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Precious Memories That Really Are
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In the tiny country church where I spent most of the first 22 years of my life, where I found the Lord at the age of 11, where, without fail, I had the leading part in every Christmas pageant and where my daddy laid down the law in more ways than one, we sang hymns from a brown songbook and a green one that were filled with the haunting melodies that have penetrated the Appalachians for many decades. I can close my eyes and still hear those mournful ballads like "Angel Band" or "Just As I Am." With either my eyes closed or open, I can see the teary-edged look in Daddy’s green eyes as he sat on the front pew and sang, "Precious Lord, Take My Hand," a heart-wrenching song written by Thomas Dorsey, a black blues singer from Atlanta, who wrote it after suffering the loss of his wife and son during childbirth.

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