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Let’s take a moment of silence for all loved ones who were lost in the 9/11 attacks. Today is Saturday, September 11, as I began writing my column. Twenty years later my heart still feels the pain.
My tribute to my godsister Glenda Ruth Riggins-Miller and her son Cedric “Darryl” Owens: When God made Glenda and Darryl, He made two of the best, and when Glenda became my godsister it was better than best. I thank God for putting her in my life, and at a young age. The Riggins and Johnsons were a very close bonus family who lived in seeing and walking distance, back in the woods.
This photo was taken at a family gathering at the home of Earlie and Beatrice Johnson some 50 years ago. Glenda is on the third row near the far right of the picture, the third one left of the tallest lady who is holding the baby. This picture was taken by the only photographer Rockford ever had, I believe, Mr. William Jefferson Prater, the grandfather of Union Square’s Mrs. Pat Windsor. Mr. Prater was so good that we didn’t need another photographer in Rockford.
Glenda’s mother, my dear godmother, Mrs. Essie Riggins is standing right behind Glenda. Her sister Betty, me and her brother, Charles, are on the front row. Charles is beside Betty and me. (Woo, look at us! Haha.) Glenda’s brother Willie Dean Riggins is on the second row to the right of the fellow with his hands folded, which is Billy Belyeu, and Lewis Hill is on the left beside him.
In those days a community was close at heart. However, still today the Riggins and Johnsons are a very close family. Glenda was my big sister. My older sisters had married and moved out before I was born. (I was an old folk baby.) So I looked up to Glenda. Betty and I were closer in age and heart, but we loved having Glenda to guide us in the right direction, because she was older than us.
Glenda was cool, modest and very smart. She was more of a homebody, not like Betty and I were. When Betty and I would visit each other we never got home on time for walking each other halfway home back and forth. She would walk me, and I would turn around and walk her. We loved walking through the woods.
Glenda stayed home, but if we took too long to get home she would call for us through the woods, “Y’all better get home.” She looked out for us at all times. I always wanted to be like her, sweet, kind, wearing her beautiful ponytail, always neat, and dressed very well. Even in her coffin (her heavenly bed) she was still beautiful.
Her son Darryl was just as handsome and sharp as he could be, laying there in his heavenly bed. Darryl was a precious kind person and always the same, no matter where you saw him. He and his mother were very close. I cried so much when I received the news. But when I saw both of them laying there so peacefully together I got a grip on myself. I said they lived on earth in peace together, and now they are in peace together forever. I can move on now, knowing that they are still together.
“The same sun that hardens the clay melts the clay.”
Our prayers will continue to be with the Miller and Owens families.
Call Ruby at 256-377-1098 to spread your good news.