Zion Chatt lost another longtime member last week and he was laid to rest in Zion’s cemetery this past Monday.
Charles “Phillip” White was a dear and longtime friend. I knew Phillip and his late wife Helen Jean (Hileman) as long as I can remember.
I spent a lot of time on my Miller grandparents’ farm when I was little and Phillip and Helen Jean lived on the next road to the north, just across the field. They owned and operated White’s Engine Service, which was the place my dad and grandfather went when they needed engine and lawnmower repairs, advice, or just to talk. In addition, Helen Jean used to stop by the farm and take me to Bible School in the summer.
After Joe and I married we purchased lawn equipment and chain saws from the Whites and they continued to do repairs for us, too. They maintained our mowers and sharpened Joe’s mower and chain saw blades.
Phillip loved to talk about and show off his Bantam cars. He had several, some in various stages of rebuilding. On a visit years ago Phillip took me for a ride in one of those cute little cars, a 1936 Austin Roadster convertible. The car was adorable but when I asked him about it last year he said he had sold it. It was during that same visit years ago that Phillip gave us a little replica of a Bantam. It was probably from one of the many Austin Bantam Society meetings they attended over the years in several different states. This replica is inscribed Texas 92 and I placed it on the organ when I played at Phillip’s funeral on Monday.
Phillip had a very good memory and was a great story-teller. He told me all sorts of interesting things about Chatt and the surrounding area—the way things were in the old days. He remembered the people and businesses that were once in Chatt and where the people lived and where the businesses were located.
I loved go over and visit and pick his brain. Phillip told me about the old building now in the woods that once was Chatt’s barber shop. About the garage that was once a Chatt school building. He showed me an old envelope postmarked Chattanooga, Ohio, 1897. He knew and remembered so much.
On a visit with Phillip last May he told us about the time he was shot. Accidentally, of course. It seems he and another man were out shooting rats in a corn crib and a skunk also happened to be hiding below. Phillip was looking under the corn crib when the other man shot at a rat. The bird shot ricocheted and hit Phillip in the left arm. He said the bird shot was still in his arm.
Phillip is also told me that Zion Chatt’s organ came from a theatre in St. Marys. He should know.
He was proud to talk about his family genealogy and he showed me a picture of his ancestors’ house that still stands just across the state line in Indiana. He shared some other old photos that were special to him—some old family photos as well as photos of deer and other animals. He knew stories about my family, too, about my dad and about bellings.
Phillip reminded me of my dad. They both grew up during the depression and learned to make do with what they had. To fix things and make them last. They both could repair just about anything. They could figure out how things worked. They were both very handy men who loved to sit and talk and reminisce. Good honest country folk.
I was honored to play some of Phillip’s favorite hymns at his funeral, as was Joe to be an honorary pall bearer.
I will sure miss sitting and talking with Phillip, listening to him tell his stories about the years gone by.