Tuesday, September 2, 2008

The Birthday Present

In 2004, my grandma Doris gave me $50 for my birthday. I don't remember exactly what she said, but in past events it was usually "buy a pretty" or an encouragement to go have some fun. I didn't spend it right away because I'm a saver.

My grandmother died a few months later. The $50 dollar bill sat in my nightstand for years. Over and over I'd forget about it, then find it again and vow to spend it. However, nothing seemed good enough to purchase with this last birthday money.

Fast forward to August, 2008, which was the month of my Arkansas road trip. There I visited the Shiloh-Williamson cemetery where dozens of my ancestors are buried.

Through a little research conducted by my dad, I learned that the cemetery care is in the hands of a distant cousin. She has her days and nights full, tending to an ill spouse as well.

I am not sure what will happen to Shiloh-Williamson cemetery in the future. It is not connected to a church. It is small and almost full. The city seems to be continuing on without concern.

This week, I finally spent my birthday money. I sent it to the lady who has taken on responsibility of the cemetery care along with everything else on her plate. I explained the meaning behind the donation and hoped that it would assist in the upkeep of the grounds that held our common ancestors, including my grandmother's own grandparents, great-grandparents and great-great grandparents.

So that's what I bought with my birthday money. I hope you like it, grandma.


  1. I know Mom would be proud. She never talked much about the past but the two things she brought up over and over were her Chickasaw heritage from her Mother and how fine a man her dad, Dr. Sam Williamson, was. From what I’ve read about the Chickasaw's and heard about your great grandfather Williamson, you are the best of both.

    You didn't go out and "buy a pretty" as I also remember Mom saying to you girls more than once but you made me proud and brought a tear my eye. I know she liked it. Thanks for remembering Grandma.

    I know just a few Williamson's in Russellville maintain the Shiloh-Williamson cemetery and they could use some help. Would you please provide the address so other descendents of John R. Williamson who happen upon your blog and might want to provide financial help, would know how contact the cemetery? It would make a nice Christmas gift in somebody's memory.

  2. Two and a half years after you posted this and here I am with tears streaming down my face. What an awesome way to spend your birthday money!