Transcript to Sweet Is the Day.
SWEET IS THE DAY CHAPTERS
Introduction to the Wooten Family (0:00)
"Sweet Is the Day" opens with a scene of a group of people singing on a front porch. The music is from The Sacred Harp (orig. 1844), a tunebook printed in shape notes and designed for congregational singing. The singers are members of the Wootten family of northeast Alabama. The Woottens are one of the great singing families in Sacred Harp tradition. This scene was filmed in 1980 by folklorist Alan Lomax.
(Singing continues in background)
Syble Adams: We probably aren't that much different than a lot of other families. I think the biggest difference that I could say with our families is that there's so many of us that like it, and the family kept it up until recent years, and, like I say, I can see it dropping off.
Mack, Chester, Carnice, and Freeman are the sons of Jesse and Beulah Wootten-it was their generation whose avid embrace of Sacred Harp tradition established the Woottens as a singing family.
Mack Wootten: Why, this is the original, Mack Wootten, and there will never be another one. And, I'm glad to be here, proud to see all of you, so thank you.
Chester Wootten: Chester Wootten, the oldest boy.
Carnice Wootten: I'm Carnice Wootten, the fourth boy.
Freeman Wootten: Postell, he died first. "Check" [nickname for Chester] died second, and Carnice then died third, and Mack died fourth. And it just left me-well, I thought I had a load on my shoulders. I never did - I always depended on them to key the music, start it, and all of that. I depended on them to do that. So, I've missed them so much, still do.
"You will go, you will smile, and you will enjoy it" (3:24)
This segment of the film opens with a contemporary singing school (4) taught by Terry Wootten, son of Carnice and Myrtle Wootten.
Terry Wootten: Now, we'll go kind of slow the first time, so you'll have a little time to think about your notes. Here we go. (The class sings "fa-sol-la-fa-sol-la-mi-fa," the scale of shape notes.(5)) We may sing the scale lots of times, and you might get tired of it, but that… When you learn to do that, that's when you'll start being a good singer. The triangle's "fa", the square note's "la", the round's "sol", diamond shape "mi". We're going to keep it kind of simple because I'm kind of single-minded. So, that's the way we're going to have to deal with that.
Terry Wootten: When we sing a song, all these different parts, they're singing a different note. And all these different parts, they're singing a different note. And that's what makes it sound good. Now, let's sing the notes again, and we're going to speed up just a little bit. Speed up just a little. All right, now y'all make your hand go up and down when I do, and if I miss it, y'all just miss it, too. (Laughter) Down-up.
Terry Wootten: My first real singing school was probably in '73. I became real interested. And, up to that time, we didn't sing a whole lot of new songs. We sang kind of what we were used to - just used to and we sang what we learned from our parents. And the other songs in the book that they didn't sing, we never did try to sing them. So, after that, I became real interested and I wanted to learn these new songs.
So, at that time, we farmed all the time. We grew potatoes. And I had one old book I took to the field every day, and I put it up on my tractor. And after I'd get everything set and get the plows to plowing like I wanted them to do, I got out my book and I sang.
Terry Wootten: The four shape system (7) is-that's the best thing that's ever been invented as far as learning to sing. There's two reasons why we sing the shapes. Singing the shapes is our method of learning the tune and singing the shapes is a tradition. Years ago, there was singing schools taught in this area and in all other areas, and that's what they did at the singing school. They sang the notes, then they sang the words. And they also did that at their all-day singings. That's what they done.
Terry Wootten: We met at singing.
Sheila Wootten: I thought he was the most wonderful thing I'd ever seen, and I knew how involved he was in singing. I never was that fond of going to singing. I didn't understand it. It wasn't the type of music I was really into, but I thought then I'd learn more about it if I could get to know him, so I did it.
(Singing Fa-Sol-La: "The Young Convert" (8), p. 24)
Terry Wootten: The same notes, again.
Terry Wootten: Beating time (9) is just like riding down the road with your hands stuck out by a fence and if you don't raise it up to go over the post, it's going to slap your hand. (Laughter) So, that's just like the measure bars. When you go down through here, your hand has to go over the measure bar and start down on the other side. So, if you get lost, when you start that first measure on the right hand side of the measure bar, your hand is supposed to be going down. So, that's just like I said, beating down, when you come to the fence post, your raise your hand up and go down on the other side. When converts first begin to sing - wonder, wonder, wonder.
