From Jay Moore: Billy Graham Saddles Up
Jay Moore’s newest book, “Abilene Daily: Snapshots of Home,” contains one or more
vignettes from Abilene’s history for each day of the year. Periodically, stories with some connection–however loose–to Abilene’s religious life will be featured in Spirit of Abilene. The book can be purchased at Texas Star Trading Co., 174 Cypress St. www.texasstartrading.com or call 325-672-9696. Books are $27.50.
Following is an excerpt from Jay Moore’s book, Abilene Daily: Snapshots of Home, dated March 16, 1951.
Billy Graham Saddles Up
Evangelist Billy Graham drew a crowd of over 6,000 to his morning service held inside the Rose Field House on the campus of Hardin-Simmons. Graham was casually dressed in a blue sport coats, light gray gabardine pants and donned a short-brimmed cowboy hat given to him by Amon Carter while Graham had been in Fort Worth. Trombone-playing musician Cliff Barrows accompanied the evangelist and led the gathering in singing “Amazing Grace,” followed by “In the Garden.”
After the service, the youthful preacher lunched at the Windsor Hotel, where he was presented with a cowboy shirt. The Abilene hosts then drove Graham to the HSU stables for a few minutes of horseback riding, and the school president presented a hand-tooled saddle to Graham who responded, “I shall always think of you West Texans and this wonderful school, Hardin-Simmons University, every time I use this saddle.” (Which was a nice way of saying, he would likely never think of HSU again.)