Musing With Cecil Buffington

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Musing with Cecil Buffington HOME

January 18, 2011

The Time Machine

They say you can’t return to the days of your youth. I’m not going to argue that point. If that were possible, I probably would have left this era long ago. I have always heard that the best time for you to live is the time you presently live in. Sometimes I wonder about the validity of that statement.

I also wonder why in the world it is taking so long to invent a simple little thing like a time machine?  You know, a little portable job that can transport you back to a time of your choosing with the turning of a dial and the pushing of a button. All the wars, political infighting, sports scandals, crime and ultra-liberal attacks on our culture and God makes the present somewhat less than the ideal American dream.

I don’t know why I decided to drop by the Faith Baptist Church yesterday afternoon. I drive by it quite often. I had saw where someone mentioned the church on Face Book, so it sort of stuck in my mind. I pulled into the church drive and went around to the back of the church. I stopped, exited my vehicle and walked slowly toward the church cemetery. I paused and looked toward my left at the empty parking lot just beside the church. This is the ground where I had grown up in the little community of Porterville, Georgia.

I continued my walk to a cemetery plot that brought so many memories racing through my mind.

I had, as mentioned, grown up next door to Faith Baptist Church. I remembered it when it was nothing but a white, wooden house where Johnny and Ann Beatty and their family had lived until 1953. The very nice brick church building would come later.

My mind quickly came back to the cemetery plot where my Uncle Ray Williamson, Aunt Nell Williamson and cousin Tom Williamson, were interred. Tom had met an untimely death in 1959 from an automobile accident. He was probably the biggest influence on my interest in high school sports as he played for the Jefferson Dragon football team in the early 50s. Thomas Williamson was the first interment in the Faith Baptist Church Cemetery. Uncle Ray and Aunt Nell lived out a full and fruitful life and were well into their senior years when they were called to their heavenly home. Their house was just to the left of the white frame house where I grew up under the watchful eye of my grandmother, Ms. Emma Bennett.

I looked toward the old Williamson apple orchard behind, and to the right of the present fellowship hall, where I had eaten more than my share of green apples during those precious years of my youth in Porterville. Even farther in the distance were the woods of the George McGinnis property. This was where I had spent most of my summer days playing, digging caves in the creek banks, exploring and swinging from vines into the many creeks and branches that were on the property.

I wondered if the “slide rock” was still there. This was a downward slanting 30’ or so slab of rock that had a stream of water running over it. It emptied into a nice little hole of water that was ideal for swimming and wadding. It was on the back of the McGinnis property. I must have slid down that slick rock a thousand times in my youth. It was a favorite play area for the vast Porterville gang. That gang ~ Jimmy Pruitt, Johnny Pruitt, Scottie Brooks, James Stringer, Joe Stringer, Buster Covington, Neal Massey, Tom Williamson, Monroe Bennett, Harold Ward, Ned Shumake, Doug Shumake, my brother Jack and myself, were never in need of something to keep us entertained with about 45 acres of woods just behind the house. We could build forts, dig caves, swim, shoot our BB guns, make bows and arrows, play cowboys and Indians, play football or softball and run rampant through the woods without any accountability to anyone for these sometimes silly childhood activities. It was a world outside the real world. No wars, no political bickering and no harm committed upon fellow man. Just good, clean fun for a group of young country kids.

I turned and walked back toward my truck. As I prepared to leave the church grounds, I couldn’t resist just one more look back. I had not been on these premises in years. It really had brought back a lot of fond memories.

When they finally do invent those commercial time machines, I think the first place I’ll revisit is those 1955 - 60 years. Maybe I’ll drop in on a Reverend Gerald Mitton sermon at Faith Baptist Church. Maybe I’ll skim down to my chivvies over at the “slide rock” and take that one last plunge into the branch. Maybe I’ll just take a walk from where my old home place used to be beside Faith Baptist down to the Jack Hanson Store. I must have made that walk thousands of times during those early years. Maybe I’ll just sit down, look at my surroundings and reminisce about the fun days I had in Porterville.

Now That would be a hoot!


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