Terry Wootten: If we're just here at the house, normally we don't sing-when we're not singing with the group. I sing by myself sometimes. I sing to my chickens. Lots of times when I'm in the chicken house, I sing to them. They really like minor music better than they like major music.
Terry Wootten: As long as we have kids growing up in our family in the traditions that we grew up in, it'll continue.
Marty Wootten: When I was just a kid, they used to have a lot more singing schools than we do now. And I can remember all of my great-uncles getting all - the singing schools then were mainly for the kids, to try to get them to sing.
Robin Smith: When you had a singing school, it was just like coming to church. And you better be there and that's the way I explained it to my children today. "You will go, you will smile, and you'll enjoy it." (Laughter)
(Singing: "Florida" (10), p. 203)
Let the sinners take their course,
"Dinner on the ground and the devil all around" (12:18)
Gertha Parker, Olivia Allen, Jeanette Mosteller, and Robin Smith-all daughters and granddaughters of Jesse and Beulah Wootten-are discussing the importance of Sacred Harp values in passing Sacred Harp tradition on to children.
Gertha Parker: I can remember my daddy a-singing or trying to sing. Mama would help him. He would sing out of this little hymnbook. And then she taught him how to - I don't know if he knew the notes or not, I think she taught him that. And from then, as the children all come on, why we'd all sing and sit around the fireplace and sing at night before we went to bed. She wanted all of us to sing in the Sacred Harp. She woke me up a million times at night, down beside of her bed praying. And she'd always pray for her boys, and that they would take up, you know, and do the things she wanted them to do. She wanted them all to be singers. But I never did hear her pray for me and Olivia.
Olivia Allen: She never prayed for us. I never heard her pray for me.
Robin Smith: She knew she had good girls. It was those boys. Unfortunately, I feel like my girls are not as exposed to it as much as I would like for them to be. When we become so interested in it that we're only singing it because of the art in it, then we have missed the application that the music and the words are saying to us.
Jeanette Mosteller: It always gets me in the mood for a worship service, and every morning we get up and we put our tape in, every Sunday morning, we put our tape in before we go to church of the Sacred Harp now. Even 500 miles away and putting our Sacred Harp tape in. And when I'm homesick, I want my Sacred Harp tape in, and that just-makes it worse.
Robin Smith: Every second Sunday in April, that is the big day, and you always plan on going to the singing at Antioch (11). And I can remember, it's usually near Easter, and we would always get a new dress. I just felt like, this was really special being a Sacred Harp singing, at Antioch, on the second Sunday in April, with a new dress-and it's been that way for the rest of my life. I would never dream of coming to the second Sunday in April without a new dress.
"Antioch" is an annual all-day singing (12) organized by members of the Wootten family.
Gertha Parker: Back then, they didn't have nothing, you know. They just lived from day to day. You worked hard, and I think it's because we're not as humble now as they were back in them days. I know I'm not, and I take too much for granted.
Remember you are hastening on
The scene shifts to Antioch Church on the evening before the annual singing. Terry Wootten and filmmaker Jim Carnes are setting up the chairs in the traditional "hollow square" (14) arrangement.
Terry Wootten: We'll do probably a short bench for alto, and then we'll fill in on the bass, and the treble with chairs.
Jim Carnes: Do you want this one on tenor?
Terry Wootten: Yeah. Is that enough room?
Jim Carnes: Yeah.
Terry Wootten: How's that?
Jim Carnes: That's good.
p. 47) (15)
Buried in sorrow and sin,
Salvation! Let the echo fly
Freeman Wootten: It's been a wonderful thing in my life. When you're down and out, even out at work, you can go to singing, and it'll help you. You can get through the day better.
p. 48) (16)
Then shall I share a glorious part
Then shall I see and hear and know
Speaker: Everybody, if you would, go in the front here, and we'll form a line or two. The first thing that we do when we get in there, we'll ask the blessing.
Guy Parker: There used to be a saying, but I'm not going to say it. "Dinner on the ground, (17) and whiskey all around," is what I've heard.
