Country Santa

Just a mile or so away from my house is a man who collects small old Farmall tractors.   Seems like I am always chasing a deadline when I go by,  but today, by some miracle,  I was running just a little early so I pulled in and introduced myself.   I wanted to meet the curator of this collection which I have admired ever since I moved here.  An immediate reason was also that I wanted to ask permission to take a photo of this country Santa that he has in his front lawn.  I found the collector to be a very amiable and hospitable guy named Bernie Merli and he calls his place “Acre Farm.”  I just have to go back when I can talk longer.   His Santa is perfect for a “Country Touch.”   When it rains, he either covers Santa or takes him inside.   He covers the tractors during the winter so I can hardly wait til spring to get better acquainted. 

A Country Touch at Thompson’s

A Country Trio

Don and MarySue Thompson's Corner Trio

I just love outside country decorating touches.  I don't claim to be good at making them happen myself but I certainly do recognize them when I see them.   And I usually know why I like them too.   This little corner trio is at my sister MarySue's house.   What a great way to treat an otherwise boring driveway corner.  

  • Being from the farm originally and having an appreciation for antique farm equipment as well, I have always liked the big wheels.   In addition, I have handled milk cans like this one  as a teen on the farm.   Plus, I'm a gardener.  So I am predisposed to like this trio.  But there's more.
  • I love the repetition of red and white.   Notice the country touch of leaving the "weed" in the flower pot, I suspect because the flower is white and fits the scheme, in fact adds to it.  
  • I love the variety and the trio.  It's a pleasing number of items with a delightful  contrast of  texture, shape and size with the large wheel, the middle sized can and the low  spreading red petunias.  


What a great way to treat an otherwise boring driveway corner.

The Old Welsh Church

Timber-framed Country Churches

Did you ever drive by one of those little white timber frame country churches surrounded by cemetery and wonder what it looked like inside?   My father-in-law used to pastor one in Buck Settlement, New York, years ago when I was dating JoAnne.   I recently visited such a church that has been preserved as a part of the farmer’s museum in Cooperstown.    When I was a boy, I went to a country church like that in Haskinville, N.Y., only ours did not have a cemetery.  Thankfully also, ours was active and has since grown and been remodeled more than once.   But many such have lost their congregations as populations have shifted.   Yet the buildings remain in our countryside as stately if lonely reminders of the strong rural Christian religious heritage of our land. 

Speaking at the Old Welsh Church

Many years ago I was introduced by another pastor to The Old Welsh Church in Nelson area.   It is one such church.   It even has the smell of those antique century-plus old buildings with plank floors, aging wall treatment and antique instruments, wainscoting in the vestibule, and stained glass windows with family names on them.  This church has chosen an unusual route to remain viable in the 21st century.   It is closed most of the year but from Memorial Day to Labor Day services are held at 7 p.m. on Sunday evenings.  Coordinator, Tom Davies, schedules a different music group and visiting minister for each Sunday evening.   Pat Maum told me that the ladies’ singing group that she sings in sang there a few weeks ago.   August seventh I had the privilege to be the speaker there and my wife supplied the special music on her harp.  I also took my trombone and played the offertory.   We sang old hymns and gospel songs I selected from a hymnbook which was probably old when I was young.   But, because I have a long history in the church, I know many of those songs and enjoy leading them too.    Then I preached a gospel message which I trust continued to communicate the “faith once entrusted to the saints (Jude 3)”   that such churches were constructed in order to pass on.  Their very physical presence continues to be a witness to all who pass by that the strong character of our nation in the past was formed by its Christian faith.