DFH Volume 1 Issue 10
by Jim Dayton
The scariest moment of my life was about 1958 near the height of the cold war with Russia (U.S.S.R.). I was about 10 years old. We used to have bomb drills at school, a getting-down-on-all-fours spell under our desks. I guess the theory was that if we were going to be vaporized, debris wouldn’t hurt us during our bodily meltdown. During that same era, the camp meeting evangelists took advantage of our fears during altar calls. They would do their best to scare us to the altar. A car was going to crash, a train would derail, a boat would sink, the Russians would attack, and we would “slip into eternity” without Christ. It left us kids shaking in our boots. Nowadays the evangelist would be arrested for felony emotional child abuse. After a particularly frightening altar call, my mom tucked me into bed. I think she could sense that I was worried and afraid. As I lay there in the blackness of the room, in a flash, the room was bright with light shining through the window. My heart started to pound so hard I thought it was going to jump out of my chest and start running. I was certain the Russians had just started the apocalypse. Within a very short time, maybe 10 seconds, I realized that my mom was on the back porch hanging out the wash on the clothes line. I had survived to face another evening of Stony Creek camp meeting horror. Apparently my friend, Carl Timpson, had the jitters even worse than I did. He went “forward” every time there was an altar call.