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Flashbacks from a
by Tricia Crabtree
As I stared at the back of the U-Haul for several hours, memories came
flooding back. A church had donated 100 chairs, so we loaded them up with
some of our belongings to put in storage before our final move to Ohio.
Scott was driving the truck and I followed behind in our vehicle. As we
drove down the road, many childhood memories came to mind.
When I was 10 years old, my family moved to Trinidad, Colorado, to
start a church. We left the comforts of home and a good church in Enid,
Oklahoma, to head to the mountains of Colorado. There was nothing
waiting for us. My dad had no job and no support, but we had all the
promises of God. I remember the trip in the U-Haul with the windows
down and wind blowing through my long, blonde hair. (I learned quickly
NOT to do this. I can still remember the agony of trying to get the knots
out afterward!) In the stillness of the night, I looked up at the starry sky and
wondered what adventures were ahead.
Later that night, we pulled into town and stayed at a dumpy hotel across
from Sopris Manor, the apartments that would become home. These were
rough apartments with music blaring and people shouting. The guy below
us had been stabbed 11 times in his sleep! Sopris Manor was surrounded
by three bars, but it would be the beginnings of the Bible Baptist Church of
Trinidad. We had church in our living room and at 10 years of age, I was
the church pianist. I began to hold a personal grudge against Mötley Crüe
because the people downstairs would blare their song “Shout at the Devil”
as loud as they could while I tried to play “Amazing Grace” for our services.
We eventually moved to a storefront, using a stock tank for a baptistry
so we would not have to baptize in the Purgatory River. (Think about it,
folks!) I was the guinea pig
and was baptized 14 times—
apparently the first 13 were
Trinidad was a hotbed
of Catholicism with
undercurrents of the mafia.
I remember tales of a drug
plane that crashed into the
side of Fisher’s Peak. It was
said that on sunny days
one could see the sunlight
reflecting off the plane’s hull.
I wasted many hours as a kid
looking for that plane!
18 BIMI WORLD
Number 1, 2018
As I reflected back, I remembered how several kids from the apartments would
gather in the stairwell as my dad sang songs and played his guitar. These kids had
no future ahead, but those nights in the stairwell gave them at least some hope. I
remembered a blind man, ironically named Mr. Nickleye, who would tell stories
on the stoop. People’s names and faces started coming back to me: Katy, the unwed
mother who was one of the first converts baptized; Pablo, the oldest; Jack, the truck
driver and on and on. I always told people I was a PK—a preacher’s kid. It finally
dawned on me, though, in that moment behind the U-Haul, that I was not just a
preacher’s kid but that I was a CPK—a church planter’s kid! I had the opportunity
of seeing a church start from scratch that is still in existence today.
Fast forward a few years as we start a Deaf church in Ohio. As we move, what
thoughts will be going through my own children’s minds behind a U-Haul as
church planter’s kids? What experiences will they have? What challenges will
they face? Who are the Deaf Katys, Pablos, and Jacks who will become part of
their memories? The rest remains to be seen. I do know one thing, though—I will
caution them NOT to roll the window down and let their hair flap in the wind!
Editor’s note: Scott and Tricia Crabtree and their family have recently moved to
the Columbus, Ohio, area and are beginning Deaf Bible studies to prepare for the
start of Lifesigns Deaf Baptist Church. W