A Simple Plate Hanging on the Kitchen Wall
By Don Iannone
Click here to see Grandma's Plate
There is a plain-looking green and white plate
hanging on our kitchen wall,
that commemorates the 108th anniversary
of the West Wheeling Methodist Church,
where Mom and her family received the Holy Spirit,
when Mom was a young girl.
For some reason, someone decided
to have the plates made up in 1953,
remembering the church's 108th birthday.
Makes me wonder why the honoring process did not occur
on the 100th birthday of the church.
Why celebrate its 108th birthday?
Math was never a priority in most Appalachian hollers.
That could explain it.
Maybe the church's longstanding preacher decided to retire in 1953,
making it an occasion to remember the church.
Most likely, folks' attention was focused on just one thing in 1945,
when the church had its centennial: the end of World War II.
I suspect that had something to do with it.
In any case, I am delighted to have the plate.
It's the only material reminder I have of Grandma Secrist,
and for that I am forever grateful.
Grandma was a wonderful loving lady,
who always wore a hair net, and
who always fed stray dogs and cats roaming the holler.
She also grew the world's biggest petunias,
that spilled over the green flower boxes
on the front and side porches of her 4-room house,
where nine kids, including my Mom, grew up.
Like the old West Wheeling Church,
not a one of the children is still standing, even Mom,
who went home 20 years ago.
The West Wheeling Methodist Church
was a country church in every sense of the word.
The kind of a church with its windows wide open
in the spring and summer to cool off the congregation
from all that hot hell, fire and brimstone preaching.
Also it was the kind of church that had communion at Easter,
and quaint and colorful Christmas pageants
that all the kids played a role in.
It was also the kind of church that hosted too many funerals
because too many men died young in coalmine accidents,
and too many funerals for stillborn babies
because healthcare wasn't what it is today.
Mom and Dad were married in the church in 1947.
I wasn't there...obviously.
Nor can I even remember having been in the church,
but most likely I was, since Mom was the church-going type.
I'm glad the old plate spoke to me this morning
as I made my way to the coffee pot.