AfriGeneas Writers Forum
Cousin Jessie's Funeral
In Response To: "Cousin Jessie Mae" ()
Samuel and Roseanne’s 1925 December baby girl was laid to rest in Caseyville, rural Lincoln County, MS.
You don’t get to Caseyville by following the direction of dwindling mileage interstate road signs. You get there by following cousins’ directions. If you are very attentive, you know you are there when you get there. Just in case you miss there, miss the street sign that reads Caseyville, you stop and ask somebody. They will look at you with knowing eyes that you were not raised in Caseyville because if you were, you would have known where there is. The place there is the Caseyville Store, the heart of Caseyville, the place to buy bread and milk, the meeting place, the sitting place to exchange information and gossip. If you are looking for somebody’s house, a church, a cemetery, a field; there is the point where cousins’ directions begin, again.
After you pass the store, you turn at the next right which is Caseyville Road. The road is quite and serene, plenty of green and trees, no BP gas stations, no KFCs. Abandon homes, mobile and fixed, dot the landscape. This road takes me to Galilee AME Church, where Cousin Jessie Mae’s funeral was held, where the ancestors prayed and worshipped, thanked God for freedom, where they now sleep.
The funeral car arrived with the last surviving sibling, the sister’s only child and two cousins. I walk, into the church, behind them. This is Jessie Mae’s family.
Jessie Mae never married, did not have children, making and maintaining friendships was difficult. Living to be eighty can be lonely. Most of the folks who loved her, loved unconditionally, have made their transitions. The few remaining cousins and childhood friends have bodies and minds which remind them that this journey is coming to a close. Attending a funeral was too much for them and theirs.
The choir made up of six senior ladies from the Mount Zion AME Church sung familiar hymns, "Precious Lord" and "Near the Cross." The Rev. Dr. Maelynn Robinson reminded us to "Run the Christian Race".
Cousin Jessie Mae looked peaceful in her new white suit. She could not lay next to her parents, no space. She will rest beside a first cousin.