PBy Dottie Dewberry
“YOU KNOW YOU ARE GETTING OLD WHEN THE CANDLES COST MORE THAN THE CAKE.”
On July 28, the family and many friends of Jim Threadgill helped him celebrate his 85th birthday at the “older-than-he-is” Springhill School building, which is across the highway from his home.
Jim, who was born James Cedric Threadgill, was number two in a family of five dairy farmer’s kids. He says it taught him to be humble. The family lived in Rienzi in Prentiss County.
Soon the parking lot (not) was filled with cars and trucks of every sort as the friends and family gathered up about 10:30 for the birthday bash of the day. The party was held in the old Springhill School building auditorium, which has been kept up by owner Belinda Stewart. Up on the stage were a series of photos of Jim’s life featuring wives, children, siblings and parents.
As you looked out over the crowd of old and young, it made you wonder how all these people were connected. Amazingly enough U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker, Jim’s nephew, ask the crowd if they would like to know how they were all related, which is actually a bit different from how they are all connected.
Anyway, he introduced the family one at a time and asked them to stand and remain standing so the audience could see the connections: siblings, cousins, etc. I was impressed. LOL Then, Jean and Jim, later, had all the members from the various churches (charges) that they shepherded to stand up and be recognized. As they were going to introduce me, I hurriedly told them I had stood up with the Sturgis-Big Creek congregation, people I actually knew.
Jim and Jean told me that they presently had two charges with two churches per charge. Weir and Salem is one charge; Sturgis Methodist and Big
Creek (out from Sturgis) is another charge.
As they day progressed many stories were related to the crowd of 100-plus plus people. The story of Mr. Pibb is one worth asking him about — privately. He may have picked up this name when they worked with the Maben Methodist church from 1998 to 2005. Maybe not!
Around noon, the group surged toward the buffet that had been provided by the family; Central Service Grill had brought in huge containers of barbecued chicken, fried chicken, coleslaw, baked beans, rolls and tea or water, all served with a slab of chocolate cake with white icing for everyone’s pleasure. YUM! YUM!
As I talked with Jim and Jean I soon learned that they had been married to each other for 22 years. They both were previously married and had children with those spouses. Jim has two children: Doug and Tim. Jean has five children: Lynne Harris, Wayne Walls, Donna Jenkins, Robert Walls and Tonya Camp. All together, they have 15 grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren. Jean says they are spread all over Mississippi and Tennessee.
Jim has four siblings: Wordna Wicker (deceased), Davis Threadgill, Margaret Halman and Gene Threadgill (deceased). Jim’s sister Wordna was married to Fred Wicker, who are the mother and father of Roger Wicker, who is our U.S. senator.
Jim’s son Doug welcomed everyone for the occasion and then his son Tim proclaimed the blessing. Soon everyone was talking and telling stories about the “birthday boy.”
After the lunch, Jim thanked everyone for coming, not only his family, but so many people from their charges: former and present. I do believe that he may have shed a tear or two.
All in all, I think “Life would be infinitely happier if you could only be born at the age of 80 or 85 and gradually approach 18.” Anon.