Come to the church in the wildwoods….

Robert's church 069

By now you’ve heard many of my “Robert Harrell stories” – he’s one of the funniest people on the planet, and probably a genius to boot.  To know him is to love  him, to quote a very old song.

Today, his antics took a spiritual turn, when he dedicated the Harrell Family Chapel which he constructed on his front lawn on Old Waverly Road in West Point. It is set near the greenhouse, party barn and log house he built over the past few years. Literally, he built them with his own hands and boards hewn from  trees on his land, plus a little help from friends and family members.

Robert's church 081

Above from left,  Robert greets his guests including Josh Stevens (who delivered the church blessing), Dr. Tom Braddock and college fraternity brother Jack Vaughan of Starkville.

“I had originally planned to build the replica of an old saloon,” he said with his characteristic 10,000 watt smile.  “But a spirit came to me in the night and urged me to build a church instead.”

His brother-in-law, Kenny Dill, leaned over to me and whispered, “That spirit was named Caroline.” Caroline is Robert’s long suffering wife of more than 50 years who sits patiently by and watches her husband whirl through life like a spinning top.  They are polar opposites.

But as my friend Jack said, “Can you imagine two Roberts living in one house!?”   It could never work.

Neighbor Bubba Atkins (my best friend Norma’s husband) was a major player in the project.  His job was to keep Robert focused – no small task, but then, he’s gotten a lot of practice with Norma.

Robert's church 074

Robert’s first project was the mini replica in the foreground which he built years ago, when his seven children were still at home.

Robert's church 080

Having his old friend Josh deliver the blessing was a blessing in itself.  Josh has been critically ill and literally left his hospital bed to perform the happy chore.  Even the weather cooperated.  Just as the ceremony began, the sun appeared from the dark gloomy sky  and guests were magically treated to a beautiful fall day.

It wouldn’t surprise me in the least if Robert didn’t strike a deal with God himself to deliver up such a perfect day.

7 thoughts on “Come to the church in the wildwoods….

  1. Yes Ann. You can’t help but love Robert Harrell. I’ve never heard him utter a negative word – not in his vocabulary. And that smile, oh that wonderful smile! I often wish Robert could be cloned, but I understand his daughter, Little Caroline, may be close. (Today, someone suggested she should have been named Roberta. At a funeral recently she looked down and discovered she was wearing mismatched shoes! It didn’t bother her one little bit.)

    As a wee little girl, my mother told me stories about Robert’s mother. Wish I could remember her name. She and my mother played in a bridge club where you wore white gloves and hats and all. She called Mother one morning and said “Vivian, you won’t believe this. I just woke up and was still wearing my bridge hat!” The world needs more Harrells.

  2. Her name was Fannie. Frances, the bride to be daughter, who will be married in this chapel was named after Mrs. Harrell. Mrs. Harrell taught her boys wonderful manners. Robert never went to a dance in high school without dancing with every girl sitting on the sidelines.

  3. Frances was her name,a lot of folks called her Miss Fannie. Oh, what a delight to be around.Just like my Caroline.

  4. I read your post to Bubba last night. He said you were right, “Robert wakes up in a different world everyday”.Thank goodness he can smile and enjoy his own mistakes.I’m so happy we’re part of his extended family. It’s been loads of fun.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *