Thursday, June 6, 2013
The Preacher’s Corner
Friend’s neighbor is “the” Billy Graham
Now and then a friend or neighbor here in Holly Springs brings a gift of food — fresh vegetables from the garden, or a cake or casserole, lovingly prepared. I think this is one of the nicest things that can be done for anybody. It is one of the lovely customs found in the rural South. I hope it never passes from the scene.
In the parish I served in Chicago, taking gifts of food to others was not the usual custom. The church did not even have congregational covered dish dinners. This was not a deficit in goodwill; it was simply the urban nature of the setting. They did not know what they were missing, and I always felt sorry for them on this score!
In the South (and I would guess in the rural Midwest as well), when there is sickness or death in the neighborhood, the local cooks get busy. All that food is immensely helpful, and good friends know what is needed. It is a great comfort.
Then there are the special treats that come at Christmas. Nothing tastes as good as something prepared in a loved one’s kitchen.
Some friends of mine, Jim and Jean Skidmore, who live in Montreat, North Carolina, recently received one of those wonderful neighborly gifts. It was a tasty chicken casserole — the kind with lots of rich cream gravy, bread crumbs on top and so many calories that you gain weight just from the aroma!
It seems that a neighbor of Jim and Jean who worships with them at their church, had initially intended this for Billy Graham, also a citizen of Montreat, but after knocking at his door, had discovered that he had gone out of town.
So the friend, not wanting her cooking to go to waste, dropped by the Skidmores and cheerfully offered the casserole “second hand.” Just as cheerfully, Jean Skidmore accepted it.
Yes, dear Baptists, it’s true, Billy Graham does live at Montreat, home of the Presbyterian Church’s national conference center, and worships regularly in the Montreat Presbyterian Church.
In fact, Dr. Graham has regularly preached there, but it is never announced, for the chapel is too small to hold the crowds that would come if this were more widely known.
Both Billy and Ruth Graham were reared in Presbyterian churches, and several of their children are still members.
So the story I am telling is strictly a tale that happened among church friends. Nobody was concerned because any of the parties was famous. Montreat is the only place the Graham family can come and go pretty much undisturbed because their neighbors treat them like ordinary people.
My friends Jim and Jean have lived near Billy Graham for so many years that they literally treat each other as just folks!
When Jim Skidmore came home for supper, he and Jean made a sumptuous meal of the casserole. Jim lightheartedly remarked that he doubted whether Billy had dined as well on their trip.
Jim and Jean then washed the dishes and retired for the evening. Some hours later, however, trouble came. Something in the casserole had been spoiled! Jean suspects it was the chicken. Both she and Jim had a long night.
Of course, they did not plan to say anything about the incident to their friend who had brought the casserole. But then the friend mentioned that she and her husband had become sick, too. She had made a second casserole for her own family that same day by the same recipe, using the same ingredients.
Jim and Jean like to say that they helped further the preaching of the gospel by eating that casserole for Billy Graham. He certainly could not have preached for several days if he had partaken of that well-intentioned meal!
“Think how many people might not have heard his message,” says Jim. “I could never preach to a stadium full of people, but I sure could eat that delicious casserole!” So, we can all do something for the sake of the kingdom!
By the way, the lady who made the casserole is also a very famous person, and most of you would instantly recognize the name, if I were to tell you!
News: (662) 252-4261 or email@example.com
Fax: (662) 252-3388
Questions, comments, corrections: firstname.lastname@example.org
The South Reporter
P.O. Box 278
Holly Springs, MS 38635
©2004, The South Reporter, All Rights Reserved.
No part of this site may be reproduced in any way without permission.
The South Reporter is a member of the Mississippi Press Association.
Site managed and maintained by
South Reporter webmasters Linda Jones, Kristian Jones
Web Site Design - The South Reporter
Back | Top of Page