Growing Up In Eldorado

Lately, I have been telling Billy B.s’ story of growing up in Eldorado. I had not realized that there were so many stories of Billy B. and Jane and Chets’ childhood that I had not written about…before now. Billy B. lived in Eldorado from 1962 to 1975. He absorbed what he saw like a sponge from the Atlantic…all that he saw and heard and felt. Eldorado was a booming town in Southern Illinois in 1962. The schools still had their very separate and distinct identities and commerce was flourishing in the Downtown District. It was a town of possibilities and promise and hope for the future. Pentecostals and Parrish Priests lived side by side and worked together for the good of the community. Eldorado had a distinct identity.

Dennis told Billy B. that if he wanted to see something unique he should attend church with him at the Grove Church. Billy B. asked, ‘What is so special about the Grove?’ ‘They dance until they are exhausted and often fall onto the floor in a faint,’ answered Dennis. ‘There are two ministers; Tommy and Mike, and they preached the word of God without fear or favor,’ said Dennis. Now Billy B. had been familiar with Pentecostal Worship for most of his life…he had not experienced it personally but he had seen a dressed-up version of it in Grandma Askews’ church when he visited with Neva J. Now…the Grove was like nothing that Billy B. had ever seen or experienced. The organ music was in the rock and roll/jazz vein and the reaction was similar to a rock and roll concert. Several members of the congregation rose from their pews and began to shake violently. Then they started to dance in a manner that was somewhat otherworldly. Finally as the ministers; Tommy F. or Mike W. began to lay hands on them and pray for them…they suddenly fell onto the floor of the Sanctuary and writhed and cried in other tounges…

Chet thought that the manifestations of the Spirit that he had witnessed were similar to the accounts that he had read of people freed from demonic possession. He had read Don Bashams’ book, Deliver Us From Evil, and Eric Princes’ works regarding spiritual warfare…and he considered that the Grove Church was a Case Study on the Subject.

Tommy F. sang, ‘There Will Be Peace In The Valley…Someday…’ and the congregation was mesmerized. They felt the Peace In The Valley…They saw the Peace In The Valley…they were in the Valley with Minister Tommy F. …

Billy B. pondered this outward manifestation of faith…in his heart. He thought of Faith as a Creed for Christianity and he considered if it was about the outward show of faith…or the inward fire burning of faith? ‘Is the Christian Walk… who recognizes that I am a Christian by my works…or by my inner faith?

Eldorado highlighted the separation between works and faith between Biology and Physical Education. Somewhere between academics and PE, there was a line of demarcation drawn to illustrate faith and works. Billy B. had a heart condition and he was unable to participate in PE. Some understood…while others…including teachers…did not. The heart condition was real…the misunderstanding…was not.

Chet said, ‘Eldorado is a mixture of the real and the surreal.’ He anticipated the Creature From The Black Lagoon to walk out of the Karel Park Creek. Billy B. expected an unequal measure of expectations for the residents of the City Of Gold…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: