Janice Keith, R.E. Helsley, and Freeda Holt visited with Tom and Jewell Johnson last week. Tom and Jewell do appreciate the visits from these fine people.
Carl and Joan Fletcher of Bois D’arc visited with Billy Fletcher, Friday evening. Billy, Carol Riggs, Stanley Goodrich, and John Truhe had Sunday dinner with Fred and Charlie Lindberg.
Norma Stillings played the piano and made visits at Rocky Ridge, Friday afternoon in Mansfield and Heart of the Ozarks Healthcare Center in Ava, Saturday morning. The residents seem to like hearing familiar tunes. One resident who has already lived more than one hundred years, was singing along with Norma, Saturday. She does not have a loud voice, but she knows the words by heart.
All of the songs in the old brown song book that was used out at Nubbin Ridge where I attended Sunday School, were written before the 1939 copyright, many back in the 1800’s. There were thousands of “new” songs written in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, and some of them became so well known that at any church in the mid-west and south you would hear songs like, “The Old Rugged Cross,” “When Roll Is Called Up Yonder,” and “I’ll Fly Away.” Most of those songs could be sung with guitar accompaniment, or with only the aid of a tuning fork to start in the right key, or simply by “ear.”
Many nursing home residents grew up going to church, they learned these songs as children. For most of them going to church on a Sunday morning was a pleasure. It was as much a time for fellowship with neighbors and relatives as well as a time of worship. There are many happy memories of church dinners and singings, and of friends and family long gone. So when we start singing, “Oh, How I Love Jesus,” a host of happy associations come to mind. In some cases there are tears, but they ask for those songs again.