Monday, April 16, 2012

Freeze - A Little Country Church

One of my favorite places to look at while driving by on our way to Coeur d’Alene, ID is Freeze Church.  It is just far enough off the road that it looks exactly like it is – a little country church in the distance.  It is really neat when there is just the hint of fog rising from the ground so it looks a little mysterious.  It is located about five miles north of Potlatch, ID and is just below the area where my father grew up in Mountain Home.  The church itself was built in 1889 and was the church for the community of Freeze and pretty much all that is left is the church itself and the cemetery.

Looking North from above the church
Freeze Church is surrounded by the rolling hills of the Palouse and just north of it is the mountains that start to climb up to McCroskey Park.  These rolling hills are some of the richest farmland in the world and dominate the landscape for miles around.  My father was a young man who worked for a nearby farmer, helping him harvest his crops.  On one occasion, a funeral was taking place in the cemetery surrounding the church.  As Dad made a pass on the combine around the church, he saw the people gathered to bury their loved one.  During the next pass, the crowd was starting to disperse and the coffin set there ready to be buried.  Dad thought it was a little silly…but he was starting to get a little spooked.  During the next pass, he saw the men bring out the crane over the coffin so they could lower it into the ground and when he came around again, the men were hand cranking the coffin into position.  It took a few more passes before the men had finished throwing the dirt on the fresh grave.  Dad would have liked to have quit for the day, but there was more combining to be done.  Every time he made the corner around the cemetery, he couldn’t help but look at that fresh grave.  I don’t think he ever knew who was being buried there…but it definitely made him nervous. 
Looking towards the Mountain Home area

My Dad will tell you that there are a lot of old friends buried up at Freeze cemetery.  Neighbors from his childhood out on Hatter Creek and classmates and friends from Potlatch as well as neighbors from the Mountain Home area where he moved to when he was twelve.  There are also a lot of relatives buried there…many of whom I remember well. 

Looking out on the fields
As you stand out at the church and gaze around the countryside, you are reminded of just how peaceful a place can be.  Every year Dad and I go up there and place flowers at my grandfather’s grave and his siblings, as well as a few uncles and cousins.  As we walk around the cemetery, Dad can’t help but stop and comment on some of the individuals that are buried there.  These are the people that he grew up knowing and hearing stories about.  His father is buried there and soon his mother will be - there is comfort knowing that my grandparents will be among friends in that peaceful little spot on the hillside.