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Memoirs of Cecilia

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By Becca Owsley

 

By BECCA OWSLEY bowsley@thenewsenterprise.com I’m a small-town girl raised on a farm outside Cecilia and I have many memories of my childhood there. One thing that stands out in my memories is that everybody knew everybody there. It was especially evident to me because my grandfather was sheriff of Hardin County when I was a kid. Talk about having to stay in line. He knew everyone and because he knew everyone — everyone knew me. I spent a lot of my childhood at a small church in town. I remember going to Bible School, almost catching my best friend’s hair on fire during a Christmas pageant and pot luck dinners — good old country cooking in excess. There are vague memories of  when I was really little and the former pastor, Arnold Moon, used to lift me up so I could ring the old church bell that sits atop the church. I miss the old church building. It was torn down after the new one was built, but many of my childhood memories came from that old building. It had an old musty basement about which we would make up creepy stories. During services, I didn't sit still and listen very well. I had to be taken out of church for a “come to Jesus meeting” on the front steps more often than I would like to admit. For some reason, one of the biggest thrills I got was riding my bike or walking to the store from church. I guess we didn’t have as much to do back then, and to get a “Yes” to the question, “Can I go down to the store?” used to be a big accomplishment. Times were simpler. As a kid I always wanted to ride my bike in the Cecilia Days parade but wasn't allowed. My friend Wynna Gail Cook got to ride hers in the parade, but I didn’t get to. It had something to do with my ungraceful riding skills, for me bike wrecks were frequent.  I have the scars to prove it.  Wynna and I had many misadventures in Cecilia. We stayed up "all night long" at her house after we heard a rumor that Lionel Richie might make an appearance at the closing ceremonies of the 1984 Olympic Games. We gave up and went to bed, only to be disappointed the next day to hear that he did perform. We also took her sister’s Spree out for a ride one day and wrecked it. The Spree wasn’t damaged but I had a burned place on my leg. We weren’t supposed to ride the Spree and tried to cover up the injury, but her mom knew something was up and we got caught. Some of my best memories of Cecilia Days have to do with food. I never miss out on the chicken and I still always make sure I bring money with me so I can buy some of my Aunt Martha Jean’s brownies at the homemaker booth. She makes the best brownies I ever have tasted. And don’t forget about Ulah Wright’s no bake cookies. I was in the little Miss Cecilia Pageant twice, and the second time was such a disaster the experience never was repeated. I’m not pageant material. One year our church decided to put a float in the parade and our youth group was in charge of decorating it. The design was a giant birthday cake and we spent a very long day stuffing dinner napkins through chicken wire to give the illusion of icing on a cake. Not something I would like to do again. Looking back, small town life wasn’t all too bad. I always felt safe, knew who to go to when I needed help and always ate well. Very well. Becca Owsley can be reached at (270) 505-1741.