She’s a little old fashioned
That sweet mother of mine
My Mama quotes this old gospel hymn often when reminiscing about her Mom, who we affectionately called Granny. Now, Mama Rose carries on the legacy of “Granny” to our children, and her first great-grandchild, Rosemary Jane Myrick.
The Holifield women of Soso, Mississippi (Jones County) are undeniably among the legendary warrior princess women of our modern times. Rosemary Holifield grew up on a little plot of farmland that her daddy, momma, and siblings worked until they were grown enough to move out on their own, or married. She married Lonnie (our dad) at 16 yrs of age, and began her whirlwind life of marriage, ministry, and music that would fill the pages of our family Story. The story continues to this day. She is now married to Bob Garst and lives just up the road from us. We cherish every moment we get to spend with her and she continually gives, serves, and leads our family in ways that offer Hope and Peace, no matter what this crazy life throws our way. To this day, her favorite hobbies include cooking for her family — some of the most amazing dishes you’ll ever taste — and singing classic gospel hymns and songs that we grew up with during our family gospel band years as the “Rosetones”. What a legacy!
Sarah Jolene Roles Dinwiddie grew up near the coal-mining hills of West Virginia, in a little place called Bill Holler. I’ve been there once to visit the Roles Family Reunion and yes, it’s as Appalachian as you might imagine. Oh the stories! “Jo” married Gene and they raised their girls in Richmond and Williamsburg Virginia. When the family relocated to Pascagoula MS, their baby girl caught my eye in church one Sunday. And, the rest, as they say, is history. Jo Dinwiddie was the ultimate homemaker, wife, mom, and “Nana” to her grandchildren. She loved being a wife and Mom, kept up with all the neighborhood scoop, knew everybody’s family tree it seemed, and was beloved by hundreds of children who grew up in Nursery and Childrens Ministry at Arlington Baptist Church in Pascagoula. Her life and love influenced generations of families. She was and is our beloved “Sweet Nana”.
Sheryl and I enjoy laughing and crying when we recall the fun memories with Jo and Gene. They were the heart and soul of our lives for more than 35 years of our marriage and left indelible marks on us and our children. They are awaiting us in Heaven, and what a Glad Reunion Day THAT will be!
By God’s Grace, we continue to enjoy meals, family gatherings, and occasional community outings and special events with Granny Rose. We gush with joy as Granny gets “sugar” from behind baby Rosemary Jane’s soft pink little ears.
Looking back in time, I am amazed by the heroism and fortitude of these mighty women in our family. Rose and Jo grew up during America’s “golden age” of rock and roll music, sock hops, classic films, and … during America’s most turbulent modern history of civil rights activism, riots, and racial divisions of the 1960s and 70s in the Bible Belt South.
Our moms knew how to stretch a dollar to the last penny. They could heal any wound with a quick home remedy and a smooch on the boo-boo. They could listen to our childhood fantasies, teenage rants, and coming-of-age questions into the wee hours of the night.
They loved their husbands well, despite the ever-changing roles that women were expected to fulfill in the home, in the church, at the school house, in the community … and, they seemed to never complain nor grow weary. But, we knew then, and we know now, they were exhausted. But, would never let their weariness defeat their mission — to LOVE their families and to defend their honor.
They loved and cared for their children and their grandchildren, modeling a Christlikeness that caused all of us to want to be more loving, kind, and generous … especially to those who we knew were less fortunate or faced extreme challenges. They prayed for us, and over us in the night.
They cooked our favorite meals. They bailed us out of last-minute homework assignments and science projects when we frantically called upon them for help. They repaired our broken toys. They made sure that our clothes were clean and fresh every day. They washed behind our ears, and all the other “behinds”.
And most of all … they LIVED for LOVE. Our moms are our HEROES. We will never, ever forget the price they have paid for our wellness, for our joy, and for the Legacy of Goodness that we now enjoy. And, by God’s grace … we will carry their legacy through our children and grandchildren too.
LOVE YOU ROSE … LOVE YOU JO … HAPPY MOTHERS DAY!