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Tent Revivals


Being a preacher’s kid was not always an easy thing to be. Some people believed that because our Dad was a minister, that we should be held to a higher standard than our peers. Many things were expected of us. We didn’t wear shorts and our dresses had to be longer than the fashion at the time (but they were still above the knee). Those things were ok, we didn’t suffer much from that other than hot legs in the summer; But I have to say, my parents were good at compromise and not taking it to the extreme, after all, they did let us girls wear pants. They still allowed us to be kids and that is what mattered.

There were times, and I have to admit it wasn’t much fun at the time, that we did things for the church that I’m not so sure anyone else wanted to do. For instance when we had revivals, about once every six months, Dad would actively invited everyone he came in contact with. He would have “hand bills” printed up with the guest speakers picture, dates, times and special events of the week. This usually involved us singing as well. But, it didn’t stop there. He would gather us up and take us out in the community to knock on doors and invite people. We would smile and invite them to our revival as we placed a hand bill in their hands. Most people thought that was sweet, but we really just wanted to go home and play.

Once per year, usually in July, the Mission in Blytheville would sponsor a tent revival. I can’t tell you how my siblings felt about going to the tent revival, but I almost (almost) looked forward to it. It had a whole different feeling with being outside and it usually drew larger crowds than the regular “at church” revivals. Dad would round us kids up the week before, and we would go out like a little army, inviting people to the tent revival, and we mostly attended every night. There was lots of singing and they would take up offerings in Kentucky Fried Chicken buckets, and at least once during the week, our family would sing a couple of songs for the service. Looking back now, it has a very nostalgic feeling. It’s something that is not often done now like it used to be done in the South. People would lift their hands toward heaven and pray, and many souls were saved. I can’t say that any of that was directly related to our participation, but I like to think that maybe… just maybe, all our hard work was not totally in vain.


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