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Leaning

Leaning on the Everlasting Arms

 

“The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms.”

–Deuteronomy 33:27

 

I know it is still there—page 276 in the old Broadman hymnal—that old classic hymn “Leaning on the Everlasting Arms.” I can still hear

Nell Christopher playing the opening lines as we sang:

What a fellowship, what a joy divine,

Leaning on the everlasting arms.

What a blessedness, what a peace is mine,

Leaning on the everlasting arms.

 

Leaning on Jesus . . . Leaning on Jesus,

Safe and secure from all alarms;

Leaning on Jesus . . . Leaning on Jesus,

Leaning on the everlasting arms.

 

As we’d get to the chorus and the ladies would drag out “Leannnnnnnnnng,” I’d hear my dad’s loud voice echoing out “Leaning on Jesus.”

OldDryCreekChurch

When I hear this song, I still think of Rob Lindsey. Rob Lindsey. “Uncle Rob” was to me the representative of the pioneer Dry Creek that I’ve always been fascinated with. Born in 1887, he was 89 when he died in 1976.

…And Leaning on the Everlasting Arms was his favorite song. Anytime we had fifth Sunday singing or any opportunity for a request, he would say, “Sing 276—Leaning on the Everlasting Arms.” As a boy, I would watch him as we sang his favorite. On the chorus when we’d get to the “Leaning . . . Leaning . . .” part, he would close his eyes and sing from his heart. I pictured in my mind the struggles, trials, and tribulations he had probably been through in his long life. As we sang and I watched him, I was sure I could lean on Jesus too.

But what made Uncle Rob so special to all of the boys in Dry Creek was his car. All of the years I knew him, he drove a 1931 Model A Ford. I can still see it in my mind. Shiny black with red-spoked wheels. We’d wait outside on Sunday morning just to see him pull in at the old church.

Rob Lindsey and his car

He’d park it right out front and come in. He was always dressed in a white shirt with a black cowboy necktie. After church he would often let us boys sit in the car or he’d pull the hood and let us look at the engine. The hood was in two parts and opened up on the sides like a winged bird.

Uncle Rob and his car were also a source of fun for us. He never traveled more than 25 miles per hour as he putted up and down the roads of Dry Creek. This gave great occasion for me and my childhood bike-riding friend, David Cole. We would see Uncle Rob coming to the post office, then located in Ryan Harper’s store. When he left, we would pedal furiously behind him and pass him up on our bicycles. You’ve never had fun until you pass a vehicle up on your bicycle! Not knowing how to leave well enough alone, we’d ride to the next bridge, hide underneath it in ambush and overtake him again as he passed us again. I can still hear him yelling out the window, “You boys go on home and find something better to do.”

Even as I write this I’m embarrassed to how we did this. In fact I know when my parents read this, I’ll probably be punished for my sins of thirty years ago. I bet Olen and Eva Cole will take David’s bicycle privileges away when they hear about our misdeeds of childhood.

In spite of our foolishness, I loved Uncle Rob Lindsey. He was a link to the old Dry Creek. A reminder of the time when Indians roamed our area and no bridges existed over Bundick or Dry Creek. Back to the time when folks attended church once monthly. During Uncle Rob’s life, he saw the first airplane fly over our community and later watched on television as the first man walked on the moon. He and his car will always be symbols to me of the bridge between the old Dry Creek and the modern world we live in.

As one of the patriarchs of our community, Uncle Rob would be called to the front of the church at Homecoming and reminisce about the beginning of Dry Creek Church and community. He would share about the beginnings of our church. I could envision brush arbors, services by coal oil lamp, and dinner on the grounds when it really was eaten outside under the trees.

groundbreakingDCChurchScreen Shot 2016-08-31 at 7.44.37 AM

Groundbreaking circa 1966  Dry Creek Baptist Church.   Can you find me in the photo?*

In 1971, when our church moved to our present location, he quickly claimed his seat in the new auditorium. He sat on the second pew from the back on the right side. His place was on the middle aisle side where he could lean his elbow over the seat edge. This was his special place and no one took it out of respect for Uncle Rob Lindsey.

Even today when we sing that old song, I still want to look back to that pew. In my mind I still see him, eyes closed, maybe a tear in his eye as he slowly rocks back and forth singing,

What have I to dread what have to fear?

Leaning on the everlasting arms

I have blessed peace with my Lord so near

Leaning on the everlasting arms

Leaning…………………

Leaning…………………

Safe and secure from all alarms

Leaning ………………..

Leaning………………….

Leaning on the everlasting arms.

 

 

  • In the groundbreaking photo, I’m to Uncle Rob’s left with my arms crossed.KeyCreekbankPostcard Best Shot

About Curt Iles

I write to have influence and impact through well-told stories of my Louisiana and African sojourn.

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