Monday, January 10, 2011
The bright red roof of the Onyx Landmark Missionary Baptist Church commands your attention as you round the first curve entering Onyx, Arkansas. The church and a few scattered residences are about the crop for Onyx, but what they lack in numbers, they more than make up for in quality.
It is patently obvious that the church is an object of community affection. It has a well equipped playground which portends well for any church these days. They are nurturing the next generation of members. The grounds are neat and the roof — it looks new — is metal. Since the roof is the downfall of many an old building, the members are right with the times to preserve their building for another 103 years.
The building was first constructed in 1908 as a school Then in 1918, in an example of "multi-tasking" decades before the now worn-out phrase was coined, the structure came to house the Onyx Landmark Missionary Baptist Church.
The faithful who attend church services, meetings, and events must negotiate a low-water bridge to get to the church on time. The bridge passes through a small "branch" and serves as the the only entrance road to the church. In the picture, the "branch" looks docile, but in these parts, after a heavy rain, small streams can become raging torrents.
Church attendees must negotiate this low water bridge on the only entrance road. It looks calm here, but can get "wet and wild" during heavy rains.
A low-water bridge in its basic form is pavement perpendicular to a streambed, which allows vehicles to cross without getting stuck. The pavement of some low-water bridges may extend a few inches to a few feet above the stream bed. Both versions have this commonality: At times, the bridge is completely submersed and impassable to most vehicles.
The church and its congregation at Onyx clearly demonstrate that the concept of taking care of your own is alive and well. Since they've been at it for more than a century, they have developed some life lessons for the rest of us to consider.
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Most of the time, there is more to the Photo of the Week story than can be told in an essay. And most of the time there are more pictures to be seen. Presuming that some folk will enjoy being privy to this trove of information, I have created a blog, “Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind,” where I am showing and telling “the rest of the story." There are also some blatantly commercial mentions of some of the things we do to earn our beans and taters. Click on the Weekly Grist logo and go to the blog. — J. D.