(L to R, Claudia Moss, Cousin Hannah Young, Sister Bernadette Stitts, Cousin Danny Young, Aunt Marion (my mother’s baby sister), Cousin Mary Ann, Sister Glenda Pearl Halcromb and two precious little friends. We came together to say good-bye to my second cousin, Tracey Forman, daughter to my first cousin, Avery Young, Mary Ann’s brother.)
I traveled to Tuskegee Institute, Alabama, on Thursday, February 24, 2011, to stand with my extended family, as we said farewell to my second cousin, my baby cousin, Tracey Forman. She was the only daughter, the only child, of my first cousin, Avery Young. Yes, when the clarion call goes out, whether for the Youngs or the Mosses, we go. Tracey was a Young on her father’s side. My beloved mother Clementine Young Moss was her father’s aunt, the sister to Avery’s dear mother and Tracey’s grandmother, Lee Young.
At Tracey’s Home-going ceremony, I learned how very much she was loved and revered by the people with whom she worked and served beside in the U.S. Army. The sweet testimonies told of how she loved all with whom she came into contact, making them laugh one minute and making sure they were held accountable on the job the next. Sitting there, staring at her silent form, I had to smile, the stories making me nod and beam with pride and pleasure. I thought of her father sitting at the front of the church, near her open casket, where she was beautifully and ceremoniously dressed in her military uniform. Her father is incredibly hilarious, too, the funniest, wittiest remarks slipping easily from his lips.
Tracey’s smile could brighten the dullest room, like her baby girl, who stood between the cars at the home where the families gathered after her mother’s service. I don’t know where her other three siblings were in the throngs of people, but they were absolutely gorgeous sitting side by side at the funeral, trying to be strong while the Davises flanked them, their grandmother’s, Ethel Davis’, family. Ethel and Avery were childhood lovers who parted ways as the years created a string of memories.
When the Home-going came to a somber end, everyone filed out of the sanctuary and crossed a foyer to enter the dining hall, where members of the church had prepared a savory meal for the repast. I could barely eat for meeting Tracey’s other family and friends, so I popped out of line to snap pictures and chat. Perhaps I should have been a politician. Everybody received a hug and a hello. Swept up in the revelry of living, I captured over 300 pictures, most of which I will post on Facebook (so if you are reading this, please know that The Golden Goddess is Claudia Moss on Facebook, and you are invited to join me there, also!).
On this Home-coming trip, I spent time at Tracey’s father’s home in rural Roba, Alabama, a tiny patch of the world on the outskirts of Tuskegee. What a blessing that was! Avery, whose nickname is Muff, is an immaculate host, along with his beautiful wife, Renee. My sister Bernadette, whom we affectionately call “Chicken,” because she was characteristically prone to fly into a rage and fight like a chicken with its head chopped, hopping and leaping and scratching up one side of her opponent and then another, spent the night with me! (Mind you, I used to be her opponent on numerous occasions in our childhood.) Avery’s only sister, Mary Ann Young, and our little cousins, Hannah and Danny, were there as well. They are two of our cousins Brian and Shakira Young’s brood. There are two more boys, William and Jeremiah. Then again…I may be missing a chap! Something is telling me there are five of them, but at this writing it is 3:01 AM, and I dare not wake anyone with a question of that sort.
All of my siblings from my mother, Clementine Young Moss, were present to say good-bye to little Tracey, although four did not enjoy the delightful sleepover at Avery’s home, which was much like a rustic retreat, complete with five horses and rolling stretches of land and a lake! My oldest sister Diane lives in Montgomery, Alabama, so she drove home after sharing an evening meal with us, saying she had to work, unlike some of us. (giggles) My twin brother Claude (Bubba) lives in Tuskegee, and off he went as well. Glenda Pearl and baby sis Athera, who travelled up from Margate, Florida, with Mary Ann, spent the night at my father’s home in Little Texas, a tiny postage stamp of a rural area outside of Tuskegee, on the opposite end from where I was.
In the event you are wondering, I am Tootsie, the other twin to Claude. My father named my twin and me. He loved his great-grandmother’s name, Claudie, but he considered it too out-dated for his second daughter. Thus, he crowned me with the name, Claudia, a classic nombre in any circle! And my twin brother’s name came fairly easy, as my father’s name is Claude.
When a light goes out in my family, I am reminded to live my BEST LIFE right now! And the gift of our lives is GOLDEN when we remember that we are divine creations having a human experience.
In closing, I invite you to “go home” if you haven’t visited the homefolks in a while. You know it is all too “facil,” as the Spanish can say, to stay away, for one reason or another. Just go home and sit on the porch, prepare the evening meal, listen to the old stories, bring the little ones and savor precious moments with those whose blood whispers the same melodies as yours.
February 28, 2011