Church Bells

are for Ringing

Oh mothers, tell yo children not to do what I have done. Don't ring that church bell or you will catch hell, oh well, it WAS fun! 


We were sometime Baptist because two miles down the dirt and gravel road was a Baptist church. We were sometime Methodist because two miles up the road in the other direction was a Methodist church, but it was seldom open. The circuit preacher only came through every month or two and that explains why we were Baptist more often than Methodist.

One morning we learned the Methodist were open for business so we gave them ours.

In the church yard was a huge cast iron wheel attached to a cast iron bell. This five year old reasoned wheels are for turning and bells are for ringing. I turned it to the left and got a little chime. I turned it to the right and got a louder chime. I turned and turned and got a bing, bong, ding and dong. Then someone ran up and jerked me away from the big wheel.

People stood in the church yard talking and mumbling and glancing at me. I didn't know what was so bad about ringing a bell. But I felt shame and, being in a church yard, I knew I must have committed some kind of horrible forbidden sin.

Suddenly, dozens of people are coming up and down the road from both directions, rushing toward the church. Had they all simultaneously seen the light? I was amazed as the crowd gathered outside the church, each asking, "Where's the fire?" That's when I learned they only rang the bell when there was a fire in the neighborhood.

Were souls saved that day? I don't know. Were thanks given that there was no fire? I don't know. But I do know the little five year old 'sometime Baptist' heathen got more people to church than any 'sometime' Methodist circuit preacher had in years.

The forbidden to ring church bell is located on Sorrell Chapel Loop, left off 412 at the first Y in the road, going south between Jackson and Dyersburg, Tennessee.

Ring those Bells

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