1974 was one of those "trial of your faith worketh patience" experiences for Sharon and I (Tracy). We were living in Apple Valley, California. I had entered into a partnership with an old friend, building swimming pools in the high desert. Things seemed to be going well, sales were terrific, and customers were satisfied. We were floating on air. Then came the end of the building season. We had nothing to worry about. We had a half-dozen pools under construction and a bank account full of money. Plenty, we thought, to get us through the winter with ease.
Sharon and I had started a gospel group with another couple, June and Dale Wade. We had a pretty fair country gospel sound. We named the group the "Country Congregation". I wrote most of the music for the group and secured a recording contract with Calvary Records in Nashville. While the group was developing, I noticed something disturbing in our pool business. The bookkeeper kept telling us to spend more money, but our bank account was shrinking faster than our pools were finishing. The wholesale price index was increasing rapidly with inflation. My partner kept increasing prices to compensate for the cost increases, but something was not right. I approached him on the matter. He was completely frustrated with the whole situation, and I realized he had hit the wall of burnout. He handed me all the books and contracts and said, "Here. You figure it out."
I closed myself in the office for the weekend. I went over and over the figures and laid it all out on a spreadsheet. The figures looked bad. I calculated that when all our construction was finished, we would be $22,000 in the hole. I couldn't believe it.
My partner threw his hands up. He was tired and frustrated. "Let's bankrupt it," he said. I didn't feel it was the right thing to do. "Alright then. If you want to try to save it, be my guest! You can have it all!" He drew up a paper and turned everything over to me; office equipment, the truck, his car, and a $22,000 deficit. Sharon and I prayed. Boy, did we pray! What would we do now? It would be six months until the building season would return. I had pools to complete and no money to do it with. "God, help us!" We didn't have much, but what little we had I had used to buy into this seemingly wonderful business. But now... wow!
In the midst of the turmoil, I awakened from a troubled sleep one night. It was two o'clock in the morning. A tune was echoing in my troubled brain. I picked up a tablet and a pencil and began to write, "Life is easy when you're up on the mountain, and you've got peace of mind like you've never known. But, when things change and you're down in the valley, don't lose faith, for you're never alone." "Thank You, Lord," I prayed, "for being God in my valley." The chorus came, "The God on the mountain is still God in the valley. When things go wrong, He'll make them right..." In all, it took about thirty minutes. I again prayed, "Thank You, Lord," and then settled back down to sleep.
Morning came, breakfast and prayer time. "Lord, show us Your will." I went off to work. Shortly after arriving at the office, the phone rang, "Mr. Dartt, could you please help us?" I grabbed my brief case and went to see the people who had called. Their son was a gifted athlete, but had been in a motorcycle accident and was paralyzed from the waist down. His doctor had recommended a swimming pool for the therapy the young man needed in order to walk again. I began the process of designing and building a pool for them. A few days later, another call came, "Mr. Dartt could you come talk to me about a pool?"
So, through the off-season, we ended up selling and building 12 pools in all, at a time when no one else was building pools. The building season came, and all of a sudden, we were able to finish all of our construction and eliminate our debts. We were free and clear, without having to bankrupt the business. God had taken us through the valley.
The song, "God On The Mountain" was first recorded in 1975 on the Country Congregation's first album. Later, it was recorded by The Weatherfords, Mark Gray, The Ambassadors (Jim and Lawanda Beard), The Pacific Coast Baptist Bible College Chorale, and several other part-time groups. Thirteen years later it was recorded by The McKameys, from Clinton, Tennessee. Hal Spencer, from Manna Music, called me on September 10th, 1988. I remember the date exactly, because it was right after my first Sunday as the new pastor of Auberry First Baptist Church in Auberry, California. "Tracy," He said, "Your song is number 10 on the charts!" "What song? In what chart?" was my reply. "The McKameys recorded "God On The Mountain" and it's number 10 in the 'Singing News' chart!" I was dumb-founded. "Who are the McKameys?" I asked. He explained and then played the song for me over the phone. The sound quality was terrible, as we lived up in the mountains and were still operating on old copper phone wiring. "That's number 10?" Was my reaction. My initial thought was that it was just a fluke. I figured someone spent a bunch of promotion money and that it would fade away quickly. October came and the song went to number 1. For five months it remained at number 1, and during the fifth month, the song drew more radio points than any song in gospel music history. Since then, "God On The Mountain" has been recorded hundreds of times, by artists such as Lynda Randle, Jake Hess, Jessy Dixon, John Starnes, the list goes on and on. It has been translated into several languages as well. This simple little song, comprised of 72 words and 4 chords, has been an encouragement to thousands of people.
"Thank you, Lord, for the mountains and the valleys, and the gifts we are given to share with others."