In the presence of a miracle
Posted: Tuesday, August 11, 2009 4:46 pm
Austin was born July 22, 1906 in West, Miss. She currently resides in Moss Point, Miss. and traveled to Martin for the festivities. Austin was greeted by 70 of her family members and her best friend 97-year-old Bobbie Collins of West, Miss.
On Saturday morning, the entire family went to the Parham Cemetery, where they visited the gravesite of her son, Jerry C. Williams, Sr. A circle was made around the site and prayers were offered. Red and white balloons were released after prayer.
That afternoon, a banquet was held in her honor at McCabe United Methodist Church. Austin received greetings from the White House and sentiments from President Barack Obama. She was also presented a proclamation from Martin Mayor Randy Brundige.
The proclamation notes the “City of Martin is proud to recognize and welcome Mrs. Rosie Lee Williams Austin to our city and she has made important sacrifices and contributions to her two children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, great-great grandchildren, nieces and nephews and she has been and continues to be a Christian, mother, aunt, grandmother and a valuable link to the Williams family,
“She has provided an excellent example of being a woman of substance for future generations through her loyalty and dedication to her family and she has taught us the timeless lessons of courage, sacrifice, and love. She has labored many years and deserves the dignity, respect and honor due her,” the proclamation stated.
Austin was also presented a crown, and a dozen red roses by her two surviving nieces, Charlie Mae Williams Joiner of Jackson, Miss. and Florestine Williams of West, Miss.
Her great granddaughter, MSgt. Tashal Williams of Fredericksburg, VA welcomed the group and prayed. Rosie Lee was serenaded with a classy rendition of Stevie Wonder’s “Isn’t She Lovely … Na is 103” rearranged by great grandchildren, Patrice and Sylvester Boyd.
After the banquet, the family celebrated in a more relaxed and festive atmosphere. The laughter, music, dancing, smiles, family tales and fun continued throughout the evening and led us into the wee hours of Sunday morning.
“A family that prays together, stays together,” so the celebration continued with worship service at McCabe United Methodist Church where her granddaughter, Rosemary Chestang, a musician for 40 years, shared her rendition of Amazing Grace and her great granddaughter, Patrice Boyd, shared her blessings through music also. Austin sang along all verses, clapped her hands and patted her feet along with the music.
After church, she spent the afternoon looking at one of the handmade quilts that she had given each of her grandchildren and great grandchildren. She saw a few loose threads and wanted needle and thread to fix it.
Although Austin is not a woman of many words, she made it a point to say as the family was driving through the city, “It sure is pretty and clean in Martin, Tennessee and I am glad to be here. Thank you all for having this for me.”
Overall, this momentous occasion served as a real testament to the definition of family. While they are stretched from Pennsylvania to Texas, Florida to California, Austin (Na) allowed everyone an opportunity to come together and celebrate a legacy that will continue to inspire our family for many years to come.