(The Youlis Calhoun and Nellie Gray Haynie family; Macklin Driggers, Mary Ann Keen, Willie T Haynie, Diouscie Mae Long)
It is an understatement to say that this lady has been a pillar of integrity throughout my life – solid as a rock. Always a welcoming sight; always consistently warm whether sitting on her porch or just inside her little kitchen.
You see, my Aunt has lived in the same home along Ga highway-29 (between Dainelsville and Royston) for more than 75 years. Topping that is the fact that she was born and raised a just few hundred yards across the road.
James, Sue, Diouscie Mae, Alvin Long
The same home and porch where she remained as her father/mother/brother and sisters moved to the ‘greener pastures’ of Florida in the early 40’s. Single-handedly she raised three outstanding children, Alvin, James and Sue.
Those children have been role-models to many others than I, and have lived spreading the support and values that Diouscie Mae influenced upon each.
Along that highway is where Diouscie Mae always welcomed her brother‘s family on summer and fall visits; and where she continued to welcome any family as they passed throughout her ninety-five years.
I recall the home of the fifties, the dwelling with no plumbing; water was ‘fetched’ from a hand-dug well just outside. One Mothers day gift back then; her children provided that home with plumbing – her first.
On the trip above I hid in the rafters above her well as the adults visited inside (we were always told NOT to play around the hand-dug well) – joking, my sister Janis ran inside and exclaimed to everyone that “Tommy fell into the well!” When they all scampered out of the house and peered down into the well; I laughed from above. No I didn’t get ‘blistered,’ maybe they were just too relieved that rescue wasn’t necessary.
As I drove tractor trailer out of Florida in the early 70’s, I continued to drop-in on Diouscie Mae. No matter how unannounced there was always a warm smile and family conversation awaiting. On departure however long or short the visit – there was always a warm hug and a gift of gesture (water/food/or something simple but truly wrapped with love) when parting ways. This woman genuinely cared.
Diouscie Mae (Haynie) Long
Over the years my-highway continued to pass this home; in the last number of years since being retired – I have visited Diouscie Mae every other Wednesday. She and I would first sit as we always had, and chat about family and events. We would then take a ride over to Jeb’s BBQ (a family favorite) for a simple lunch or large bowl of Brunswick stew – Diouscie Mae insisted on paying every other visit – and when she insisted on something – that’s the way it went.
After lunch we would take an hour to ride some of Madison County’s old dirt-roads – ‘ramblin’ she would call it. While many of those red-clay roads are now paved in asphalt. As we rode Diouscie Mae would discuss our family’s heritage – and the changes along the way. Diouscie Mae was always positive; her mind was always clear.
I’m not simply being nice when I say that Diouscie Mae never spoke ill of people, she just didn’t. She had an opinion but was not opinionated.. and she never felt comfortable with folks wanting to help her
Never wanting to ‘put-any-body out,’ she wanted to be the one that helped.. It was that 95 year old spirit that propelled her golf-cart and lawn mower around the yard – she understood that with failing vision the job wasn’t as pretty as it once was. Diouscie Mae would just laugh about it remaining fiercely independent until her last days.
On my last visit, with her mind and body rapidly failing her we chatted – as we always had. Diouscie Mae clearly understood her condition yet held greater concern with those around. When she sensed that it was time for me to leave that day, Diouscie Mae mustered all of her remaining strength to stand in respect; just as she had done for so many years and visits before. One last farewell hug – I was speechless.
This woman earned genuine respect and absolute regard throughout her entire life-span.
As I drove away, words and clear thoughts slowly returned; It’s folks like Diouscie Mae Long that make a person want to do a little bit better in life simply for the opportunity to be within their company once again – life thereafter.
“We’ll be lookin for you Diouscie Mae” – love you.