The incident I mentioned that occurred in the summer of that year happened as lunch was being served. While I was sitting down at the picnic table and laughing and talking with several friends, I noticed a car speed up and park in front of the church. As soon as the car jerked to a stop, the front doors on each side popped open. Two women—one young and one older—erupted from the vehicle and took off at a half-lope on a direct line with the picnic tables where us boys were eating lunch.
I remember being immediately scared because of the obvious urgency of the women’s approach. Also, both women were in extreme agitation, crying and jerking their heads back and forth, frantically looking for Pastor Bishop. The Pastor was serving Kool-aid to several boys and didn’t see the ladies hurtling toward him. He barely had time to register their approach before both women were in his arms, their faces buried in his shoulders.
The boys around me went dead silent and I could immediately see that others were concerned if not outright afraid. There is something about adults losing control that upsets young kids. Pastor Bishop was a relatively young man and this was his first church. He was barely able to control the ladies much less console them, especially when the younger woman collapsed to her knees.
At this point, several of the younger boys started to cry and the older ones were riveted in position. Fortunately, the Pastor was able to lift the young woman to her knees and gently maneuver them into the church.
We boys were left to our own devices and after a few minutes resumed our lunch. Frankly, I don’t remember much about how the remainder of the day played out; I remember the part about the two ladies—and what occurred afterwards.
I remember getting home and telling my mother what happened. She immediately went to the telephone and after only a few moments identified the two ladies and the cause of their flight to the church. My mother told me that Mrs. Roberts’s husband was killed-in-action in Korea and that both her and her mother-in-law were seeking comfort in the Lord through Pastor Bishop.
Since I had observed what I did, my father thought it best for me to attend the funeral with him and mother. I barely remember the sermon other than everyone was crying. I do remember the two ladies were with their large families and were attended to throughout the ceremony by Pastor Bishop.
I will always remember viewing Corporal Roberts in his uniform lying in the coffin and I will always remember young Pastor Bishop shifting gears from conducting Vacation Bible School to comforting two bereaved women through God.