Gertha Parker: "Dinner on the ground, and the devil all around," is what I've heard.
Guy Parker: Yeah, that's it. "Dinner on the ground, and the devil all around." Well, that's not proper for church people.
Gertha Parker: I wish I had a nickel each dinner I have fixed in my life for dinners, I mean, for singings. I bet I made a thousand of those apple pies. Now, that's my hobby-making apple pies.
Myrtle Wootten: We talk. We all talk. We tell one another what we're going to do. Some of them will bring potato salad, some slaw, and some green beans, and some dressing, and some dumplings, and some chicken. We're having fifty chickens barbecued. I'm taking freezer slaw, deviled eggs, a Swiss chocolate cake, dumplings, dressing, sweet potato pie, and turnip greens. And I always want to get there before it starts, but I never do. Hey, do you want to sample it?
Syble Adams: Mother's done her share. She's better at it than I am. Much better than I am.
Delta Wootten: Well, I don't know about that.
Syble Adams: The women of mother's generation has a lot that women in my generation don't have. I don't know if it's grit or what.
Delta Wootten: Well, I wake up at 5 o'clock, and she likes to sleep until 7 or 8. (Laughter)
Syble Adams: Yeah, right.
"We call it 'the spirit came'" (24:05)
Barrett Ashley: I hadn't heard anybody say anything about it, but I'm glad to be here. (Laughter)
Terry Wootten: When a leader (18) is called up, he'd have a certain song that they really liked to sing.
Barrett Ashley: Well, I want to sing a 186. 186.
Terry Wootten: After the leader sings that over the years, just a lots and lots of times, you identify that song with that person.
p. 186. (19) "Sherburne" is a style of composition
called a fuguing
Terry Wootten: A lot of times as we think about different people that's died, and I might get up and go to a singing this morning, I might be thinking about one of them ,so I sing the song that makes me think about them.
Sheila Wootten: I like letting other people know that there's more to it than just singing. It's not just a type of folk music. It's a feeling of a - a deep spiritual feeling.
Syble Adams: We haven't seen this in a long, long time, but at a different singings, I'll go back to Antioch because you were explaining with Antioch. I have been to that singing where we'd just be singing and having a real good melody - harmonious singing - and then the feeling would change. It's hard to explain something like that. It's very difficult because it's totally unlike anything that you can put into words, but we would call it "the Spirit came." And the tears would start rolling, and you could just see everybody all over the house enjoying it. You could hear men or you could see the men crying - I mean, the tears rolling and smiling and laughing.
Delta Wootten: Happy tears.
Syble Adams: Happy, happy tears, and you could hear, "Amen," just all over the singing congregation, even back in the back, too, you know. You could just hear it all over. It would just be bouncing from here to here to here, and it was wonderful - maybe it's desire. I guess that has a big part to play in it - desire and willingness for it to happen when it does happen. I think we've gotten to where we don't take the time. You can't be ashamed to shed tears and enjoy yourself. It just doesn't work. I can to a singing - and Daddy (Chester "Check" Wootten) is the same way - sick, back hurts, I've got a headache, you know, whatever. And if the singing gets good, it goes away.
Delta Wootten: You see how she bounces.
Syble Adams: You aren't sick anymore. You aren't sick anymore.
Syble Adams: I really don't care what anybody thinks about me and Daddy because he was Daddy, and to me, he was wonderful. And I can brag on him if I want to, can't I? And I think he had talent that is probably not the most blessed talent, but it is one of the most blessed talents.
Delta Wootten: He was not a perfect man, but he had winning ways, now.
Pam Wilkerson: He taught me to sing. I guess he probably taught you too?
Rhonda Arnold: Yeah, he taught us all to sing. And that's one thing that's kind of drawn me into it a little more is after he passed away, it's just what he left with us, and I always remember that.
Pam Wilkerson: Very rarely do I go to a singing and what I look up and I expect to see Granddaddy over there with his hand doing like this while he's singing, you know.
Syble Adams: And when you have a singing like this, and everything sounds so pretty, you know, he's right up there. And it just seems like we can just bring him in.
Love," p. 159)(21)
Chester Wootten: I'm proud of what I love and that's Sacred Harp singing. There's a lot of people that can beat me at singing, but there are not a whole lot of people that can beat me at loving it.
