There yet remains a timeless place that often comes to mind as I sometimes turn the pages of my boyhood memories and in this place is a quiet cabin sitting atop a bench of land up a steep hollow at a place that once was called Willow Shoals at a little bend in the green and ever flowing beautiful middle fork of the Kentucky river in the rolling foothills, the lush green valleys and soft river bottoms just southeast of Natural Bridge Kentucky, but no one lives there anymore for the man who built that quiet cabin and all who lived there with him at Willow Shoals in days long since past, have all gone on to be at home with the Lord Jesus.
As now I come back to remember and visit it again as it was in my youth I cannot help, but to want to share this place and the people who once lived there with all of you and perhaps you, too, may be blessed with these wonderful memories from the pages of my Childhood where I once sat upon a hand made hickory hoop cane bottom chair beside my uncle Willie Horn (1881-1977) as he read from his old Bible the pages of which were worn and stained with the turning of time and many a precious tear.
Uncle Willie was not a preacher!... He was just a simple hard working self-sufficient mountain man who lacked for nothing as his barn was always full of hay for his mule and the one brown cow he had, the corn crib was always overflowing, the hen house was full of chickens that laid a basket full of fresh eggs every day, the root cellar was always stacked to the brim for the winter ahead with bushels of red and golden apples and bright green hard pears that had been picked at just the right time and the wooden bins in the cool root cellar were overflowing with all kinds of vegetables carefully stacked and prepared to last through the winter, there were big bunches of carrots, radishes, onions, boxes of cabbages, potatoes and great big sweet potatoes that when aunt Gertie would bake them in the oven of a wood burning cook stove out in the summer kitchen they would pop open as though they were looking forward to the home made butter that had been churned out by hand by my loving, thoughtful and wonderful aunt who was my mother's oldest sister who always had lots of hugs and sweet kisses for that often sick little boy that I was who always looked forward to the time each summer that I got to spend with uncle Willie and Aunt Gertie Horn at Willow Shoals and to visit my grandmother and stay a week or so with her, as well.
I can still hear the soft sounds of the cool summer evenings as the whip-poor-wills and turtle doves sang in the soft green flowering meadows down a little path just below uncle Willie's cabin as the crickets clicked and the frogs sang forth around the well stocked fish pond at the edge of the fruit orchard as the sun began to set over another day now long since past. But, I remember those days so well and the precious time I spent sometimes sitting at the feet of my Uncle Willie Horn as he read the bible outloud and each evening he would start off by saying; "Now Faith Is The Substance Of Things Hoped For And The Evidence Of Things Not Seen!"...and "Faith Cometh By Hearing And The Hearing Of The Word Of God!"
Oh, how beautiful is the voice of Uncle Willie as now I can hear him again just as if he were still here to read the word of God and help to instill in me the love of Christ and the unchangeable word of the living God and often as he read from the word he would stop in the middle of a verse and shout;... "Oh HALLELUJAH!...Blessed are the PURE of HEART for they shall see the KINGDOM OF GOD!"
"Blessed are the Pure Of Heart!"......"for they shall see the Kingdom Of God!"..Oh how those precious words rang out loud and clear down the nearby hollow and seem to come back to its' sender as the frogs and the crickets stopped their singing each time Uncle Willie would shout out those words as they moved my heart to a precious understanding of those words that even now I can hear them ringing across the soft green meadow as the sweet smell of summer wild flowers and roses blooming at the garden gate seem to sooth the evening hour as the sun began to follow its' retreat behind a green timbered mountain from my front porch view as I sat at the beautiful feet of my uncle Willie Horn!
Often as uncle Willie read the word of God he would stop and say; "Davy there just ain't nothing in this old world like the word of God!.it will sooth a troubled or a broken heart, it will heal the sick , give sight to the blind and make the lame to walk and heal a little leper, it'll quench the fire of the fiery darts of the devil, it will take you to a higher mountain, it will bring forth rivers of living water from your belly and it will help you cross the troubled water and help you to walk on top of the water. Yes, if you will get into HIS word and honor God with your daily prayers of thanks for all that HE has given you, you will lack for nothing in this life that is good and honorable to have, if you will just take this word and pour it into yourself every day my little man God will bless you in abundance!" As that little boy I could not help, but to believe every word that uncle Willie said about the word of God for indeed Uncle Willie lacked for nothing or for any good thing!
Uncle Willie was loved and respected by all who knew him and he gave to the work of the cross with his gift giving to the poor and needy and to help with the mission work of the little church that sat across the river at Willow Shoals which he and aunt Gertie would walk down the long steep hollow to a hand made row boat and row across the river every Sunday morning to hear the word of God preached by a little old mountain preacher whose name is now, but remembered only in Heaven!
I, too, during those wonderful Sunday summers sat on a pew in that little mountain church house to hear the word of the Living God preached from HIS Holy Bible just as it is written as that little congregation would shout out....OH HALLELUJAH!... as the preacher filled with the Holy Ghost shouted forth the word of God as a sinner came forth to give their life to Christ at the foot of that little alter that is now long gone from this earth, but is this day and hour in some green valley far over in glory land and all of those that came to that little earthen alter are now walking on the streets of Glory...their feet are now shod in the precious fire jewels and the gold of heaven and I know that uncle Willie and my aunt Gertie are walking there, too, and some day I will again see them for I know that there is a place called heaven because Uncle Willie said there was and read about it to me from the living word of God and uncle Willie was a man whom you could believe what he said...because he honored his word and lived by the word of God every day of his life and he lacked for nothing or any good thing his whole life and then at the age of 96 God lovingly and softly took him home as uncle Willie slept in that quiet cabin that was filled with the love of Christ and steadfast faith in the living word of God, there, at Willow Shoals!
Few people today even know where Willow Shoals was and the train depot, the little general store, the log cabins along the river and the little mountain Church that was there are all gone and even the dirt wagon road that pitched it's self down a long dark hollow that led to Willow Shoals is no longer usable and all that is left is the graveyard which in it's self has been retaken by the forest and if you did not know where it was it is unlikely you could even find it. Over the last few years I have went back several times to where the settlement of Willow Shoals was and I found a man with a boat who could take me across the river and as I walked up the long hollow to where Uncle Willie's cabin was and the closer I got the more I could still hear Uncle Willie reading out of his Old Bible!...."Now Faith Is The Substance Of Things Hoped For And The Evidence Of Things Not Seen!"...and "Faith Cometh By Hearing And The Hearing Of The Word Of God!..........Thank You Lord Jesus!
TO BE CONTINUED!
I want to thank each of you for your e-mails, cards, letters and phone calls that expressed how much you have
enjoyed one of my memories about my uncle Willie Horn and thanks to each who have encouraged me to
write more. Now there is much more to come on these gathering little pages about my uncle Willie and
the people who once lived at Willow Shoals and it is my prayer that you may be blessed with the
many fond memories and stories about their lives as they lived there in that beautiful little
place as the years and days of their lives went by unnoticed by the outside world!
Thank You Lord Jesus!
A Bondservant Of Jesus!
"Now Faith Is The Substance Of Things Hoped For
And The Evidence Of Things Not Seen!"...And
"Faith Cometh By Hearing And The
Hearing Of The Word
"Blessed are the PURE of HEART for they Shall
See the KINGDOM OF GOD!"
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