Blank Verse: Singing the Old Hymns

When I was 15, Dave was 12,
and Joel was 8, and Jim just 4.
Our Baptist parents went to church
with us in tow four times a week:
for Sunday School and Church, of course,
but also service Sunday night,
impromptu, repetitious prayers
on Wednesdays, choir practice each week
on Thursday nights. We played with friends
from school when we walked home from class,
but church and school and play, repeat
repeat, was our whole life. We four
are almost all retired, and none
are Baptist now, but we still sing
the old-time Gospel hymns–if we
have had enough to drink…

– Steve Shoemaker, Urbana, IL, March 13, 2015

The Shoemaker brothers

The Shoemaker brothers


4 thoughts on “Blank Verse: Singing the Old Hymns

  1. Ah, I see from your link to 2013, I’ve already told this story…and completely forgotten. Ok, Editor, which is better?

    Steve Shoemaker 1148 County Road 1500 E Urbana, IL 61802 217-621-3796



  2. Those old gospel hymns have a way of sticking with a person, and being more precious as time goes by…

    Thus this begs another question. The time families have for things like church seem to have become co-opted by other community activities. How priorities have changed, or more accurately, societal pressure. We forget that the important things we learn as children stay with us in old age.

    I could go on ad nauseum, but that would add little.


    • Yes, Karin, some of those old hymns stick with us for a lifetime. Those who learned them are both cursed and blessed. Cursed by some bad theology, blessed by memorable music. But, on the whole, we were more blessed by the experience of the community of faith and hope.


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