I Wuz Just Thinking: Brush Arbor Memories

This Brush Arbor sits in the small community of Brushy Creek, near Frankston, Tx. It is well over 100 years old. Throughout the years, it has seen many revivals, church meetings, weddings, and community meetings. It was the epicenter of the community and its people. Photo By Darrell Clackley.

This column brought back many memories of my mother-in-law, Clara L. Pickle Baker, who passed away on an April 1.

Recently, a former classmate brought up the subject of “brush arbor.”

This got me thinking back to the days when my husband’s family would meet  in the country near Frankston, Texas, in the little community of Brushy Creek.

There is a small church with the cemetery located next to it.  Many of Jimmy’s kin are buried there.  Each time we went, we walked thru the cemetery and listened to the stories about the ones buried and how each was related in some way to the next.

Betty Mahurin Baker

Jimmy’s mother sent out invitations to family kin to gather on the first Sunday in April each year at this “brush arbor,” located just across the highway from the little church and cemetery.

It had a covering of axed and hand sewed logs, as well as  benches or chairs to sit on. An old piano was located on this sandy hill. Someone would volunteer to play several hymns while we all lifted our voices in song.  Then we had a sermon, more music, announcements, and   a prayer of blessing for the food.

We had lunch on the ground, so to speak, but we actually sat around picnic tables roughly built to hold the home-cooked foods.  Everything, especially the fried chicken, seemed to taste better under the trees.

Just behind the log structure was a little fresh water spring.  Jimmy’s mother said she and her siblings would stop to get a cold drink of water on the way to school and again on their way home. Many years later, while at the brush arbor, each of us would trek down to taste the cold clear spring water for ourselves.

It was strange. Mrs. Clara Pickle Baker liked having the family gatherings the first Sunday of the month and at times, it fell on the first day of April. Mrs. Baker died on the first day of April  – “April Fools Day”. She always was a trickster.

Our friends, JB & Camila Pace, gave us a pink dogwood tree instead of the usual flowers, as a gift of remembrance.  We planted the tree in our back yard.

The next year on April first the Dogwood tree bloomed with beautiful pink flowers, then the tree died.

Never understood why.

It simply bloomed that one day, the one year anniversary of Clara Baker’s death.

The first Sunday in April, meeting at the brush arbor, was a day filled with sermons, singing, eating, and seeing kinfolks we’ve known for years and meeting the newest members of the clans.

Later in the afternoon, we leave the brush arbor with good feelings and loving hearts, as I was just thinking. 

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