A Mountain Church
It’s easy to find. Go down I-40 to Marion. Take 221 North. Just after a fancy golf course on the left the Red Barn Tree Farm will be on your right. Around Christmas you can cut your own. You’ll go up a big mountain. Right past the turnoff to Perry Woodie’s home place you’ll go through a squiggly stretch of road and then under the Blue Ridge Parkway. Turn left at the gas station/grocery store and go four miles on New Three Mile Road. On the sign it is called ‘The Lula Belle and Scotty Wiseman Highway.’
After you go by Old Three Mile Road turn right on 19E. Go through Burleson country. This is the home of Jason Burleson, the banjo voice of Blue Highway, and also home to N.C. State and NBA basketball star Tommy Burleson. Harvey High once played against Tommy. We practiced using brooms to swat away jump shots. It wasn’t enough. We lost, but at least got ‘em to overtime.
You’ll see a brook on your left. The water splashes across smooth rocks. It winds along with the road. Follow it. The church is about a mile past a school bus on the left.
It is a small red brick church. The choir sings in a shaped note style. Young girls in print dresses with names like Brooke or boys named Cory in new pressed suits sing with power and purpose. They don’t need microphones. The Aldridges will play and sing the gospel. The preacher preaches the truth. They baptize in the brook. Winter’s coming on so get saved now; the water’s already chilly. More important, we don’t know what tomorrow will bring. The mountain folks know we aren’t promised anything but eternity, but that is all the promise they need. They are serene.
After the service come back down the mountain by Spruce Pine. Take the left at the big flashing light. As you wind down the grade you’ll see the lights twinkle in the valley. Go slow and take them in. Be careful, the turns are sharp. At times you feel like you are gonna double back and head back up the hill. Matter of fact, you’ll wish you could, ’cause the Mountain Church and its people are a blessing. You won’t be the same after your trip.
Dr. Bchurch music, Writing
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