Tennessee Records Repository

Decatur Co. TN


From Lillye Younger, People of Action (Decatur County Printers, 1983).

Special thanks to Constance Collett and the estate of Lillye Younger for permission to make this web page.

Lillye Younger

Dinner on the ground after Church services once was a widespread part of the rural America scene.

The tradition remains proudly alive in this part of West Tennessee, however, the lower counties have quit the practice if they ever started it.

The occasion has been elevated from the ground to wire tables, usually between trees, which are overlaid with snow white tablecloths. In case of inclement weather the dinner is moved inside.

The usual practice at "Homecoming" or "Decoration Day"' as it is called, is preaching in the morning, then lunch and singing in the afternoon.

After the morning service, the people gather on the church lawn and the women begin filling a 50 foot table with food from their cars. In the early days their mode of vehicle was buggies. There is fried chicken, thick slices of ham, potato salad, green beam, all types of salads, cole slaw, sandwiches, and a variety of pies and cakes and many other dishes. For the thirst there are gallons of iced tea and soft drinks.

"Help yourself, some self appointed hostess will say, "There is always plenty of food left over." It's a small example of the five loaves and two fishes which Jesus blessed and fed the five thousand.

The people eat, sitting with their back against a tree or find a car hood that will serve as a table.

"There is something about eating outdoors," someone will remark. "It just tastes better." After a while every stomach is full. Then there is plenty of good food left. The women begin to clean up. Husbands are enlisted to help carry food back to cars. The men help clean up and carry the paper plates to be burned.

Now it's time for the singing to begin. More people are arriving. Gospel quartets. who have gained a reputation among gospel singing fans, start the melodious sounds which floats both inside and outside of the crowded church. Chairs have been brought in for the overflowing congregation and placed down the center aisle.

Some of the children are outside playing, some adults sit in the shade and listen and youngsters go down to a nearby spring in hopes of finding a new sweetheart.

When the service is over it is not always time to go home. There is no hurry to leave the dead. People stand among the graves which have previously been decorated with spring flowers. Exchanging memories. Some have come a long way to the homecoming. There is a lot of hugging and handshaking to be done. Everyone is kin to somebody living or dead.

This account describes the homecoming at Pleasant Hill United Methodist Church last Sunday; however, it was minus afternoon singing.

Mrs. Ester McClure said that the singing was held here last year and it was led by her late husband, Mr. R. M. "Bob" McClure.

This church dates back to 1925 when it was erected on a hill overlooking the panorama. It's a beautiful spot. Some of the lumber used in the edifice was taken from Grace Methodist Church, which was being torn away at that time. The church was built adjacent to the Adkisson cemetery. After its erection some began calling the cemetery Pleasant Hill.

Among the families who have been instrumental in serving this church are the Tuckers, Adkissons, Brashers, Tutens, Montgomerys, McClures, Keetons and the Trout families. Rev. Pierce Trout served as pastor of this church in 1938.

In 1964 a new building was erected to replace the earlier structure. "It was started during our revival, the men started digging the foundation at that time." Present minister serving this church is Rev. George Dames.

These decorations, homecomings spill out all over Henderson and Decatur counties. Next Sunday there will be one held at New Hope Church and the next one in scheduled at Mt. Moriah Church. Other places where they are held are Cedar Grove, near Scotts Hill, Corinth, Fellowship and Scotts Hill United Methodist Church.

Interest in growing at each homecoming despite the fact that the young people marry and move away, they always try to return to the old homeplace and attend these important Homecomings. Coming home helps people see a new where they are going.

Hand-Colored Post Card Photograph of Decorated Adkisson Cemetery,
from the photograph collection of Brenda Kirk Fiddler

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