Last Saturday (November 12), the Seminole Indian Scout Cemetery Association celebrated Thanksgiving a bit early by having a potluck meal following our monthly meeting. We had turkey, stuffing, gravy, yams, greens, mashed potatoes, and many, many different kinds of cakes and pies and cookies. Before we ate, we bowed our heads to say prayer. As we did this, I couldn’t help but reflect on all that we had to be grateful for.
This year has been an illuminating and prosperous year for the Seminole Indian Scout Cemetery Association. Thanks to the participation of many Brackettville residents and several tireless volunteers, we’ve had several successful fundraisers. Our two “big” celebrations – Juneteenth and Seminole Days – continue to grow each year. Each year, we get to see old faces that we’ve grown to love, and we get to see new faces that will soon become family.
Our little museum is thriving, and we look forward to opening our doors each Saturday to welcome the public and tell our visitors a little about the history of the Black Seminoles.
I, personally, am thankful for those unsung heroes who have helped without asking for anything or who turn down our money because they just want to be of service. There is a group from Laughlin that has adopted the cemetery, and they are always on call when we need help. There are countless members of the association like Beverly and Joe Kelly who go out and clean the cemetery when they see it needs some attention to be paid to it. Thank you to Corina Torralba and her sons and her brother Lee and Lee’s better half Ana and Mary and Al Nofi for traveling great distances to come to our little meetings and fundraisers. Thank you to Bertha Benson for your calming presence and innovative ideas. Thank you to vice-president Affie Brown for being such a strong voice and trusted confidante. Thank you to treasurer Mary Vasquez-Gamble for making sure all the bills get paid.
I am grateful that we are always finding new ways to keep Miss Charles Emily Wilson’s dream alive. We, as an association, are able to come together when we need to, but we are also able to come together when we want to and have a good time filled with love, laughter, and music. We are one big extended family, as most of us are related to each other, and our little early Thanksgiving celebration reminded me of that.
We were seated at several tables that formed one long line. Everyone laughed and joked with each other as soothing music played in the background. Every so often, someone would ask, “Who made this? It is so good!” One gentleman said that the food was so “bad” that he had to go back for thirds.
The people gathered in that room are descendants of a people who were stolen from the shores of West Africa, landed on the shores of the southern US and forced into slavery, escaped into Florida, moved to Oklahoma, migrated to Mexico, and finally settled in Texas, specifically Brackettville. Here we are the children of the children of the children of these extraordinary people, gathering, sharing, laughing, talking, loving, and living. We are so grateful for and humbled by the sacrifices they made.
Happy Thanksgiving to you all from the Seminole Indian Scout Cemetery Association.
Note: This blog appeared as an article in the 11/24/2016 edition of the Kinney County Post.