By Betty Shearer
Friend Bobby Poteete stopped by shortly before lunch last Thursday to remind me of the final Lenten Luncheon at First United Methodist Church. Found an empty chair at the end of the table occupied by Bennie Taylor, Bobby Turnage, Eddie Ray, Joe Elliott and Gene Reed—a delightful group of men.
Had Bobby on one side and Eddie on the other and both had enjoyed a vacation in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Bobby had told Eddie about one of his favorite restaurants there. They both claimed to have thought of me while eating all that good food—said they knew I would have enjoyed it. I agreed.
Bobby says to find this place you have to be given directions by a native and, since his wife is a native of Mexico, he had an inside track. If Jim will take me for a visit, I plan to get instructions from Bobby.
Did enjoy visiting with all these fellows. The Taylor sisters, Mary Cloud, Sally Kate, and Coley, (Bennie Cole’s and Julia’s Grands) presented the special music, and they were wonderful. Bringing the message was Rev. Dayna Goff of Senatobia. Her devotional was very meaningful for me and I know it was for others.
Food, as always, was delicious — French Dip Sandwiches, dessert and tea. FUM ladies and men are excellent cooks.
Thanks for sharing these very meaningful services with all Vallians.
Jessie Gurner brought word from her mother-in-law, Mrs. Jack (Mary Nell) Gurner, Sr. that I should mention the improvements to the front of Woodland Hills, so that everyone could get by and see what has been done. Really thought I had done this, but guess not. Do let me encourage you to drive by and see that the church no longer looks like a big white warehouse—it’s beginning to look like a very pretty church. Thanks Mary Nell, for suggesting that I mention this.
I checked our dogwood trees this morning (Tuesday) and if they bloom by Easter it will take a miracle. Of course, this is the season of miracles—the greatest being the resurrection of our Lord over two thousand years ago. If the dogwood blooms fail to materialize in time though, we’ll still have a beautiful world for Easter Sunday. I don’t think I’ve every seen the Bradford Pears, Forsythia, Hawthornes, Daffidols and other flowers more colorful.
Let me urge all of you to get to a worship service Sunday. If you don’t have a church home you will be welcomed at any church in the Valley. Woodland Hills, located at the end of North Main Street, will have Morning Worship beginning at 10:30 a.m. and we’d like to have you join us. Prior to this you are welcome to join us for breakfast, being served from eight to nine o’clock—come and enjoy great spiritual and physical food. This will be our only service for the day, but other churches will have evening services if that’s the only time you can get out for worship.
On the dogwood subject, I found this old yellowed clipping while searching for something at the old Herald Office last week. It appeared at just the perfect time, I enjoyed it, and I’ll share it with you.
Legend of the Dogwood
At this time of year the woodland borders and hillsides are blossoming with the spreading branches of the beautiful dogwood trees as if an untimely snow storm had showered down upon them. In the autumn the landscape is painted with a glorious scarlet, crimson, and gold of these trees and hidden beneath this riot of color are clusters of vivid red berries.
According to the legend of the dogwood, in the time of Christ the dogwood tree had attained the height of the oak and other forest trees, and so strong and firm was the wood of the tree it was chosen for the wood of the cross on which He was crucified. The trees were greatly distressed at having been chosen for such a cruel purpose, and Jesus sensing their sorrow and their pity for His suffering made this promise to them: “Never again,” He said, “shall the dogwood grow large enough to be used for a cross. Henceforth it shall be slender and bent and twisted and its blossoms shall be in the form of a cross—two long and two short petals. In the center of the outer edge of each petal shall be nail prints, brown with rust and stained with blood, and in the center of the flower will be a crown of thorns. All who see it will remember that it was on a dogwood tree that I was crucified. This tree shall not be mutilated or destroyed, but it will be cherished as a reminder of My agony and death upon the Cross.”
Today, upon the hillsides the tree grows as promised, its branches slender, bent and twisted, its snowy blossoms in spring, and each autumn its vivid colors and flaming berries.
(The above was printed in the Herald, probably in the 40s at the request of The Garden Club of Water Valley.) The conclusion of the article read:
The dogwood tree is one that garden clubs of Mississippi have asked Mississippians to plant in the next three years. This is the time of year to transplant the trees from the woods. So won’t you join in making Mississippi a more beautiful state by planting trees now. If you have planted mimosa, magnolia, crepe myrtle, redbud or dogwood, you will be placed on the Roll of Honor of this county. Send you name to Mrs. W. L. Elkin if you have planted one of these trees.
Included on the first publishing of the Roll of Honor were: Mrs. L. B. Brazeal, Mrs. R. W. Tyler, Mrs. J. A. McCracken, Mrs. H. J. DeWeese, Mrs. Abbie Hunt, Mrs. Dora Felker, Mrs. F. R. Williamson.
I’m sure family members and friends will be interested in seeing these names. Also, the suggestion of The GC of WV to plant trees is still very important today—let’s all plant some trees in memory these wonderful ladies, for our on generation, and for generations to come. As you drive around the Valley, enjoying the beauty of the trees especially around the older homes, do you wonder just who did all that work to leave behind the beauty for us?
On our hill I don’t have to wonder—Most of it was done by Ed, with a little help from his mother, Dolly, and Son Jim. The only thing I every contributed was holding a plant straight while Ed filled in the hole.
Jane Henry Crow was in yesterday and we didn’t even discuss our bookkeeping (or lack of it). However we did reminisce about her mother and my dear friend, Dorothy Jane, her father, Hamric, Ludie, Ed and others. This all started because Flora Mills had just brought in some more great pictures—some with names, but many without. Jane says she has so many pictures, left by her Mom and Dad, I have Ludie’s and the Shearer pictures, and most of them are not identified. We concluded that if we don’t know them, probably no one does—so they’ll just have to continue in family history as relatives, some of which can be identified as belonging to one side of the family or the other. We also went on to confess that we’re no better, because neither of us are putting names, dates and places on the back of current photos. Seems we just never learn. It’s always great to visit with Jane, because even though she 20 years my junior, we have lived through most of my Valley days together—so we know (or knew) most of the same folks and speak the same language. That is a comfort, since there doesn’t seem to be many of us left.
Other visitors in the office yesterday were members of the Freeman family. They had taken first place in a prestigious Drag Race in Hattiesburg and were in to have a photo made of their very impressive trophy. Senior member of the family had worked with brothers, Rance and Don, at LMT for many years. He also knows Brother Bo. Says he still stops by for a visit with them when he’s in Batesville. He also asked about Mom—said that he remembered that the boys often took her lunch during the week. The youngest member of the Freeman Family was a very delightful two-year-old, whose father I’m sure was the driver of the winning car. His grandfather was probably the crew chief. Four generations of the Freeman family were involved in this venture and I sure enjoy seeing families who are so close. Congratulations!
A picture and story on this win will be found elsewhere in the paper.
Hope everyone has a Happy Easter!