KOSCIUSKO, MS (WLBT) - Sometimes, being Mississippi Strong simply means seeing something that needs to be done, and deciding to be the “someone” to do it.
Betty Ferguson in Kosciusko has been doing around the area for years, cleaning grave markers. It’s something she does in respect for the people buried there and for people who visit the graves.
“There is something about our culture that we are losing. And to me right out here is culture,” said Betty. “These people helped build what we’ve got. And we should respect them enough to at least take care of their tombstones.”
Betty Ferguson of Kosciusko came by her love of and respect for cemeteries through her mother.
“My mother loved cemeteries and I’ve gotta say it started back really with her,” said Betty. “The first tombstone I ever cleaned up was my Granddaddy’s. And that was YEARS ago. I was a teenager when I did that one.”
Betty says she started volunteering to clean headstones on her own after she visited this cemetery a few years ago.
“There were lichens all over the tombstones and what really set me off was there were some of the soldiers and their white tombstones were not white,” added Betty.
Betty takes time to visit with herself out here and with the people whose headstones she’s cleaning, apologizing again, for instance, to Mr. Massey for blowing up his mailbox with a cherry bomb decades ago. It was her cousin’s idea, anyway.
“And you know it’s something about the quietness out here and I’m a noisy person,” said Betty. “For once I am kind of quite, you know.”
Now and again Jimmy Earl Hull with the City of Kosciusko joins his former teacher in cleaning the graves. Betty says she wonders why more younger people don’t get involved in doing things. Maybe they will when they get older.
“Naw, I decided that I needed to use these hands for something good,” added Betty. “You know, God’s hands created the earth and fed 5000 and I think about it. I looked at my hands and they were not doing very much.”
Well, they are doing something now. Taking on the job of showing respect for those who went before us, and planting some seed for those coming after us to get busy finding something THEY can do to make a difference.
If you would like to nominate someone living Mississippi Strong, send Walt an email.