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Remembering “Special Relatives”

by Wayne Hobbs

Most of us who were blessed to attend Southeastern Christian College in Winchester, KY are likely to remember two special‘relatives’ that we held in common.  Neither was really biologically related to us, but that did not matter when we knew them as "Uncle Charlie" and "Granny" Baber."  Their real names were Charles and Rosella, but that  wasn't important to us.  "Uncle Charlie" was the beloved maintenance man and caretaker of the SCC campus, while "Granny" ran the nutrition program by managing the cafeteria that was housed in the lower level of the boys' dormitory.  Their own children were blessed to call them "Mom" and "Dad, but to the rest of us "relatives," they were "Uncle Charlie" and "Granny."  These two special people touched our lives in many ways and are certainly worthy or remembering.  They were both dedicated Christians and members of the Belmont Church of Christ  who saw the value of blending education with Godly living.

Whatever was going on or needing help at the SCC campus found "Uncle Charlie" in the middle of if, giving help where he could and securing the assistance of others.  In addition to his work, many of us just enjoyed his special company and good advice on a variety of subjects.  He had a wealth of knowledge of the Bible and he knew how to apply it with a bunch of young people who constantly needed direction.

"Uncle Charlie" was known by everyone on campus and probably by almost everyone in Winchester.  He loved to spend time in its downtown area, especially on Saturdays when people came to do businessor just be downtown to trade pocket knives or sit somewhere and whittle a piece of wood into an object like an animal or even turn a stick into a wooden chain.  He was so well-know that Bro. Houtz, an SCC administrator, used to tell a long joke about seeing two men standing in a balcony window at the Vatican.  The punch line was "I don't know who that man in the beanie is, but the other man is Charlie Baber."

"Uncle Charlie's" main mission in life was to serve the Lord, but not in just attending church services.  He worked hard to figure out which young men had an inkling to speak in a church service.  He also had a great working knowledge of which of the boys had access to a car for transportation.  With that in mind, he arranged for these fellows to "go to the mountains" on Sunday and share a lesson for one of the small congregations that was in need of a preacher.  He took boys to Sugar Creek, Furnace, and other such places.  I had my own first Sunday morning sermon experience at Furnace, and with the help of "Uncle Charlie" and Ben Rake, I got through it.  "Uncle Charlie" had a love for these folks and a special rapport with young and old that was beyond explanation.  His desire was to reach people for Jesus.  Who knows how many young men were taught to speak out for Our Lord because of his influence!

If any of us at SCC asked the question "What's for dinner?" there was one person who could rescue that question with a mouth-watering answer.  That's "Granny" Baber.  She and the other dear ladies who served in the cafeteria made home-cooked meals a  daily experience.  There were some surprises along the way and some sure-to-be menu plans, such as hamburgers and French fries every Saturday lunch.  This always drew a crowd.

Beyond the delightful food that caused most college students to gain a little weight, her title of "Granny" was put into full activation.  She had a keen sense of observation and understanding of people and,she had a great willingness to listen or give needed advice and personal help.  Each of us who spent time with her knew that she considered us to be important, and we even thought ourselves to be special. My wife, Linda, recalls being taken out for a banana split and other treats, as she was given personal attention.For a college student away from home, those experiences with one who really cared were life-changing, and they will always be cherished.

By first impression, one might think that having a job to hand wash dishes three times on most days would be an unbearable task.  However, just the opposite was true as a group of students had fellowship with each other, as well as with "Granny" and her workers.  We all knew that she maintained a high standard of cleanliness, including using really hot water and bleach.  My wife enjoyed this same experience and fellowship, beginning at SCC after I graduated and had moved to another school.   We both recall those great times in the SCC kitchen and how important they were in forming our lives (I still know how to wash dishes!).

Those who taught us and filled our brains with knowledge and understanding were really important, and we thank God for each of them and their Spiritual approach to education.  Beyond that formal instruction, no doubt, each one who attended SCC during those "Uncle Charlie" and "Granny" years of the 1960's and longer has special memories of this dear couple and their influence.  It is good for us to use their examples and thank God for their love that was shared with so many.  May we each praise God for all those who blessed our lives and use what was given us to be a blessing to others.


Wayne Hobbs is a member of Sellersburg Church of Christ, Sellersburg, IN.

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That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

2 Corinthians 12:10