My father was an itinerant oilfield worker. From my earliest memory we moved from town to town following the oil rigs to new locations. By my calculation we moved about every six months until I was thirteen.
As a result of this nomadic lifestyle it was difficult to make friends and get connected to the small towns where we took up temporary residence. We were outsiders. It was during this time that I first heard the phrase “oilfield trash.”
I was too young to understand its meaning until I was a teenager, but when I realized how we were viewed it was humiliating.
Despite this, there was another piece of the story that makes me thankful and it may have been a reason for my deafness to the way we were perceived.
In every dusty, little oilfield town where we located there was a Methodist Church. (This was before the merger that created The United Methodist Church.) And those churches offered vacation church school and Boy Scouts and youth activities that gave me continuity and a safe place to land.
They didn’t call me oilfield trash, they called me by my name. And I never forgot that.
Because of the hospitality of the people of The United Methodist Church, I became a Methodist.
UMCOM interprets the mission and ministry of the church to its global audiences through print, internet, television and radio. Before joining UMCOM, Rev. Hollon produced videos on global economic development, human rights and ecumenical programs to address poverty. He and his spouse Sharon have two daughters and a son.