Yesterday I attended one of the first funerals for those lost in the Smithville, Mississippi tornado. I would guess there were 500 people who came through the funeral home to pay their respects to the memory of Roy Lee “Peanut” Estis, and his wife, Ruth.
The funeral was held in the funeral home chapel in Amory, Mississippi. The procession to the cemetery took about 20 minutes, where the burial was held at Young Cemetery, in the heart of Smithville, Mississippi. Smithville is about 8 miles from Amory. All along the route, people were paying their respects. As we entered the tornado damaged town, people lined the road saluting and crying. Firemen, policemen, National Guard, and relief workers all lined the way to the cemetery.
The burials took place at Young Cemetery. That’s a picture of the cemetery above. I took that picture a few hours after the tornado came through.
As we stood there for the graveside service, I couldn’t help but think about where we were at. The location where Mr. and Mrs. Estis was laid to rest was about as close to the center of the tornado path as you could get. And it was about 100 yards from their home. With all the people gathered round the gravesite, it was a great picture of human endurance, hope, and faith. Even as their loved ones were laid to rest, they had the hope and faith to continue on.
The Commercial Appeal, a newspaper in Memphis, Tennessee, has an article online with a picture of one of the Estis’ daughters at the site of their home. The photo digs deep into my heart. Please remember Kellie, her sister Shellie, and their brothers in your prayers, as they continue to move forward, in faith.