My Uncle George passed away so I traveled back to my parents hometown of Laurel, Mississippi. Uncle George was a month from turning 93 years old. He was an amazing man of God that blessed all he came in contact with. All the men on my dad's side are big men.... most 6'4" so they make a presence in a room. Uncle George was a Mississippi Highway for 26 years and he loved these guys. He was the oldest retired Mississippi Highway Patrolman at his death. They had honor guards at his wake to guard his body, which changed out every 30 minutes. That was so amazing and touching. At the graveside they stood in formation and gave him a 21 gun salute. Uncle George was known for giving everyone $2 bills with Matthew 5:13 on them. He was a people person so he would hand them to people and say, "That $2 isn't much, but that verse written on there is worth more than you could ever imagine." Without bringing up another thing about God unless they asked, he'd talk about other stuff leaving the person feeling cared for and a lasting impression. It was his unique way of witnessing to others.
My cousin, aunt, stepmother, and me at the funeral.
I went by to see where Mama grew up. Her dad built this little log home, which was later added onto. It is about to fall apart now, but you can see the original log structure below. It had a porch and long section coming off where the unpainted wood is and also another section matching the green part to the right of the porch section. All of that has been torn down.
The church was right at the entrance to their road. Mama became the pianist at the age of 9 and continued until she and my dad moved to Jackson. She was also the church secretary. Dad joined when they married and was the chairman of the deacons.
In talking to my uncle I found out that my great grandfather settled in Collins, MS. His son, my grandfather's brother bought hundreds of acres in Laurel for $.50 an acre. He wanted his dad to come live on the land near him so my great grandfather did. He later sold his son, my grandfather, 42 acres for $1 an acre. My grandfather couldn't pay the whole $42, so my uncle remembers having to walk $3 over to make payments. So, my dad and his five brothers and sisters each received 6 acres of that 42 acres, with my grandmother having the other 6 acres. We had family all around that 42 acres belonging to dad's uncle and other uncles and aunts. The cemetery is filled with Harpers from way back.
My great grandfather (above) and my great great grandfather (below)