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January 13, 1978 Around Adair with Ed Waggener

The article below first appeared in the January 13, 1978 issue of the Daily Statesman. Topics included the note-burning at Fairview Baptist, kids today, the SASE--a concept that once was in every newspaper, magazine, and comic book, but didn't survive the Age of Internet--and a Jamestown Street contraction, "p'liking," that hadn't even made it to the 1970s. --Pen

By Ed Waggener

Fairview Baptist - A successful congregation
There was a big day Sunday, for the congregation of Fairview Baptist Church, located just beyond the Adair-Russell County line on Highway 55 South of Columbia. The congregation burned the last note against its handsome, brown brick sanctuary, built some three years ago. Originally, the new building, which has Sunday School classrooms in the basement, cost $80,000.

It's a country church, and the note-burning Sunday was an old-fashioned day of Sunday School, preaching, gospel singing, and dinner-on-the-ground.

Only it wasn't on the ground, but inside Sunday noon. The pastor, Rev. Roger Popplewell, preaches every other Sunday. He also pastors Walnut Grove in Casey County. But that doesn't mean that the half-time church is small.

By rural standards, it is one of the best-attended in the area, with some 140-150 there each Sunday there is preaching. On Note-Burning-Sunday, the crowd was estimated at 225. "It's a good church," says Adair County School Superintendent Al Sullivan, who is a member there. "When our congregation decides to do something, they do it!" And he cited the three year payoff of the building and the method the church used to buy a piano. Member Sullivan simply told the congregation that he thought the church ought to have a new piano. The other members agreed, and the money for the new instrument was raised on the spot. They're still growing, this pay-as-you-go, old-fashioned group of worshippers. Their next goal: Worship services every Sunday. My bet (if that's not sacrilegious), is that they'll make it.

You can learn things, even dumb things, no matter how old you get
I am almost 38 years old. And the other night I learned something new: How to play jacks.

Those little six pointed metal deals and the rubber ball never fascinated me enough to learn how to play. I thought you were supposed to get the little deals, the jacks, spinning and then roll the rubber ball at them like miniature bowling.

Along comes my upstart wife and she interrupts my explanation to the kids by saying that the jacks are just thrown out like pick-up sticks, then the players in turn bounce the ball and try to pick up one of his or her jacks and catch the bouncing ball before it hits the ground again. The first person to pick up all his jacks wins, she said.

I tried it with her, but she had practiced and it made me look bad in front of the boys. She never missed. I never caught the damned ball.

Actually, the game we got for 49 cents has an offer for 20 ways to play for only 20 cents and an SASE (self-addressed, stamped envelope). I think I'll send for it. I think there must be a way to get all the jacks spinning and then roll the rubber ball toward them and score strikes and spares.

I did learn things growing up
I am not writing this as any kind of confession that we were dumb kids on Jamestown Street and never learned anything. We knew how to play stretch, using well balanced, plastic handled Colonial pocketknives. We knew how to make a catapult using persimmons and a limber sassafras stick to hurtle the persimmons long distances toward our enemies. We knew how to play kick-the-can, dare-base, and hide-and-seek. And pinball machines. And we learned card games: Dirty Eight, Rummy, Solitaire, Double Solitaire, Canasta, and Rook. But not jacks.

We also entertained ourselves by p'licking. We p'liked we were Alex Groza. Like we were General Eisenhower. Like we were Chief George Brockman. Or Tojo, or MacArthur whomping up on Tojo or we'd p'like we were Harry Truman or Tom Dewey or Happy Chandler or Ed Denney.

Kids today still have as great an imagination. And I guess their vocabularies are great enough that they say "Let's pretend," or "Let's engage in a vicarious experience." I was grown up before I knew that "p'liking" was a contraction for "playing like."

This story was posted on 2020-02-02 08:40:20
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