Summer 2002

Our Community Remembers
. . .sentiments from the heart

The staff of Waller Funeral Home invite the people of the Oxford, Lafayette County University, and surrounding communities to a commemorative memorial service on September 11, 2002, 7 p.m., as we remember the thousands who lost their lives on September 11, 2001. Included in the program will be a special tribute to our local law, fire, and emergency rescue personnel; music by Blue Ten Harmony and by a community choir; a video presentation; and a candlelight service.

North Oxford Baptist Church has graciously offered the use of their sanctuary and is assisting in coordinating and planning for this special interdenominational event.


Together Don and I have made a small wildflower spot in our backyard. Don brought up pieces of sandrock which had collected in a pile over the years to form a wall for the plot and filled it with topsoil.

For years I have especially enjoyed wildflowers. During the years I campaigned, I very often saw flaming bright orange flowers on the roadsides. I came to watch for this brightening touch to long days of riding. Then I saw some of these beautiful flowers on a road leading to one of Don’s fields, and I began another type of campaign—one to get that clump of beauty moved to our yard. Don insisted that plants have their own soil pH factor, that they will not live just anywhere. Without further discussion with him, one day when I had someone helping me in the yard, we went and dug up the plant very carefully, brought it to the yard, and set it out. The next year and every year since I have had a beautiful display of what I have learned is butterfly weed or orange milkweed. (Daughter-in-law Linda calls it chigger weed and I have, mistakenly I have been told, called it Indian paint brush.) Later I added spiderwort from the roadside near Ho Goodwin’s and plants from the very old Ragland cemetery south of Delay. I much prefer to have flowers from places I know; however, this year I ordered a package of wildflower seed for our new area. The black-eyed susans (I had five varieties) were most prolific!

Recently as I was gathering some black-eyed susans, I spied one low to the ground looking especially fresh and pretty. To get the longest stem possible, I began tracing the flower back to its source and found that it wound up, down, and all around other plant bafflers to reach an opening to press through for space to expose its lovely bloom. As I looked at the blossom, I hesitated to cut it since it had survived its struggle. On second thought it seemed it deserved to be part of a bouquet.

As I continued cutting other flowers, I began thinking how like these flowers some people are. They go through curves in life, meet resistance and start in another direction, never giving up on succeeding in reaching the place they need to be in order to accomplish what they feel is their intended purpose. Once they are there, they seem to bloom more beautifully than others who had no obstacles. Their countenance is bright and clear with no evidence of the trials which they overcame. They remained strong in their quest to become all they could be. That others gave up, ceased to try, withered along the way, served only to make them stronger and more determined to overcome all obstacles.

I was reminded of reading in Streams in the Desert of some beautiful pink flowers that grow and bloom on only rock where you can see no soil.

I feel I have known some "rock flower" people who grew and carried their burdens in hard places. I hesitate to mention names, but in the margin of my favorite devotional book by a selection based on Psalm 60:3, "Thou hast shewed Thy people hard times," I, many years ago, wrote two names of ladies comparable to the determined flower—the late Mrs. Flossie Lancaster Palmertree and the late Mrs. Verna McElreath. Each of these in their own quiet, unassuming way made deep, lasting impressions on my life. Also I think of my father, the late Jesse Hardin. My mother shared many of the difficult times in Daddy’s life; however, her life was cut short and she was not here during those last eight years of his life which were some of the saddest, most difficult.

Adversity does indeed seem to build strength. We have many examples in history and in the world today of people who have come from the humblest beginnings, struggled through terrible hardships, yet emerged as Presidents of our country, great scientist and inventors, wonderful spiritual leaders, or achieved other pinnacles of success for themselves and made valuable contributions to society. Circumstances of war and of national disaster such as destruction of the World Trade Center have brought forth brave, unselfish efforts by men and women meeting the challenges of the moment.

All of us, like all wildflowers, struggle with adversity. What we become in spite of the struggle—and maybe because of the struggle—is the measure of our success.



Realizing the impact that encouraging words coming at the appropriate time can have, Mario Thomas has brought together in The Right Words at the Right Time (Atria Books, 2002), an inspiring collection of personal accounts of moments when words changed their lives from more than 100 men and women. The collection begins with Mario Thomas’s relating of a special moment when her father, Danny Thomas, told her in response to her account to him of frustration in her life, "....Don’t listen to anyone comparing you to me or to anyone else. You must run your own race."

Barbara Bush tells of the advice she received from her father: "There are only three things you can give your children," he said. "One, the best education available. Two, set a good example. And three, give them all the love in the world."

Cindy Crawford describes the influence the words of her little brother, who died very young, have had on her life. From him she says she learned: "The quality and fullness of our lives is not measured in length, but in the love and examples we leave those we have left behind."

Tom Brokaw, after being a high achiever in every way in high school, took a precipitous slide as a college student. Still, he was shocked when the chairman of his major, political science, at the University of South Dakota, said to him "I think you should drop out." And so he did. Working at a succession of menial jobs in radio and television, he learned that surviving in the real world was more difficult than he had imagined. He went back to the University of South Dakota and persuaded the chairman of the political science department to let him back in school. Because he was then focused and organized, he succeeded—first in college and then in a television career. He credits the lessons learned by his earlier failure for his later successes.