(Singing: "Primrose," p. 47)
Phillip Wootten: The good part about Sacred Harp singing is that each and everyone is there singing has the same attitude. They're there to fellowship (22) and they're there to sing, and the majority of them is there to sing praises to the Lord. If you couldn't have fellowship with your brother, then the singing wouldn't last long. It would die out, it would be dead in a short period of time.
Speaker: I want to say I'm glad that each one of you come and helped make the day what it's been. It's been a blessing to me, and I hope it has to you.
Speaker: Four or five years ago, we started having so many out-of-state singers when it really got popular up north. Actually, I think Sacred Harp is growing more up there than it is here.
At this point we hear the traditional "announcements" (23) of upcoming singings that are customarily given at the end of a singing. The presence of singings in such places as Colorado, New Mexico, and Chicago is the consequence of the spread of Sacred Harp outside the traditional areas in the south.
Buell Cobb: The National Convention is at Birmingham the Thursday, Friday, and Saturday before the third Sunday in June.
Ted Johnson: There's a convention that alternates between New Mexico and Colorado. This year it will be in Fort Collins, Colorado, the third weekend.
Connie Karduck: We'd like to see you all in Chicago, the last Sunday and Saturday before, this month, at the Midwest convention. You're all very welcome to come and be there.
Bud Oliver: The fourth Sunday in August is our convention on Lookout
Mountain, and we'd like to have you all come. There's one or two visitors
here that I haven't seen out there yet. We sure would like to have you.
"Before long, you'd have a porch full" (30:38)
This section of "Sweet Is the Day" concerns the Wootten farming operation on Sand Mountain (24) and the long-standing association of Sacred Harp with agrarian life. It opens with an interview, filmed by Alan Lomax in 1980, with Chester Wootten discussing his farm.
Carnice Wootten: We just made a living here on the farm. It started out with Papa and Mack and Check bought the 120 acres here and then I wound up with all of it, just about it, me and the boys together. Well, all of it, I wound up with all of it and then some more added to it. That's just about the history from '35 up to now.
Carnice Wootten: This is my second son, Dewayne Wootten.
Dewayne Wootten: All my life, I've worked right here, born down about a quarter of a mile. And when I got 19, I married, and I live about a quarter of a mile from here now. I've been here all my life. I don't know of anywhere I'd like to go any better than here. We make our, you know, all of our living right here. A lot of friends, good neighbors, a good community to live in. We enjoy it.
(Engine Cranking. Chicks chirping.)
Dewayne Wootten: When Daddy first started getting chickens about 1956 through '57, and his house was 200 feet long, it only held 8,000 chickens. He was one of the first men in this area had chickens. There was a span from about 1971 to '89 that we didn't have any chickens. We did row cropping and just farmed all together. And of course, we had the feed store and the lawn-mower shop out here going. Daddy started it in - when '70 or '71.
Everything about the chicken business has advanced so fast since we were first in the business, and we went back in the second time, we just had to forget all we ever knew because we'd do everything wrong. Just now it's so much different from them - it's unreal. I wish it was where Daddy could be here and see some of this now. 109,400.
(Chickens clucking and chirping. Engine running.)
Dewayne Wootten: Daddy got - he had a heart attack, and he had to slow down. But Terry mostly went to helping him at the business at Ider, and me and Levon stayed up here in the farm all the time. Daddy just about had to quit. Well, Terry'd just run the place, and he just kind of been out there all the time.
Terry Wootten: This is where Dad started out when he opened up the business, and it just happened so that's mother's car sitting there. She was out visiting the day they made the picture. This is the store we're in now, where we do the bookwork, just an office for us to - sometimes we'll hide in here when we don't want to talk to everybody.
When I was small, the cotton was a pretty big deal here. That was, really cotton was everybody's money crop, and then before I got grown, it was just completely gone. And potatoes was, was a money crop then, and there still are potatoes growing now.
Jeffrey Wootten: The potato business was all I knowed, well, every since I was just a little bitty boy, that's all I can ever remember doing. And I really enjoyed it and didn't want to quit and didn't want them to quit. So when they quit, that was really the opportunity for me, and I stepped in. I got all the stuff that they had and now I'm like about 75 acres being as big as they was and next year I'll be bigger than they was.
