Recently my family and I visited my hometown, Blue Mountain, Mississippi to lay to rest the last of my Mother’s six sisters. It seemed like forever since I’d been home, yet it had been about 15 years ago. I was eager to visit the grave sites of my family members and get some snapshots of old houses where they once lived. Neither of my daughters has ever met their great-grandparents or even visited the town where they once lived, so I wanted to share pictures and videos with them. Family photos tell stories, capture memories and allow glimpses into lives that we may not get to share in any other way. And so, realizing that pictures are one of a family’s most treasured possessions and memories I was able to convince two of my sisters to go site seeing with me.
About 5 miles up the road from where one of my sisters currently lives; there is a row of condemned houses where my deceased family members once lived. They were strong believers of the Lord and all of them attended the same church. Some of the structures we saw were severely covered with trees, broken tree branches and other debris to where it was necessary to literally remove them in order to enter. But this didn’t stop me, “Miss Curiosity.” I opened the camera on my cell phone and recorded a short “narrative clip” as we walked through the old houses. Although two of my sisters went with me, only one of them was bold enough to enter the condemned house of my deceased grandparents, Jessie & Willis K. Booth. The other sister waited fearfully in the car.
As we entered the house, old memories started surfacing; my mind traveled back to when I was a little girl about six, perhaps seven years old. When school ended for the summer months my sisters and I would spend weeks at a time with my grandparents. Respect was the number one thing to remember in that household. They taught us that if you wanted to succeed in life, consistency and hard work was the key. Last but not least, if you messed it up, you cleaned it up, if you broke it, you fixed it, and if you could not fix it, then you reported it to them.
I remember going to church almost every night and then again on Sunday morning. My grandmother was a great cook, and she always started our day with a big hearty breakfast. We could smell the aroma of freshly baked biscuits, farmed raised sausage and bacon in the atmosphere before getting up in the morning. Coffee would be brewing in an old tin pot that sat upright on a wood-burning stove
My grandfather was a farmer. Most of everything we ate was homegrown and farm-raised. I loved watching him plow the fields and care for the animals. I remember he had certain “rooster that was real mean and you didn’t dare go near the “coop.” However, one particular day I, “Miss Curiosity” decided to snoop around in the “chicken coop” in hopes to gather some nice eggs. Grandfather would be so proud of me, I thought to myself. Sadly enough this adventure did not turn out in my favor. Just as I was about to grab some eggs from the haystack “Mr. Rooster” showed up. I backed myself out of the coop and started to run. I hadn’t gotten very far before he caught up to me and pecked me several times on the back of my legs! Needless to say, I learned my lesson. My grandfather loved farm work and I don’t recall him having any hired hands. He chose to do it all himself. A farmer he was, and he farmed until the day came that he could farm no more. He was One hundred and five years old when he died.
My grandmother, Jessie P. Booth was a Missionary, an Evangelist, and a Prophet. She was a powerful woman of God with “healing hands.” She could/would lay hands on people who were in pain or ill and they would get better. She even healed the severe migraines that I used to get as a child. I remember once we had a great storm; Lightening was so bright and the thunder was so loud, it seemed like it could cause permanent deafness. My dear grandmother went outside in the stormy weather and was talking to God… We were frightened. We begged and pleaded with her to come into the house, but she refused. This little woman stood about 5 feet 4 inches in stature and weighed roughly 120 lbs, but her faith in God was beyond imaginable. My Grandfather, Willis K. Booth was a Deacon and a Preacher who when he preached there was not a single soul sitting in their seats, nor dry eyes present.
I believe that my family still lives on their prayers until this day. I thank God for change in each of us for our ancestors were very God-loving people who strongly believed in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and I am convinced that they are no longer buried, but living in the sky….