Nostalgia is a memory carpet as people get older.
“When I started going to Pine Hill, there were only five or six in the graveyard,” Sewell recalls. “Now it’s full; hundreds are buried there.” While at Pine Hill to preach at the Memorial Day service, Sewell walked through the cemetery, reliving precious memories .
“I’ve been preaching since 1943. I was ordained in 1945,” Sewell recollected. “I have preached in every Baptist Church in Pulaski County except First Baptist Church in Somerset and I’ve attended several services there.”
Sewell pastored churches at McKinney, Mt. Zion, Chimney Rock, West Science Hill, Grave Hill, White Lily, Whetstone, Pine Hill, Cedar Springs in Russell County and Parnell in Wayne County. He also had a Sunday morning radio show.
Churches and traditions have changed during Sewell’s lifetime. Revivals in many churches today have a total of five services, beginning Sunday and ending Wednesday night. In Sewell’s day, revivals featured both morning and evening services and could go on for days, or weeks.
“When I was pastor at West Science Hill we had a revival that went on for a month, day and night. People came from as far as Danville to attend the services and there were 123 conversions. Some of them joined Baptist churches; some Methodist churches ... and others,” he remembers.
Sewell was a master of good, clean fun. He was a joy to be around.
While still active physically he took a group to the 2 O’clock Spring, a legendary stream of water near the Rockcastle River that, according to folklore, stops running each afternoon at 2 o’clock.
“We were going to the 2 O’clock Spring and I warned the fellows to be on the lookout for snakes,” grinned Sewell.
“This young fellow stepped on a stick and it flapped up and hit his ankle,” Sewell related, stopping a moment to laugh before he finished.