I left my hometown of Des Arc, Arkansas almost forty years ago, but I still recall what a wonderful place it was to live as a child. Main Street was crammed with thriving businesses including the Rice Movie Theatre, Skating Rink, Lunch Car Cafe, Western Auto, Walls Barber Shop, Eddins Hardware, Berry Furniture and Bell’s Variety Store to name only a few. As a little boy, I was absolutely mesmerized by the large plastic “Old Crow” that stood in the window of Charlie Smith’s Liquor Store, as well as the large “Red Goose” golden egg dispenser located in the shoe department of Horne’s Department Store.
However, it was more than the local amenities I loved. It was also the people. I can still see Mrs. Myrtle Robinson sitting in the window of her Main Street home reading her Bible, even as Margie Thompson sold candy at her candy store next door. Coach John Rollins was a staple in the public school athletic department and Walter Birdsong ran his own personal trash pick up service. My grandmother, Natalie Walt Childress, was the Prairie County Clerk for the selective service office. She regularly climbed out of bed at the crack of dawn in order to see young men who had been drafted off to war as the Greyhound bus passed through town to pick them up.
One of the most vivid memories of my childhood occurred in 1959 when my parents loaded me and my siblings in the family car and drove us to the Prairie County Courthouse. There we fell into a single-file line and waited our turn to receive a prick in our arms that would inoculate us against the dreaded smallpox disease that was killing three out of every ten Americans who were infected at the time.
I still bear the scar from that vaccine today. It stands as a symbol of the wonderful unity and cooperation that existed in an America gone by. We not only believed in science, we counted on it! Yes, we believed and trusted in God as well. In fact, science served as an outward and visible sign that we had been “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14) by a God who had given us the gift of intelligence to use for the betterment of the world.
While my hometown is still filled with amazingly wonderful people who continue to do the right thing, I am stunned by the level of ignorance displayed by others via social media and even church pulpits. The COVID vaccine is not some satanic government plot to destroy lives. Rather it is merely a continuation of the kind of spirit that placed that scar on my arm more than sixty years ago.
If you have not done so please get the vaccine and booster shots. Thank you.