Delta Wootten: You have to farm big nowadays to make - really make a living. Little farmers like we used to be, you couldn't make very much. Just you'd get by, and that would be it.
Syble Adams: Tell them about how y'all bought your first, how you bought your farm.
Delta Wootten: We bought it by and paid for it with cotton, two bales of cotton a year.
Olivia Allen: They'd all work in the fields all day, Papa and the boys would work. And when they got through, everybody would congregate on our front porch and sing just Sacred Harp.
Syble Adams: I can remember sitting out on the front porch, and just as dusk would start to fall, probably Uncle Mack and they lived down there where Dewayne lives. They might walk up. And Uncle Carnice and them live back there where Terry used to live before he built his new house. They'd come up. Well, Daddy and his brothers, up until the time came to start singing, they'd argue about something. They would always argue, but it was fun, you know. Uncle Mack, I can just hear Uncle Mack, "Aw, Check, you know better than that." And then they'd, "Aw, Mack." You know, they would argue, but they'd laugh and they'd have fun. Well, somewhere during all of that, you would hear Daddy or one of the brothers - Uncle Mack a lot of the times. Most of the time, it would be Uncle Mack-sol-fa. You know, and then he'd start out… most of the time, he'd start out. (Singing) "On Jordan's stormy banks I'd stand." Well, by that time, if we didn't stop what we were doing and go running, he'd say, "All right, kids, come on," and before long, we'd have a porch full and sit around and sing.
p. 146.(25) "Hallelujah" is an example of a campmeeting
And I'll sing hallelujah,
"He throwed his life to it" (38:47)
Freeman Wootten: My mother was a Haynes. That is my Grandfather and Grandmother Haynes, and this is my Mother and my Daddy. And this is our family growing up. That's ole Eva and that's me, Carnice, Mack, Postell, Check, and Gert. I carry that to the reunion every year.
Jesus, my savior, I know thou art mine," #109(27) from Lloyd's
I find him in singing, I find him in prayer.
Terry Wootten: I learned the tune of this song from my Granddaddy and all of my uncles and my dad - they used to sing it at church. I can remember two times that different cousins called everybody and invited them to their house to sing. I don't remember how many years it's been, but it's a few years back.
(Singing: "Oh Jesus, my savior" continues, sung by the group at the
event known as the Wootten "cousins'
Terry Wootten: I don't think there was ever a point in time or anything like that that they set aside for all of them to get together. It just happened.
Terry Wootten: I had talked to different cousins and told them I would love to, you know, for us all to get together again. We sent them all an invitation, and all of them showed up but three. There was 82 counted, but there was some people up the stairs and under the balcony that they couldn't see. I'm going to guess there was 90 here last night.
Freeman Wootten: Of course Terry wanted me there. I was the only uncle that was left. And of course Terry's good to me. I think the world of Terry. He calls about me now. But anyway, I reckon I just got out of the hospital then, and I didn't. I wanted to go, man, I wanted to go so bad.
Terry Wootten: Where's the portable phone?
Syble Adams: Terry, you need to change that.
Terry Wootten: Oh, I was going to call Uncle Freeman, and let him hear it.
Syble Adams: Oh, okay. Let her get Uncle Freeman on the phone.
Syble Adams: Uncle Freeman.
Freeman Wootten: Yeah.
Sheila Wootten: Can you hear us?
Freeman Wootten: Not bad.
Sheila Wootten: Good. (Laughter)
Sheila Wootten: That sounds real good. They're going to sing you a song. Okay.
(Singing: "Morning," p. 163)(31)
Freeman Wootten: Another great consolation that you have to think that that many of your nieces and nephews that still does it just like we did. And thats good, and I'm proud of them. I think the world of Terry. Terry means a lot to me because he has throw'd his life to it.
Terry Wootten: Stand to your feet as we sing.
As I Am")(32)
Freeman Wootten: So now if anything happened, you call on Terry. So, when he's old, there will be some of the rest of them come up. So I think as it'll just come on up and come on down and just keep going. I don't believe it'll ever stop.
