The Mountain Laurel
The Journal of Mountain Life

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from the
Heart of the Blue Ridge

Old Time Prayer Meeting

By Yvonne M. Cole © 1987

Issue: November, 1987

Today we associate prayer meetings with nice buildings to meet in, with nice comfortable seats to set in, but this was not always the case in the hills of Virginia, these meetings were more often than not held in homes.

One such home I can recall being taken to as a little girl, sat high on a hill side built on what looked like stilts that were about six feet high. I remember the three room house of rough brown boards that had never seen a coat of paint, the floors were of the same boards with no linoleum.

I remember being fascinated with the wall paper, that consisted of pages from the Sears & Roebuck catalog being pasted to the walls, we always made use of our catalogs, but having an out house we used ours for an entirely different purpose.

At these meetings you sat on beds, rockers, or if you were at the courting age and was lucky enough to have a boy or girl friend, you hoped you could find room on the old back porch, out of sight of your parents, just in case you might steal a quick kiss in the dark.

On this porch you could find hanging the dish pan, along with the wash tub, wash board, beans drying in the hull, onions hanging in old stockings, and if the man of the house was a trapper, more than likely you would find a muskrat hide or two stretched on boards to dry.

One thing people seemed to shy away from at these gatherings in houses made like this one, was the common practice in those days of shouting, seems they would tend to quench the spirits on these nights, as if they felt a little insecure in these houses built on stilts on the side of a hill.

Today when we are so blessed with the material things of life, and still want more, let us sit back and quietly think of the many things our parents and grandparents did not have, and count our blessings.