A good many senior citizens attended a country church at some time or another. When the settlers first came to the Great Plains, they had their priorities pretty well sorted out. First, there was housing for the family, then they built schools for the children’s education. And as soon as possible, they built a church of one denomination or another. Among nearly all the early settlers, there seemed to be an inborn desire to practice their religious faith and worship.
There was just such a church in the little village where I grew up. It was located at the crossroads, just across the street from the country store. It was a small wooden structure, with a short steeple, and on top was a white wooden cross. The building was painted white, like most all churches, and was given a new coat of paint every eight or ten years. You entered this church through a covered entryway or vestibule. There was a small pulpit on a raised wood platform. There was also an old-fashioned foot pedal organ and a round heating stove. There were eight wooden pews on each side of the aisle. Each would seat six people. The only time the pews were all occupied was for a funeral or a wedding.
For awhile there were regular Sunday services, but usually on Sunday afternoon, as the preacher had to come from the neighboring town three miles up the road. If the weather was bad, he sometimes didn't show up at all. Now and then a circuit-riding preacher would come and preach for several days and nights in succession. Sometimes, when there was no preacher at all, we just had Sunday School. There were three classes. One for men, one for the ladies and one for kids. The denomination was somewhat uncertain, as it changed several times.
I can remember when one of the local girls wanted to get married in the church she had always attended. The trouble was the church hadn't been used for many months. Several of the family members gathered with brooms, dustmops and cleaning rags to give the old church a good cleaning. They had barely gotten started when someone discovered a swarm of bees in the wall next to the pulpit. That presented a dilemma because to remove the bees, one had to either take off the siding outside or the plaster inside. There just wasn't enough time to do either, as the wedding was the next day.
The adage "necessity is the mother of invention" was recoined that day. They stuffed the bees' entry hole full of rags soaked in kerosene, kept the windows closed on that side of the church, and prayed.
The wedding came off fine and no one got stung. However, the bride's father expressed some little doubt about that statement!