yesterday's tennessee

Yesterday's Tennessee
History of Sardis, TN

From Beulah Hanna and Carra Holland, History of Sardis, Tennessee, Sardis Homecoming '86 Committee, May 1986.


In the heart of Dixie, in the hills of Tennessee,
Is a little country village that's home sweet home to me.
If you can spare a minute, I'd like to show you ‘round
And tell you ‘bout the good life in our little country town.

My very earliest memories are of depression years I guess.
But, we struggled through them bravely, even feeling we were blessed.
For we had our families ‘round us and our friends and neighbors too.
And we just asked God to help us and did the best that we could do.

We saw a lot of sickness, lost our loved ones, neighbors too,
And dear friends came from all around to try and comfort you.
They kept a constant vigil, by bedsides day and night,
And spoke in gentle whispers ‘til they saw the morning light.
Sometimes the case was hopeless and it seemed the patient knew,
For some called their families ‘round them and told them what to do.
I lost both my grandmas, a few short months apart
And being only five years old, it almost broke my heart.'

I have a little story now about my Grandma Brown,
About the day with broken hearts, we laid her in the ground.
She had no flowers to grace her grave that day,
But we buried her with dignity and turned to walk away,
When from the crowd of mourners, a dear lady stepped that day.
She walked up to the graveside, knelt by that mound of clay.
She placed some fresh cut flowers on the new grave of her friend.
Guess that was my first lesson in service to your fellow man.
That dear lady is still living and I think that you'll agree,
She deserves a special thanks, a special thanks from me.
For the beauty of the flowers against that mound of clay
Was an act of loving kindness. I remember it this day.
Folks gather ‘round to help you, it's always been that way.

The clouds of war were forming over Europe fairly soon,
And old Hitler's reign of terror filled the world with fear and doom.
The conflict grew in magnitude, we heard the radio each night.
Old Gabriel Heater scared us and gave us quite a fright.
But all of this was happening far away across the sea,
But soon would touch our lives in Sardis, Tennessee.

Fathers, husbands, sons and sweethearts marched away to meet the foe,
And their loved ones here in Sardis were so sad to see them go.
Many prayers were uttered from the hearts of simple folks,
But some would die on foreign soil and many hearts were broke.

I remember one fine morning as the sun was shining down,
My momma walked beside me to the school house right in town.
It was the finest structure that I had ever seen.
Its size was so gigantic it seemed almost like a dream.
The voices of the children rang sweetly in the air,
And we laughed and played the days away, seems we didn't have a care.
The teachers did their best to teach us, they gave it all they had.
And tho' we were young and foolish, guess we really weren't so bad.

My teachers are still living right here in Sardis town,
And we owe them all so very much, but seems we never get around
"To thank them" for their patience, their skill, their kindness too,
And dear teachers let me say it now, we owe so much to you.

We grew up and married, raised a family, made a home, And tho' our lives are simple, we don't ever want to roam.

The call to duty came again -- Korea, Viet Nam --
Once again, the young men did their duty for Uncle Sam.

You ask me, ‘Have things changed much?' Well, they've closed our school house down,
And the sound of children playing doesn't ring out over town.
Guess we'll have to call it progress and move on to modern ways,
But our eyes grow a little misty when we think of other days.
Our dear Old Alma Mater is still loved by one and all,
And a graduate of Sardis High can stand so proud and tall.
She's gone but not forgotten and I know it's very true,
We still love you dear Old Sardis High and owe so much to you.

Well, we still don't have a red-light to direct the traffic through,
For the boundaries of our village never really grew.
We've stayed pretty much the same as we were years ago,
And sometimes in the afternoon things get pretty slow.

Still I'd say we've made some progress and I noticed just last week,
The dogs, well they're not sleeping quite so far out in the street,
And the checkers games are played now in the ‘center' cross the way,
No more playing underneath the trees as they did in former days.
And the whittlers, they're still whittling and the ladies quilting too.
If you're an expert with a needle, they'll save a place for you.

Now just behind our little business on a hill, looking down,
Is our fire department and the talk's been going ‘round,
About the great job the men are doing and I think that you'll agree,
These men are ready day or night to serve their community.
And if you don't believe me, just let a call come in,
And they'll drop what they're doing and go and help their friends.
The sirens will be wailing, the tires a squalling too,
And the men will all come running to do what they can do.
A feeling of excitement, folks asking ‘til they tire,
"Can you tell me? Do you know yet? Please tell me where's the fire?"

Tho' you may never need a road map to find your way around,
Please don't get the wrong idea about our little town.
We are very happy people, working hard and making plans,
Optimistic ‘bout the future, loving life and fellow man.
Feeling blessed above all others and we surely know the worth
Of living here in Sardis, it's the dearest place on earth.

On every Sunday morning, we close the stores all down,
And the townfolks fill the churches, and the good Lord He looks down.
He sees that five fine churches remembered Him that day,
And they're not ashamed to tell you that you must repent and pray.

Some went away to make their fortune, but I'll bet it's safe to say,
They'll tell their friends about their home, and they're coming back some day.
I never went away to make my fortune, but I made one nonetheless,
For my fortune is my dear friends, and they've passed every test.

In the little cemeteries, on the outskirts of our town,
Our dear ones, they lie sleeping, sweetly in the ground.
Someday we'll go to join them, we really don't know when,
And a new life will await us but until then, my friends,
The promised land sounds awfully good but ‘til God calls for me,
Just let me live the good life here in Sardis, Tennessee.

Wanda Scott

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