When MFH (My Favorite Husband) and I first moved to Mississippi from Colorado back in 2009, we had a lot of learning to do. Culturally, Mississippi was a big change in lifestyle to what we were accustomed.
Bear in mind, it wasn’t a bad change! It was just a completely different way of life. Mississippi is much more relaxed and laid back. People aren’t always rushing around at a zillion miles an hour and permanently stuck in traffic around Denver and the front range. People aren’t so intense and “in your face” like they are in Colorado.
At first, this very relaxed way of life about drove us crazy. Don’t people know we needed to be somewhere!?!
Finally we clued in that you don’t have to be in such a hurry and we embraced the lifestyle of Mississippi. We learned to enjoy not having to rush everywhere we went. We learned that it’s okay to mosey! Our blood pressure went down and we learned for the first time in years how to relax.
It’s been wonderful!
Now, how to say this without being rude and/or offensive? Where we lived in Colorado there weren’t very many African Americans. There just weren’t, so the small town to which we moved, for the first time in our lives our whiteness was very white. The majority population in our town is African American and for the first time in our lives, we were the minority. Again~that’s not a bad thing (for lack of a better way to put it)? But….
I felt like a fish out of water. I was really enjoying getting to know my neighbors and lifting at the “Y” but I was also terrified of sticking my foot in my mouth and saying something “wrong.”
Does any of this make sense?
The reason I’m telling you this, things I would usually keep to myself, is that I met a very nice man at the “Y.” He was a lifting buddy. He was ill with a pulmonary problem and a retired minister who just happened to be African American.
Bless that man! He took this very white woman from Colorado as his personal project. He was AWESOME and I miss him a great deal. He passed about a year after I stopped lifting at the “Y” to focus more on my running.
During the couple of years at the “Y” he taught me to just be me. He taught me not to worry about sticking my foot in my mouth because everybody does it. He taught me that we focus too much on the color of somebody’s skin instead of getting to know the person inside. He taught me to quit worrying. He taught me confidence.
He taught me about my haunted cemetery.
I mentioned that my lifting buddy was a retired minister, right? This is important because, well you know how when you’re chatting that the subject of where you live comes up?
I had explained I lived in the country, blah, blah, blah and the general area.
He exclaimed that he had pastored a church in that area and told me exactly where the church had been located.
Holy Cow!!! That was about a half mile from my house!!! But I didn’t recall seeing any church?
I said as much to him and that’s when he said it had been burnt down. He said it was one of the last of the MB (Missionary Baptist) Churches in my county to have been burned by the Klan during the Civil Rights era. (KKK and all the other little pet names they have for themselves? Not. A. Fan.)
That made my heart hurt for him!
What a sad and ugly thing to have happen to you, your livelihood and your friends/congregation!!! Yet, he had been so kind and generous to me in “teaching me the ropes” so to speak when such a horrible thing had happened to him.
He began to tell me the story of the church and how long he had been a pastor there. He told me stories of his amazing congregation and what great people they were.
He had happy memories of his time there.
Up until that time, I never knew there had been a church at that spot. It was never mowed. It just looked like a lot full of weeds. Very. Tall. Weeds.
Then one day, somebody mowed the weeds. That’s when I discovered there was a cemetery there! He’d never mentioned that. Then again, I can’t imagine why he would?
Soon afterwards, there was a new mound of dirt in that little cemetery and I began to notice a pattern. They’d let the weeds grow up again and maybe a year or so later, somebody would mow the weeds and a few days later a new mound of dirt would appear.
During my dark o’clock runs a few summers back, around 2:30-3:00am as I would be running past this cemetery, I would hear voices coming from there.
I never saw any lights.
I never saw any people.
I still saw lots of high weeds and I still heard the voices.
Totally. Not. Cool.
Totally. Very. Creepy.
This has been happening for 3 years now and it totally gives me the heebie jeebies so I kid with myself and tell myself the place is haunted and run by REALLY fast. I guess it’s a little speed-work on a dark o’clock long run?
The week before Christmas this past December, I noticed somebody had mowed down the weeds. I knew soon there would be a fresh mound of dirt in there. A day later, there it was. I felt sad for the family because that’s a tough time of year to lose a family member.
All this time, having know the history of that lot, having heard the voices coming from inside the lot, I’d never set foot on the property. That changed today. I decided to pay my respects to the people my friend had been minister to and see if I could find where the church building had stood.
I couldn’t find the foundation of the building but I did take a few pics of the very small cemetery. Most headstones were from the 1800’s and some from the early 1900’s. Some were for children who had passed in infancy. Some were elderly. There were a few Civil War era head stones. Some were leaning over from being there a very long time.
Much respect to these dear souls who probably endured a lot during their lives in Mississippi during the era in which they lived.