In 1940 Alfred and Addie Burr lived in a shack about half way between Porum and Webber Falls, near Possum Hollow where I was born, the oldest of four children. From the time I could remember, religion was an important part of our family activities.
I remember going to many old time gospel revivals with my family in and around Gore, OK. Four of us kids rode in a model A rumble seat. I was 9 yrs old, Leo was 7, Alfreeda was 5 and Brenda was 3.
Church going was not only a spiritual event but it was also a social one. As I recall, a Spiritual Revival swept through our communities in the late 40’s and early 50’s. Many times these gatherings were for 2 weeks or more and some were conducted under a brush arbor.
The first camp meeting I can remember was in the summer of either 1948 or 1949. The family, especially us kids, were excited about going. We started getting ready in mid afternoon for the night service. Everyone dressed up, such as it was, and climbed into dad’s Model A Ford. It was shiny green in color. We went a couple of hours early so that grown ups could visit and kids could play.
In early summer the men around Webber Falls and Gore put up the brush arbor. It was a primitive structure of poles and branches which provided protection from the Oklahoma sun but not much for the occasional rain shower. Next, long boards 10-12 inches wide were fastened to stumps. A space was left down the middle for going forward to the altar.
Now, brush arbor meetings were a special spiritual event. People came to worship. Most were holding up their hands, praying and singing during the worship part of the service. Folks would clap and sing old gospel songs like I’ll Fly Away”, or “The Old Rugged Cross”. It was always a happy crowd.
Lay preachers would come from Porum, Sallisaw and other nearby towns. And brother, could they preach. Sometimes for an hour or more. Always a lot of people would come forward when the alter call was given. Many times half of the congregation came forward and sometimes the whole crowd would respond, especially if the preacher gave a powerful sermon.
I don’t know when mom and dad were saved but I saw them praying and worshiping with the others. I may have been too young to fully understand but I knew something real was going on in these meetings. I found out a few years later why these people were so happy.
As I look back at my childhood, I thank the Lord that my parents introduced me, my brother and two sisters to people who worshiped the Lord and to ministers who preached the Gospel.
But most of all I remember that mom and dad loved each other and provided a Godly example in their dealings with neighbors and strangers alike.
I believe these early childhood experiences were instrumental in guiding each of the Burr kids to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. Perhaps that was the greatest accomplishment of Alfred and Addie Burr.