Wednesday, December 3, 2008
The Circuit Rider
This is another Gwynn's Island sunset. Why I can't post Gwynn's Island pictures when the story is about Gwynn's Island is beyond me. I suppose that would be too organized or logical. So, anyway, here is a picture of a Gwynn's Island sunset, and a story that has absolutely nothing to do with Gwynn's Island.
One of my earliest memories of television, besides the marching pigs playing the bass drum and other assorted musical instruments on the Valleydale commercials (and the song those pigs sang), was a television show called The Circuit Rider, which was based on a Mathews County man.
Although I honestly do not recall the content of the show, (and in fact "show" may be an overstatement, it may have been just a very brief clip) I distinctly remember being absolutely fascinated that there was a program on television that highlighted someone from Mathews. It would be unusual even today to see a regularly scheduled show about Mathews on television, and back then it was quite the novelty.
The circuit rider was a preacher man from Cobbs Creek who rode a horse instead of traveling by car. Aside from what I've already said about him having a TV show, you now have every bit as much knowledge as I do about the show and the man. Once again, I know a little about a lot but not a lot about much.
Below is what Wikipedia has to say about circuit riders, and surprisingly little old Cobbs Creek, which is approximately three miles from me, is referenced in the definition:
"A circuit rider is a concept from the history of American Methodism....A circuit (nowadays referred to as a charge) was a geographical area that encompassed two or more local churches....Because of the distance between churches, these preachers would ride on horseback. They were called circuit riders or saddlebag preachers. They traveled with few possessions, carrying only what could fit in their saddlebags. They traveled through wilderness and villages, and they preached every day at any place available (peoples' cabins, courthouses, fields, meeting houses, later even basements and street corners)....
...During the 1970s, WWBT television, an NBC affiliate in Richmond, VA, broadcast the musings of the "Circuit Rider", an elderly preacher appearing on horseback and presenting a brief rural parable, prior to its sign-off message. The history and origin of the man from Cobb's Creek, Virginia, is not well documented."--------------------------------------------
So there you have it. A Mathews man on a horse was featured on television back in the '70's and not just that but this Mathews man is used in the very definition of a circuit rider on the internet.
When I read that last sentence about the history and the origin not being well documented, that only makes me want to know more and document it here. I have a handful of Mathews people reading all this hot air of mine....Do any of you remember the TV show and do any of you know the history/any information on this Circuit Rider?
When I read the word "saddlebags" I start to flinch and remember that I haven't exercised today. Then I can only think of one thing:that Valleydale song and those marching pigs.