The town was quite prosperous at one time. Both oil and coal were in abundance and in the 1920s Glencoe grew. In the 1950s the oil began to dry up and by the seventies, most of the mines had closed. By the 1990s the town was about half the size it had been during the boom years. Young people go off to college and never come back. But for those who live in the Oakes, life probably wouldn’t be any different anywhere else.
There were and still are two obvious sections of Glencoe and they've always been like night and day. The old Victorian homes line the main street, almost all of them are still well maintained. They were formerly owned by the oil barons and mine owners. On the side streets were the lesser but still stately homes of the oil and coal executives, lawyers, doctors, bankers, and business owners of that glorious time in Glencoe's history. Down near the long-abandoned railroad tracks, that once hauled mile-long trains, filled with coal and oil, in and out of Glencoe, is the area where the Oakes begins. At one time it had been a working-class neighborhood, but now there were few here who do any work. Many of the homes were row homes where only the home on each end has three outside walls. Often there were as many as ten two-story homes in the row. These were built by the mine owners as company housing and rented out to workers. Some other buildings had been fairly nice single-family homes. Years ago they were converted into slumlord apartments with some of the more prominent people in town being the slumlords. But most of the Oakes was made up of shotgun style bungalows and single wide trailers with multiple additions built on with no permits and going in every direction. County officials don't really care what people in the Oakes do as long as they do it in the Oakes. Shotgun house meant that the door was on the left or right side. There was a hallway from front to back and you could open the front door and the back door, fire a shotgun, and the buckshot wouldn’t hit anything on the way through. Most of the Oakes was pretty run down, the occasional homeowner that still took pride is the exception. Grandma used to say you may not be able to do anything about being poor, but there’s no excuse for being dirty...soap and whitewash are cheap.
Grace Like a River Flows is Christian fiction. Glencoe, by another name, is real and I pastored there for five years. Many characters are based on real people I knew. But the great story? It's all made up. Well, almost.
”The tracks have separated this town for a hundred years, but one day God's grace began flowing like River. And, like a mighty, raging river, you can't control it and you can't stop it. God's grace goes where He wants.
Grace Like a River Flows is about very flawed people who live on both sides of the tracks which run through Glencoe. Lives are changed. Families are transformed. And an old mainline church is renewed. Come meet the cast of characters who will be touched by God. Charlotte (featured on the cover) has seen the tracks. Will God’s grace touch her life? Look for the surprise ending! You’ll never see it coming.