We will miss Mr. Lake

The word goes on, I guess, but it is definitely poorer.

Mr. Lake Looper of Dacusville has passed away at age 100.

6-25 Page 4A.inddMy contact with Mr. Looper was limited, but he made a deep impression on me. When I was a child of maybe 8 years old, my parents made the courageous decision that instead of going to Easley to go to Rock Springs Baptist Church, we would start going to Nine Forks Baptist Church in Dacusville, just a couple of miles from our house.

The four Robinson kids had started school in Easley so we could spend time with our grandmother and our beloved uncle Cecil. When my eldest sister, Rhonda, came to junior high age, my parents were concerned about the drug problems they heard about in larger schools, so we all four began attending school in Dacusville.

Church was the next step in this natural progression. So we started to go to Nine Forks because the odds were greater that we could make friends who could help us in school.

My father often worked third shift in the mill, so our religious training was up to my mother.

Of course, as the new kid at a small church, I got to enjoy the “cute kid who can say anything” syndrome. Later, as I grew older and hopefully wiser, I cringed at some of the things I said, trying to be cute. But the adults around me seemed to understand, or at least look the other way when I was around.

Mr. Lake and his wife, Dean, were among the members of Nine Forks who were the foundation of the church. Lake and Dean’s daughter, Martha, was our organist, and their son-in-law, Jim Wood, was reluctantly the church minister of music, as he modestly wished another would accept the job.

Later, the Loopers’ son, James, and his wife, Rebecca, joined the church, with Rebecca assuming the duties on the church piano and James — much like his father Lake had — serving the church in so many ways you couldn’t list them.

Years later, Jim and Martha’s children, Angie and Jamie, became good friends of mine. Still later, I became friends with the two Looper children, Michael and Susan.

Years later, Michael and Jamie were the inspiration for me to become part of the Kentucky Missions team. Michael was my teaching partner the first few years I went, and it was he who, after seeing the way I overreacted to a child stepping on my toes, told the class, “If y’all will be quiet for a few minutes, we will go outside to play and you can all step on Ben’s toes.”

Kentucky kids stepped on my toes the rest of that trip, then again every year for the next 20 or so. I loved it. It was their way of letting me know they remembered me.

As I said, my dealings with Mr. Lake were limited. I remember one year when the youth of the church were raising money through a car wash.

I was working trying to rub off a spot from the car when Mr. Lake came up to me and said, “I know what you need to get that spot off. You need a little elbow grease.”

Now I know he was saying that if I rubbed harder I would be able to take care of that spot. But ignorant kid that I was, I began looking for a can of “elbow grease” to add to the cleaner.

As I said, I could not list the many ways Mr. Lake served the church over the years. But he was the constant no matter what was going on.

Somehow just seeing him and Miss Dean there each week let me know that everything was alright.

Now he has passed away, following his wife Miss Dean by a few years.

The church will need new people to step into that role in the future.

We are a larger church now, but by no means large. Let’s hope somebody steps forward, inspired by the quiet service of Mr. Lake.