I am sure that when our founder, James Anderson Burns, and his pastor friend, H.L. McMurray, climbed up into a tree and chose the site for our school, there were some factors that went into that decision. I would imagine one of those factors was the surrounding waterways. The waters of Goose, Bullskin and Red Bird creeks merge to form the south fork of the Kentucky River just beyond our campus. These waters could help aid travel and logging operations and also provide food and other needed resources.
While these waters have helped provide for Oneida, they also create some unique challenges. Once or twice a year, on average, we have to deal with flood waters from both Goose Creek and the Kentucky River. Perhaps the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will one day help us in this area, but until that time comes heavy rains send us scrambling to move our buses, work program equipment, and athletic equipment that is located on the bottom side of our campus.
Once the flood waters crest they recede quickly, but these high waters can temporarily trap our staff who live on the farm side of our property. They also wreak havoc on our athletic fields and fencing. The right amount of rain can even cause the south fork to cover the roadway at the north end of our campus.
After some heavy weekend rain a few weeks ago, we knew we were headed for flooding. Our choir had a Sunday day/night doubleheader scheduled and was set to depart from campus at 5:15 a.m. After some debate, I made the decision to proceed with our trip. We got out of town a couple of hours before the water reached the road. We had a great visit at a fine church in Franklin, Ky.
While spending a couple of hours at the mall between services in Bowling Green, I encountered three Oneida connections. I used that time to do a little shopping for Angie and the kids, and the first connection was with a clerk at a department store. She had been to Oneida with her church group multiple times to deliver clothing donations. The second was a 1984 Oneida graduate who introduced me to her eighth-grade son whom she was considering sending to Oneida. The third was a 1994 Oneida graduate who also taught a few years for us.
We then ventured back to Somerset, where we made new connections at a fine church. As we headed home that evening, we determined we would need to take the longer route home through Red Bird to avoid high waters on the roadways. We were grateful for our safe arrival home and for the long but excellent day of relationship-building while out on the road.
Larry Gritton Jr. is president of Oneida Baptist Institute. Website: oneidaschool.org. Phone: (606) 847-4111. Follow OBI on Facebook at www.facebook.com/OBI.KY and Twitter, @Oneida_Baptist and @lgritton.