(Singing: "Wondrous Love")
Jeffrey Wootten: I would love to ask each and everyone that's here to remember us in prayer. It's bad. She might need to have another surgery. It's kind of hard to accept that, so y'all just remember her in your prayers.
Philip Wootten: Heavenly Father and Lord and Master of all. Lord, we ask you to be with Brother Jeffrey and his family and the little girl. Heavenly Father, comfort them and give them the strength that they need. Oh, Lord, you said you wouldn't put more on us than we could bear. Heavenly Father, we know through all things that you can carry the burdens of all of us. Dear Lord, you said to take my yoke upon you, my burdens, my burdens is light, Lord, and you know all things and you know what they need. Dear Heavenly Father, just strengthen them here tonight. And, Lord, you know each one that's gathered around here. At this time, Lord, if there's anyone that knows you not, if you'll please pardon their sin, Lord. You know them, and I'm not just saying our Heavenly Father to get acquainted with one that can enrich their life, Lord, and give them peace within their soul. We thank you, again, Lord. If one of us hurt, Lord, they all hurt. We thank you for even having those kind of feelings, Lord, that we can and we can just mourn with those that mourn and we can rejoice with those who rejoice. These are great favors and we ask the one that can grant in all things, in the name of Christ, amen.
"I want to die a-shoutin'" (46:48)
Freeman Wootten: This is my granddaddy and my grandmamma.
Speaker: Oh, what a wonderful picture!
Freeman Wootten: And so, I'm going in to hang it up. Terry told me that somebody - he got the word somewhere that they came to the first family reunion. And I don't know where it was at, but he said it was 1896.
Freeman Wootten: So that would be about around 100 years old. I always enjoy it, look forward to it, you know, to this day.
Terry Wootten: I want to sing the notes and the first verse. As we sing the second, I want all the first cousins of this family to stand up so now that will be y'all's group. Now that won't include me because I ain't that old. (Laughter from audience)
Freeman Wootten: When I was young, we'd go to that Haynes reunion (35), and back then all of them was a-living. I can remember every one of them - no, there's one I can't remember. But there was 14 of them, you see. The girls made the treble, and the boys made the bass and part of the tenor, and that was a class itself, you know. And I'll tell you they could sing, they could sing. And as they got older some of them couldn't come in the house. They'd sit out at the window - come up to the window, you know, and they'd sing songs for them, you know, as long as they lived. And it was - it's just been a special day all of our lives. Now, all of the older ones is gone, and a lot of the next generation is gone. And it's just a few of us in that generation that's here, but then the next generation, our children, there's so many of them that's just coming on with it.
(Singing: "Sweet By and By")(36)
Freeman Wootten: They'd call, say our family, Mama's family - they'd say "Aunt Beulah"-my mother is Beulah. Aunt Beulah's family, and it still goes that way now. Each family is called.
Terry Wootten: I know we have several of those. Y'all just come on up, these that's coming up here, and you know whether you're kin to them or not, so just come up here. Okay, next. Beulah, Mama Wootten. All you Woottens hit the floor. This all of them? Our crowd's a lot thinner than it used to be. 28, page 28 on the bottom. And we'll sing it right slow where you can get the juice out of it.
Freeman Wootten: My mother was a Haynes, but she was a shoutin' (38) woman. And some people are ashamed of it now, but I'm not. She liked that song - I don't know what's the name of it-"I'm want to live a Christian here, I want to die a-shoutin'." Well, she was granted that privilege. My brother, he had preached at the association.(39) I don't know whether you know what the association is or not. It's like a convention.
Olivia Allen: So that was one thing you did not miss was the association. And of course I never did like to go because they preached all day and didn't sing all day. And so, but this particular Sunday, we was getting ready to go. So my husband got in the car with all of us, all the kids. So I drove with my mother and daddy. And we got to Ider, and she said, "Jesse, I've got to have a dip of snuff." So we went on to church, and my brother Postell was to preach at 11 o'clock. So by the time John and me got there, though, to go in the house, it was so full we couldn't find seats except in the back.
Terry Wootten: Postell had been picked to preach on Sunday morning at 11 o'clock. So they sang an hour. They started at 10, and they sang until 11, and then he preached until lunchtime. And as long as I can remember, my grandmother - and I always call her Mama - she couldn't get around. Somebody had to, you know, kind of lead her around. She couldn't walk by herself. So at the end of his sermon at lunchtime - before they dismissed for lunch, whoever had preached that morning, everybody always went around and shook hands with them.
