“Turn Your Radio On”


“Come and listen in to a radio station
Where the mighty hosts of heaven sing.
Turn your radio on. Turn your radio on.
If you want to hear the songs of Zion
Coming from the land of endless spring,

Get in touch with God. Turn your radio on.”

Marion W. Easterling…“the little man with a million friends”…used this southern gospel classic composed by Albert E. Brumley, Sr. as the opening theme for his daily radio show broadcast from Station WKLF in Clanton…980 on your AM dial.

It was also the musical beginning to every weekday in the house located on Route 2 in Maplesville…the house with Box 34-A atop the post standing across Highway 22 from the end of the driveway.

With the songs of Zion playing on the radio in the kitchen, Momma…and Daddy if he hadn’t worked 11:00-7:00 at Gulf States…would be baking the biscuits and frying the sausage…or bacon…or Zeigler Red Hots sliced lengthwise (three cuts per link instead of two to stretch a dollar).

Sure, we had grits’n’eggs often…cereal…oatmeal from time to time.

But most mornings we would pour onto our plates some syrup that we’d stir up with peanut butter…margarine for the grownups. We’d sop up the ambrosiac mixture with a biscuit…I liked to sop with a Red Hot when we had them. Nutritious? Of course not. Delicious? Lord have mercy!

Variations on this haute cuisine from the Route 2, Box 34-A breakfast menu included:

Golden Eagle, Plow Boy, Alaga, or ribbon cane from a bucket (when available)

Bama or USDA Commodity peanut butter (if Papa Will had more than he wanted)

Blue Bonnet or Parkay

homemade or canned (whop-em-on-the-stove) biscuits (Okay…confession…when I was a child, I preferred the canned…but when I grew up, I put away childish things and developed an affinity for Momma’s homemade.)

The main course was often accompanied by a delightful chunk of hoop cheese…and if you got it into a biscuit in time it’d melt a little bit.

Momma would drink her cup of Luzianne instant coffee while the rest of us had a glass of Cloverleaf sweet milk…poured from the red and white paper carton.

We’d sit together around the table in our little kitchen…not saying much….

Just listening…

”There’s a better home a-waiting

In the sky, Lord, in the sky.”

”I’ll meet you in the morning

With a ‘How do you do?’”

“Here among the shadows in a lonely land,

We’re a band of pilgrims on the move.”

And…while this shy word nerd might’ve been reading the milk carton for the millionth time…I was hearing…and listening. (There is a difference, you know.)

Well…about the time we would start wiping off the breakfast table, Momma would say, “Y’all listen. It’s the funeral announcements.”  And we’d stop…and we’d listen with solemnity…while the names and arrangements were broadcast into our kitchen and across greater Chilton County.

“Listen to the songs of the fathers and the mothers
And the many friends gone on before.
Turn your radio on. Turn your radio on.
Some eternal morning we shall meet them
Over on the hallelujah shore.

Get in touch with God. Turn your radio on.”


Steve Latham – April 27, 2017

Share this:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *