Monday, May 5, 2014

May Day 2014

If you find yourself lost in the middle of what seems like nowhere, on a quite Mississippi road off highway 61, in May, shut your eyes for a minute. You may be able to hear the sounds of an old church hymn coming from the woods where an old cemetery sign points. Of people talking and the laughter of children playing.
No, your not imagining it.  
Year after year and generation after generation, our ancestors then, and family now,  have gathered together on the first Saturday in May at Trevillion Cemetery in BlueHill, Mississippi. Just like that old song says, "There's a sweet sweet spirit in this place."
As I drove down the dirt path to that clearing in the woods, I got that sense of coming home and even after parking and starting the walk to the top of the hill where the sleepy little cemetery sits, I get a sense of those gone on before us, motioning us on. Its so sareal, the feeling you get when you top the hill and see the beauty that lies before you. The grass has just been cut and fresh dirt cleared for the cars to park. The sun is shinning through the tree tops, and there's a smell of honey suckle in the air.
Everyone begins to gather under the shaded pavilion, bringing in covered dishes for lunch on the grounds and then taking a seat on the old church pews. There's a nice breeze in the air and the birds singing in the trees are our only instruments. Songs began  to be sung out of the old worn hymnals and Jenna Smith Bearden sang one of my favorite songs, "Sweet Beulah Land."
A yearly report of business was given by Johnnie Harold Smith. This year he read the names from the business book page dated back in 1964. I heard him say my grandfathers name, Louie Thomas, and one of my grandmothers brothers, Aubrey Smith. The donations may have seemed small but back then a single dollar was worked hard for money was tight. I bet my Granny sold a basket of fresh hen eggs to make that two dollars, but I know that the money was given in love just like the collection made here this day.

The message was given by Brother Burt Brown on what happens after the grave. As he spoke, I looked past the people to where those that have gone on were buried.  I can picture the scene of everyone of those graves one day. Everyone will rise out of the grave and those that are still alive will follow. What a wonderful gathering that will be. I 'm ready, the people sitting around me are ready, and those bodies that are buried in this sweet little cemetery in the middle of no where are waiting.
  Van Smith brought John H Smith's, his Great Grandfathers, one cylinder Witte that had once pulled his gristmill and syrup mill. John passed away 11/20/56 and Van restored it in honor of his great grandfather.
 Van reminded many of us of the memory's we had of our grandparents long ago and hopefully the gatherings here by generations to come, will have them think back on that day they witnessed a real old gristmill motor that was still around and the sound it made as it sputtered and popped.  This gathering at the Trevillion Cemetery in the woods will live on through the generations we leave behind and one day they will share Mayday with their children and walk beyond the graves of long ago and those that will follow.

  A special thank you to my dear sweet cousin James and his wife Ruthie for the hospitality and love they shared with me and my friend, Patsy, while staying in their Country home down the road from the cemetery. And for introducing Patsy and I to new friends, James and Joyce Richardson. Our life's are blessed by the paths that God has crossed us with.
Thank you Patsy for the friendship we share, for being my traveling partner, and for coming back with me again to the middle of no where.
MayDay, May 3, 2014 in the middle of nowhere down an old Mississippi road.
by: B. Hall


  1. Van Smith made May Day extra special with Grandpa John H. Smith's single cylinder Whitte gasoline engine that once pulled his gristmill and squeezed the juice from the cane that he cooked into syrup in his syrup mill. Van invited the descendants to come down in front of the pavilion where the engine sit on his trailer and enjoy the clucking sounds it makes once again after 60 years of sitting silently by the road. Many of us recalled precious memories and made comments about those days so many years ago. How grandpa cranked the old engine and had to make a dash from his gristmill back to the engine to make an adjustment to keep it whirling the stones on his mill. I remembered one day when I was about 5 or so, him cranking the engine and forgetting to turn a knob that had a rope tied on that adjusted something concerning the mill. He proudly announced to the family back in grandma's kitchen that day that James knew how to run his gristmill. I never thought I'd ever hear that beautiful sound again from that particular engine.
    After listening for awhile Van killed the engine and we all gathered around and had our picture taken with that precious old antique.

  2. Thanks for your kind words about Ruthie and me. We are so proud that you and Patsy came to visit us and the Richardson's was telling us how much they enjoyed your visit as well. Because of that and Van's engine made it great. I wish we had mentioned Grandma Smith's washing machine engine as well and I'm sure you would have if I had filmed it, but that's okay. This was the best Mayday I've ever had.
    I have read that more than once. You are a great writer and those pictures look like they were snapped by a professional. I am so proud to have you for one of my cousins.
    Great writing, we are blessed to have you attending Mayday.

  3. AnonymousWednesday, May 07, 2014
    Renee Cook 8:17am May 7
    Beautiful story, Betty, and stunning photographs. You should be our official photographer!!! We need more close ups, like you have, of the people there.

  4. Kimberly Austin Masters 9:40am May 7


  5. Kay Smith Cummins 10:10am May 7
    Loved reading this!!

  6. Jeri Ann Smith 10:23pm May 7

    Enjoyed article and photos very much!

  7. Ann Hogue Smith 10:51pm May 7

    Nice article .

  8. That one of Jeanna (and her granddaughter?) is just perfect. Looks like she is teaching the little one to pray.

    1. That was my favorite also that weekend. Thanks for commenting.