Some of the others included in the collection are Muhammad Au, Cal Ripkin Jr., Steven Spielberg, Toni
Morrison, Jack Nicholson, Rudy Giuliani, Laura Bush, Jimmy Carter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Katie Couric. 

Mario Thomas and her co-authoring Friends have contributed their stories and all royalties from the book to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, founded by Danny Thomas in 1962.


When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
When the road you’re trudging seems all uphill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,

When care is pressing you down a bit, 
Rest! if you must—but never quit.

Life is queer with its twists and turns,
As every one of us sometimes learns,
And many a failure turns about 
When he might have won if he’d stuck it out;
Stick to your task, though the pace seems slow— 
You may succeed with one more blow.


Success is failure turned inside out— 
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt—
And you never can tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems afar; 
So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit— 
It’s when things seem worst that 

—Author Unknown


The Paradoxical Commandments were written by Kent Keith as a student at Harvard in the 1960s. Since that time, they have been quoted, circulated, and appropriated by countless people—politicians and academics, civic and religious leaders, businesspeople, students, and nonprofit organizations. They have been taped to computer monitors, refrigerator doors, and to the walls of Mother Teresa’s children’s home in Calcutta. In 2001, Keith published Anyway: The Paradoxical Commandments (G. P. Putnam’s Sons), which includes the explanations and personal experiences behind the philosophy of the commandments.

People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered.
Love them anyway.
If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
Do good anyway.
If you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies.
Succeed anyway.
The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.
Do good anyway. 
Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.
Be honest and frank anyway.
The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds.
Think big anyway.
People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs.
Fight for a few underdogs anyway. 
What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight. 
Build anyway.
People really need help but may attack you if you do help them.
Help people anyway.
Give the world the best you have and you’ll get kicked in the teeth.
Give the world the best you have anyway.


The following excerpts are from Lifetimes: The Beautiful Way to Explain Death to Children, by Bryan Mellonie and Robert Ingpen, (Bantam Books, 1983). Although the book, wonderful in its entirety, was intended for children, it explains life and death in such a sensitive, caring, and beautiful way, we think it will be appreciated by adults as well. We have the book at the Funeral Home; you can borrow it.

There is a beginning 
and an ending for everything 
that is alive.
In between is living.

Nothing that is alive 
goes on living forever. 
How long it lives depends upon 
what it is and what happens 
while it is living. 
Sometimes, living things become ill
or they get hurt. 
Mostly, of course, they get better again
but there are times when 
they are so badly hurt
or they are so ill that they die because
they can no longer stay alive. 
This can happen when they are young, 
or old, or anywhere in between. 
It may be sad, but it is the way 
of all things, and it is true 
for everything that is alive.

So, no matter how long they are, 
Or how short, lifetimes are 
really all the same.
They have beginnings, and 
and there is living in between. 
That is how things are. 
For plants. 
For people. 
For birds. 
For fish. 
For animals.
Even for the tiniest insects. 


Bob Rosson was recently named Mississippi Funeral Director of the Year by the Mississippi Funeral Directors Association. He received the honor from his peers in the industry who responded to a poll sent to members of MFDA. Selection is based on community and national involvement as well as dedication to funeral service.

Bob has just completed serving as president of the Mississippi Funeral Directors Association. According to Ann Neal, Executive Director of the Mississippi Funeral Directors Association, in Jackson, Bob, as Association president, was applauded for his efforts to set goals, develop a plan to reach those goals, and work hard to ensure those goals were achieved.

"I believe that Bob is successful because he is both passionate and compassionate about what he does," Ms. Neal said. "When he sets his mind and his heart on a goal, it will be reached.

"He is passionate about his calling and has set high standards for himself and the people who represent Waller Funeral Home. His heart is truly touched by the pain of the people he serves. But I have never once heard him gripe or complain about the holidays that are interrupted, the sleepless nights spent in service or filling any unusual request made by a family to honor their dead."

Ms. Neal reported that Bob also earned high marks during his term as MFDA president for being a strong consumer advocate in Mississippi and Washington, D.C., where he actively lobbied on issues related to business and consumers.

Congratulations, Bob! We are proud of you!


Have you noticed the dirt work being done west of the Funeral Home? We are adding 50 additional parking spaces for the safety and convenience of visitors to the Funeral Home.

As part of our Pursuit of Excellence Program and as a community service, Waller Funeral Home has recently presented the following books to the Lafayette County-Oxford Library:

Final Gifts, by Maggie Callanan and Patricia Kelley
Grandpa’s Berries, by Julie Dickerson
Straight Talk about Death for Teenagers, by Earl A. Groliman
Empty Cradle, Broken Heart, by Deborah L. Davis
Motherless Daughters, by Hope Edelman

Congratulations! to Leslie and Rocky Kennedy on the birth of a baby girl—Brennice Isabella Kennedy—on August 21. We are happy to have this precious new life in our Funeral Home family!

