Calvin Casebeer, Texas County Missouri, around 1905
Ol’ Calvin was a preacher
Though he never had a church,
And he seldom ever faced a crowd to preach.
Great Grandpa combed the Ozarks
On a big old dappled horse,
In search of every soul that he could reach.
Ol’ Calvin kept a bible
And he read it every day.
He searched for words of comfort he could give.
He seldom spoke of judgment
And he seldom spoke of death.
He preached that folks might know the Lord and live.
The folks could hear him coming
When he traveled down their lane.
Great Grandpa always whistled as he rode.
Folks always came out smiling
And that made him mighty proud.
They were always glad to see him and it showed.
He’d share his tales of Grandma,
All the kids and folks at home,
Of what he’d done that week to serve the Lord,
But mostly Calvin listened
Because Calvin really cared.
He would listen by the hour and not be bored.
Sometimes they’d kill a chicken
When they heard ol’ Calvin come.
He shared a bunch of suppers on the road.
He carried little with him
But his Bible and the Lord.
He reaped the seeds of kindness that he sewed.
Ol’ Calvin raised a big, ol’ beard,
To shade him from the sun.
As he grew old, his beard grew long and gray.
He’d part it in the middle
When he sat down to a meal,
And it framed his weathered face when he would pray:
“Thank you Lord for these good folks,
And for each gift we share.
Thank you for your son and for his touch.
Thank you for your promise,
And for your tender care.
Thank you that you love us each so much.”
Calvin loved the Ozarks,
All its people and his Lord.
He never looked for faults; he looked for grace.
His sermon was the life he lived.
His church, the Ozark hills.
The love of God beamed brightly from his face.