NEWS FROM THE HILLS
By Karle Wilson Baker
Through Tanglewood the thrushes trip,
As brown as any clod,
But in their spotted throats are hung
The vesper-bells of God.
And I know little secret truths,
And hidden things of good,
Since I have heard the thrushes sing
At dusk, in Tanglewood.
Snowflakes swirl around the yellow daffodils and bitter wind swoops through the grass, yet they stand brave and upright against the cold. The warm sunshine that so recently graced our days has retreated, allowing winter one more blast at our hills.
Mom always called this siege of seasonal bad weather our “Easter squall” while my friend Judy says her mother called it the “Easter spell.”
It is a mountain fable that snow must always fall on the “sarvis” bloom, and it is blooming now. After that, spring can come in earnest. Perhaps it is only a fable, but we see it happen every spring. “Sarvis” is correctly called serviceberry, and is one of the earliest trees to bloom in the spring. The showy masses of white flowers appear before the leaves and hang down in clusters.
The fruit looks like a tiny purple apple, and is juicy and sweet. It is a mystery how so many bushes are seen blooming in the springtime, but when the berries are ripe, it is almost impossible to locate them. We used to have a tree across the creek that hung down over the rock cliff, and was accessible to small young’ens. We watched it diligently.
When I was a kid, the Easter squall sometimes descended on the day of Easter Sunday. I can remember poor Daddy hiding eggs in the frost-stiffened grass, shivering in the cold. Unless it was pouring down the rain, he thought the eggs had to be hidden outside. Shivering in turn, each child would run from clump of grass to hidden nook to find the brightly colored eggs.
The Saturday before Easter was a busy time at our house. It was the only time, other than the opening of the school term that we got new clothes. Our dresses weren’t made of the ordinary feed sack material, but Mom bought yards of organdy and dotted Swiss material, and lace and ribbons. Mom was a beautiful seamstress, sewing dresses for four daughters, on an old treadle-type Singer sewing machine.
When we went to church on Easter Sunday, we felt like princesses in our black patent leather Mary Jane sandals and frilly dresses. The boys always got new jeans and cowboy shirts and hats (Daddy’s idea!) I don’t know if they felt like “Riders of the Purple Sage,” but they couldn’t have been any prouder than we girls were.
Of course, as little children, we only had a vague idea of the real meaning of Easter. It was only as we grew older that we began to understand about the sacrifice of Jesus and what it meant to each person. (The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness, but is long-suffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. II Peter 3-9)
As we grew into the age of accountability, (or that age when realized that we only were responsible for our own actions) we felt a need in our souls. Fortunately, we were raised in a home where we were taught early about salvation, and how Jesus was the ultimate sacrifice for our sins. No longer did the Easter season mean colored eggs and new clothes, but a sacred remembrance of the resurrection of our Savior.
The story has never grown old. He arose, and still lives today! He is still changing lives, lifting up the fallen and bringing comfort to the broken-hearted. His main mission is the same as it was when he walked the shores of Galilee—saving souls. (For the Son of Man came to seek and save that which was lost. Luke 19-10)
The wonderful thing is that the door of salvation is still open. (And the Spirit and bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.)
The Easter message is one of hope. The passion and suffering of Christ is almost beyond our comprehension, but thankfully, it didn’t end there. On the third day, he arose again. And because He lives, we shall live also. (Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to His abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. I Peter 1-3)
We who know Him can rejoice—those who don’t, can find Him if they wish.
This song was requested by Helen Whited of Nitro.
THIRTY PIECES OF SILVER
‘Tis a sad but true story, from the Bible it came,
And it tells us how Judas sold the Savior in shame.
He planned with the council of the high priest that day,
Thirty pieces of silver was the price they would pay.
Thirty pieces of silver, thirty shekels of shame,
Was the price paid for Jesus; on the cross He was slain.
Betrayed and forsaken, unloved and unclaimed,
In anger they pierced Him, but He died not in vain.
‘Twas there on the hillside, the multitude came
And found our dear Savior, then took Him away.
They smote and they mocked Him, thorns were crowned ‘round His head,
And His raiment of purple showed the blood stains of red.
Far off in the mountain with his face toward the sun,
Judas begged for mercy for what he had done.
He gave back the silver for his heart filled with strife,
Then there on the mountain he took his own life.
Nancy Schmellenkamp of Charleston is looking for an old song that her sister used to sing. She would love to have the lyrics and sheet music. The only lines she remembers goes like this “down the hill beside the river, where the little cottage stood, I remember where my mother used to kiss my tiny hand . . .” She and her sister are both in their eighties, and she would love to find a copy.
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