Freeman Wootten: So they go up to shaking hands after he sat down. Everybody, of course, they started a song and they went to shaking hands, and she was happy. And then, just went away.
Olivia Allen: So somebody in front of me said, "Your mother, something's wrong." So I looked up, and Mack was carrying her outside.
Terry Wootten: You know, I was small, and everybody was standing up. But you know, I could, you could tell something was going on because there was people, you know, going up there and some people going out. But that's the biggest part I can remember about it. And I do remember Levon, my older brother, did take her, and probably some of the rest of her children went with them to the hospital. But I mean it didn't do any good because she died right in the church meeting.
Olivia Allen: And one of her prayers, she always - she said when she died, she wanted to die a-shouting. So she got to Postell to hug his neck and died happy and had her heart attack right there.
Sylvia Adams: She always shouted. These last few years, she always shouted.
Marlon Wootten: It was a good day, and she just enjoyed it. She just went right on, right on rejoicing.
Freeman Wootten: And that's another thing that you have to be proud of because she got what she always wanted.
Jeanette Mosteller: Not very many people get to die - get their requests honored like that.
Phillip Wootten: To die a-shouting would be, that would be the best way in the world to go.
Parting Hand," p. 62 (40) - sung as singers
"take the parting hand")
And I'll sing hallelujah,
Give joy or grief, give ease or pain,
(Freeman Wootten singing the hymn "Sweet is the day of sacred rest,"
the text used with the Sacred Harp tune "Primrose," p. 47)
(1) The Sacred Harp is a shape-note
tunebook, first compiled for singing instruction and congregational
singing in 1844 in Hamilton, Georgia. It has been kept in continuous
active use since that time by generations of devoted singers.
Jesus, and shall it ever be,
Ashamed of Jesus! Just as soon
Ashamed of Jesus, sooner far
Ashamed of Jesus, that dear Friend
Come, humble sinner, in whose breast
I'll go to Jesus, though my sin
I can but perish if I go,
When converts first begin to sing,
Let sinners take their course,
My thoughts address His throne,
Young people all attention give
Remember you are hastening on,
Salvation, O the joyful sound!
Buried in sorrow and in sin,
Salvation! Let the echo fly
Sweet is the day of sacred rest;
Then shall I share a glorious part
Then shall I see and hear and know
While shepherds watch'd their flocks by night
All glory be to God on high,
What wondrous love is this!
And let this feeble body fail,
Give joy or grief, give ease or pain,
O Jesus, my Saviour, I know thou art mine,
I find him in singing, I find him in prayer;
Precious mem'ries, unseen angels,
Precious mem'ries, how they linger
He dies, the friend of sinners dies,
Just as I am, thy love unknown
There is beauty all around
There's a land that is fairer than day,
In the sweet by and by,
"Wells" (page 28)
Life is the time to serve the Lord,
Life is the hour that God has giv'n
The living know that they must die,
(38) Freeman describes Beulah as a "shoutin'
woman," meaning that she was not ashamed or embarrassed to express herself
in church when she felt the presence of the holy spirit.
(39) An association meeting is a gathering of members
of the various churches in a church association, an organizational unit
common among Baptists churches. Associationism was an important concept
of church polity developed by Baptists during the early nineteenth century.
Its goal was to provide for organization and sharing of resources (e.g.,
circuit preachers) among like-minded churches without sacrificing their
independence which Baptists then thought unassailable. Periodically,
associations would hold large meetings that drew from all the member churches.
(40) As the singing at the reunion ends, the singers "take the parting hand" as a farewell embrace, much as they would have after Postell's sermon. As is the custom at many Sacred Harp singings, they close with the song "Parting Hand," in this case following immediately with a verse from "Hallelujah." This parting ritual marks the dispersal of the singing family. It follows the closing prayer, a prayer which implores that singers arrive safely at their various residences. The end of a singing is a time of impending absence from one's fellow singers and from the vivid spiritual presence that is Sacred Harp
"Parting Hand" (page 62)
How sweet the hours have passed away
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