My most unforgettable summer was the one in 1970. Dorothy accepted my marriage proposal on June 3rd. I was scheduled to lead music in a Sunday through Sunday revival in East Texas with another seminary student, John King, doing the preaching. Dorothy was to be in one wedding in mid-July and another in mid-August. The revival was set for the middle of July, so we set our wedding date for August 1. We were both working full-time jobs and I was taking vacation time to be at the revival. It was at the revival I learned about seed ticks and fried chicken dinners.
The revival began on Sunday morning followed by a fried chicken and ham dinner on the grounds. The church was located in rich farm lands near Tyler, Texas. We stayed each night at one of the member’s homes rotating through the church roll. We held morning services, made after lunch visits, as well as the evening services. Each day we ate a full-course lunch and then a full course-supper at each new home. Every meal had the exact same menu, fried chicken and ham.
By Wednesday evening we were in pain from too much fried chicken and ham. Not wanting to offend anyone John and I just kept the pain to ourselves, until the pastor caught us laughing that this was our 8th full-course fried chicken and ham meal of the week. He said he would fix it. So on Thursday after the morning service we went out to the home of a very prosperous family. She fed us a full-course grilled steak dinner.
That afternoon we were invited to ride their horses, and then walk out to see their favorite pasture nestled in the woods about a half-mile from their home. To say it was hot is missing the point, but we pressed on, saw the pretty green field and turned around and walked back. My legs started to itch about the time we got back to the house. Baths were in order, but the tiniest little “seed ticks” known to mankind were taking precedent. I announced my problem and was handed a bottle of bleach. I had scores of ticks up and down both legs. I bathed, tried to bleach out the ticks, get fully dressed and head to the church for choir practice and the service. Every part of my body itched constantly during church. Afterwards we went back for the evening meal (fried chicken and ham) to be followed by another bleach-water bath. I still itch thinking about it.
It was a sweet church with a great spirit. The people insisted that they meet Dorothy, so she joined us on that final Sunday. They gave us a large silver serving tray, which we treasure, as a wedding present. And then we all sat down to a full-course meal of fried chicken and ham.
Keep healthy. Pray mightily. Enjoy your life today. Relish the summertime. And let’s experience the love and power of God together.