Aunt Phyllis lived and managed the plantation until 1974 when she sold it to the present owners. Woodland is on the National Register of Historic Places in Mississippi. She still has many fond memories and story's she shares when I visit. Her mind is still as sharp as can be as well as her sense of humor. The three of us sat at the kitchen table and Aunt Phyllis had Patsy and I feel right at home. This painting of the old home place still hangs on her wall and every time I see it, I am reminded of the time my family spent the night there and those hugh beds with the feather mattress's and down covers.
Aunt Phyllis will be 99 years old this July. We continued our trip down highway 61 to my second cousin James, country house where he and his wife , Ruthie, had invited Patsy and I to stay for the Mayday celebration during the weekend. They also invited another couple from Taylor, Arkansas, James and Joyce, to join us.
Ruthie had prepared a wonderful crawfish stew for dinner and afterwards we sat in the living room talking and laughing for hours. That night you could hear the crying of the coyotes as they played in the woods and an Owl hooting in the background. The hospitality and love they shared with me and my friend, Patsy, while staying in their Country home and for introducing us both to new friends, James and Joyce, will remain in our hearts forever. Our life's are blessed by the paths that God has crossed us with. The next morning the six of us drove down the gravel roads which lead to our destination... Mayday
So 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.
in the middle of nowhere down an old Mississippi road