the wainscoting was stripped and used in the new church as were the pews I'm sure.
As I'm not a member of the church and never have been I really don't have a dog in this hunt. But as someone who grew up here, who used this church as a landmark on my daily travels to and from Starkville, and always appreciated the beautiful simplicity of the building I will feel it's loss. Though not as keenly as the members. The demolition started yesterday with the removal of the steeple and continued through today. Daddy called me this afternoon to let me know. It saddens my heart and I hope it saddens yours as well. I hope it makes you more aware of your surroundings. I hope it makes you more aware of the fleeting people and places in your lives. It has surely done that for me. And maybe that was the last gift of this humble, quiet building.
If you're interested in some more images of Pheba, see the links below. There are some that do believe in preservation as witnessed by the grant to save the Agricultural High School. I just wish that this courtesy had been extended to this building as well.
Thursday, June 25, 2015
Summer comes on quickly in the South. Spring lasts only a few brief moments and then the never ending parade of storms, heat, bugs, and oppressive humidity weighs down on everyone. Clouds will roll in with the promise of relief only to give an impressive show of lightning and wind and then move on to tease the next county. But growing up on a farm the heat was never a reason to stay inside. There was hay to bale and stalls to clean and stock to tend. I spent many summer days in a tee shirt with the sleeves cut out, shorts, and rubber boots. Always rubber boots. Preferably Red Ball rubber boots. It made for funny tan lines, but I never had to worry about snake bites. If you got to the creek and after a quick check to make sure everything was clear you could always take them off to wade. Is there anything better than standing in a clear running creek digging your toes into white sand watching tiny fish swim in the shallows around you?
Maybe picking wild blackberries with the promise of blackberry jelly or cobbler.
I look forward to capturing lots of pictures like this again. Even if I do have to fend off a few bugs.
If this looks familiar, this is the Bogue Chitto Gin I took pictures of in 2013, you can see that entry HERE. These pictures were actually taken June 2014.
Have a happy weekend my lovelies! I have been editing lots of pictures lately and have been trying to catch up on my writing. Hopefully the slump is over and I can get back to regular posting. Maybe it's all this eating right and yoga I've been doing. Who knows? Now it's off to bed for me. Good night!
Thursday, June 11, 2015
Tuesday, June 9, 2015
To me the last delicate flower of spring in Mississippi isn't quite a flower but a tree. The mimosa tree or the silk tree was introduced to the United States in 1745 and has been cultivated as an ornamental since the 18th century. In the South, you don't normally "cultivate" this tree as much as tolerate it. It spreads quickly, can grow in anything, and I've been doing battle with it since I moved to Noxubee County. As much as I loathe it, I still think it's pretty and can't wait to see the cloud of pink blossoms that seem to explode from the tree overnight.
I hope you've all had a great start to your week, talk to you later!
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