Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Living In Victory, Chapter 4

Living In Victory, Chapter 4
Copyright 2006 Terry Franklin Phillips Sr.
All rights reserved

Chapter 4
Lucy Rogers lived with her husband, Kent, east of Victory on a small, 40-acre gentleman’s farm. He worked in Crawfordsville at one of the factories.
As soon as Frank called, Lucy was on her way to the general store for the big event.
• • •
The doctor was right.
Though the woman remained unconscious, she gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. He last breath came as the baby took her first.
Victory was a small community and news of the child’s birth spread quickly.
Mrs. Trowbridge was quite vocal in her opinion the welfare department should care for the child until a suitable home could be found.
But Kent and Lucy Rogers had other plans. The adopted the child and named her Grace, to honor the memory of the woman who came to town looking for a little victory. They were determined the child would find the victory in their home the child’s mother so earnestly sought.
“This town has no need for a newspaper,” Zellers said, after listening to Mrs. Trowbridge spout off in his store one day.
While Frank and another man played checkers or some of the men played cards, Mrs. Trowbridge would hold court regularly. She lectured and two or three of her followers would nod and agree.
“Looks like Mrs. Trowbridge is at it again,” said Frank’s checkers partner on the occasion Mrs. Trowbridge was telling the other women the child needed to be placed in a foster home in Crawfordsville so she would have all the proper advantages. They nodded in agreement.
“Yeah, I wonder if her husband ever prays for her to get laryngitis,” Frank said in a low tone, not wanting to talk with her any more than necessary – the confrontation with her on the day Grace was born would stay with him for years.
Grace became a lively little girl with long, curly red locks and wide blue eyes that Kent said madder her look like she was surprised all the time.
Grace was a welcome addition to not only the Rogers home, but to the community as well.
Lucy was generous with her adopted baby, realizing the circumstances surrounding the infant’s birth meant most of the people in Ripley Township felt she was a part of their families, too.
Not only did they welcome her, they each protected her as if her name was somehow more than that. She was grace extended to their town; at least that is what the church people believed.
Kent was a deacon in the white frame church Frank Zellers could see from his bedroom window and Lucy taught Sunday school when Grace came into their lives. Together, they led the children’s church.
They were also responsible for transporting many of the town’s children to Sunday school, if their own parents didn’t take them.
It wasn’t long before another event captured the church’s attention, too.
Kent was in the church board meeting late one fall when the decision was made.
The church met in a white, clapboard-sided building on the corner of Elm and the road everyone knew as simply, “the highway”. It would have been State Road 25, if Indiana 25 had extended south of State Road 32. Unfortunately, for the town, the highway ended at 32 and didn’t pick up again until Indiana 234 crossed the road, south of Deer’s Mill at the state park.
It looked as if the road either just got tired and couldn’t go on any farther south or if it just didn’t want to associate with the little town.
At any rate, state highway maps notwithstanding, the road did continue south of 32 and Victory was not setting out in the middle of nothing. Many travelers had puzzled over its location – “How can anyone get there?” people asked, scratching their heads.
Locals knew there were two county roads that ended in Victory, plus the highway that ran on its west side.
The church board chairman called the meeting to order and began with the words everyone expected.
“It’s time to build the Sunday school addition,” he said.
“I think that’s a good idea,” Frank Zellers said. “With the school children needing a place to go, we really should add on to the church.”
There were nods of agreement from other members of the church board, though some were amused Frank was so excited, he look ready to start digging the foundation that very day.
The board represented every family in the church, so its meetings were nearly as well represented as the annual congregational meeting, the Family Night, held on a Wednesday night in September each fall.
“What I want to know is how we’re going to pay for it?” Gerald Graham asked. “I mean, are we going to borrow the money? Will we hire a contractor? These are all things we need to consider.”
“Those are questions we need to consider,” Chairman Paul Flanders said. “Any ideas?”
“We’re all pretty busy,” Zellers said. “I don’t think I can close the store to swing a hammer very many hours.”
“But, many of us are farmers or work in town,” Flanders said. “Why couldn’t we buy the materials and work on the building weekends?”
“You’re not going to stop having church while you’re building the addition, will you?” Graham said.
Several of the men laughed at the thought.
“No,” Flanders replied. “Ron Jones and I have been doing some talking. I think we can get enough people together and if we plan it right, two or three Saturdays should do the job. At least get it enclosed so we can begin using it.”
“There’s another thing to think about,” Jones said. “Some of the women would like us to put in bathroom facilities. I guess they’re tired of walking out back if they have to go during church.”
“Tell them to go before they come to church,” a voice from the back said, drawing laughs from the all-male board.
“Now, listen,” Jones said. “We learned a lot about construction when we remodeled the school. We just about have to put in indoor plumbing, if the church is going to grow. People have it in other churches and our people expect it here, too.”
“And, we have the older people to think about,” Zellers said. “I think including restrooms is a good idea.”
The Rev. John Pinckus sat silent through the meeting. He had been informed about the proposal by the board chairman before the meeting and thought he knew how things were going to go. And he was right. He always found it delightful the church board seemed to get along with one another as well as they did.
Other than special meetings, like this one, and an annual board meeting, the men of the church held an informal meeting between Sunday school and church each Sunday. They had met for decades in the vestibule of the church, dodging people coming and going between services. Never being concerned someone might overhear what was said.
After the meeting, he approached Frank Zellers.
“Frank, nobody mentioned it, but we also need to think about our Sunday school,” the preacher said. “With the closing of the Methodist Church, the Sunday school attendance will likely double or even triple.”
Frank stood next to the preacher, looking at the floor and nodding, the pair looking much like two cows chewing their cuds together.
“Yep,” it’s going to be nice, hearing all those children singing together on Sunday morning,” Frank replied. “See you, John.”
“And it’s going to make the church service seem pretty small by comparison,” John thought as he put his hat on his head and left the building. “Maybe we can convert some of those people.”
The preacher smiled, happy to be part of the good congregation.