Correction, Apology, and Thanks:

Our apology to Mr. Lee Pitts, author of "Dirt Roads," included in our Spring Newsletter and attributed to Paul Harvey. We were informed by Mr. Jim Davidson, a motivational speaker and syndicated columnist of Conway, Arkansas, that "Dirt Roads" was included in the book People Who Live at the End of DIRT ROADS, by Mr. Pitts, which includes a quote by Paul Harvey on the back cover. Paul Harvey quoted the piece on his national program, giving due credit to Mr. Pitts, and more than once he has been erroneously given credit as author.

Mr. Pitts is executive editor for Livestock Market Digest, a weekly newspaper serving the livestock industry. He is the author of six books and of a syndicated weekly humor column. He is recognized byline in rural newspapers and magazines throughout the West. He has spent the last two decades traveling around rural America writing stories and speaking about agricultural issues and the agrarian way of life. He makes his home in Los Osos, California.

A belated thanks to Mr. Pitts for use of his delightful "Dirt Roads." Thanks also to Mr. Davidson for setting us straight about the authorship.

The farther backward you can look, the farther forward you are likely to see.— Winston Churchill


1. Speak to people. There is nothing as nice as a cheerful word of greeting.
2. Smile at people. It takes 72 muscles to frown—only 14 to smile.
3. Call people by name. The sweetest music to anyone’s ear is the sound of his own name.
4. Be friendly and helpful. If you would have friends, be friendly.
5. Be careful. Speak and act as if everything you do is a genuine pleasure.
6. Be genuinely interested in people. You can like everybody if you try.
7. Be generous with praise—cautious with criticism.
8. Be considerate of the feelings of others. It will be appreciated.
9. Be thoughtful of the opinions of others. There are three sides to a controversy—yours, the other person’s, and the right one.
10. Be alert to give service. What counts most in life is what we do for others.

—shared at "Tapestry" training session for Presbyterian Women, January 26, 2002


We dedicate this issue of Seasons to those who died and whose families we served from May 18, 2002 through August 18, 2002.

Mr. Herman Gregory Roy —May 18, 2002
Mrs. Ruby Dowdy Coleman —May 18, 2002
Mrs. Margaret Cole Shaw— May 18, 2002
Mr. Ernest Eli Presley —May 18, 2002
Mr. Herschel Leon Lamb —May 20, 2002
Mrs. Christeen Nicholas Varner —May 20, 2002
Mrs. Ivy Louise Dunn Melton —May 25, 2002
Mrs. Marie Wilson Heard —May 25, 2002
Mrs. Florence Harris Brassfield— May 28, 2002
Mrs. Virginia Jackson Vaughn —May 30, 2002
Mr. Joe William Morrow —June 2, 2002
Mrs. Ui Kum Kim —June 2, 2002
Mr. James Eugene "Jim" Casey, Jr —June 2, 2002
Mr. David Felix "Dave" Hoffman—June 3, 2002
Mr. William Charles James —June 3, 2002
Mr. John Henry Bland —June 4, 2002
Dr. Anthony Lawrence "Larry" Kadlec —June 6, 2002
Mrs. Mary McCord Johnson —June 7, 2002
Mr. W E. "Bo" McLarty —June 8, 2002
Mrs. Jane Hopkins Collier —June 8, 2002
Mrs. Kathy Dunlap Rowland —June 9, 2002
Miss Amanda Jo Schmidt —June 13, 2002
Mr. Milton "Peanut" Morrison —June 13, 2002
Mr. William Jackson "Hoot" Roane, Sr— June 21, 2002
Mrs. Lucille Gardner Gean— June 22, 2002
Mrs. Sarah Gray Boatright —June 24, 2002
Mrs.Frankie Jean Shepherd West— June 25, 2002
Mrs. Eppie Jo Lowe Bailey —June 27, 2002
Mr. Benjamin Johnson Barbee —July 4, 2002
Mrs. Amy Jo Chandler Eubanks —July 7, 2002
Grace Alexander McArthur— July 10, 2002
Mrs. Eva Breland Nicholson —July 14, 2002
Dr. James Donald "Don" Stanfill —July 19, 2002
Mrs. Frances Johnson Jones —July 20, 2002
Mr. Dewey Douglas Lowder —July 20, 2002
Mrs. Ada Mae Stone "Tator" Gaines —July 20, 2002
Mrs. Lillian Paytes "Dollie" McElroy —July 20, 2002
Mr. Shelley W. Vantine— July 21, 2002
Mrs. Mary Belle Harmon Vines— July 22, 2002
Mr. Robert Wilson "Bob" Wells, Sr —July 24, 2002
Mrs. Carmine Stephens Hawkins —August 4, 2002
Mr. Ellis Gamble— August 5, 2002
Mr. James Schudder Wilburn, Jr —August 8, 2002
Mrs. Betty Jane Perryman Hauck —August 14, 2002
Mrs. Willie Mae "Bill" Luker Davis— August 16, 2002
Mr. Joseph Samuel Rogers —August 16, 2002
Mrs. Ruby Hitchcock Watson— August 18, 2002

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