In my Memorial Day entry I mentioned the favorite hymn of my childhood. In my entries about the cabin, I have talked about the old song books from Grandma Steven's little Zion Church of Christ. My mom had saved several of these old paperback songbooks, and I have them now. One of the books is at the cabin. They really aren't as old as I thought; as you can see here, the copyright date is 1940. I recall one time when Big Creek got out of its banks and flooded old Zion Church, Grandma put all these songbooks on her clothesline to dry.
The Church of Christ didn't (and many still don't) believe in instrumental music, so in order to make the music sound pretty, we learned at a young age to sing our parts... suprano, alto, tenor or bass. With no piano to help us stay with the melody, our songbooks used shaped notes. About every two or three years, someone would come through and conduct a "singing school" at church, and teach us to read the shaped notes. I learned to sing alto as Mother, Daddy and I traveled in the car. The three of us would sing our hearts out!
The Churches of Christ in north Missouri were small congregations compared to the more widely-known Baptist and Methodist churches. On the first (or fourth, I'm not sure which) Sunday of the month, a dozen or more congregations of the Church of Christ would meet for a "singing", with a basket dinner beforehand; each congregation would take its turn hosting. Sometimes the song leader would take requests, and I always asked for "On Jordan's Stormy Banks".
The sad thing is, hardly anyone sings the old songs I loved so much. Oh yes, we all sing "Amazing Grace" and a few select "classics" of the Church. But so many have fallen by the wayside; I wonder, when I'm on my deathbed longing to hear the old songs, who will sing them to me? Will anyone know them?