I want to tell the Pine Bluff/Jefferson County community about a woman of virtue. She was an exceptional person, full of the spirit of God and much wisdom.
Her name was Goldie Mae Bush. Mrs. Bush recently passed away on July 1.
She was a visionary. As a young girl, I can remember her standing in our yard and telling my mother and father about the problems of living on the north side of Pine Bluff. She would talk about the railroad tracks and how Pine Bluff needed to put an overpass over the tracks in case of an emergency. She talked about the north side not having a medical clinic. She also talked about the city needing to expand the sewage system to the north side.
Well, finally, in the mid ’60s, the sewage system was expanded to the north side. Let me also tell you that the north side got a medical clinic and overpasses were put over the train tracks. I might be wrong but I believe it was because of her persistence. Mrs. Bush established the first neighborhood watch program in Pine Bluff in 1982. She was a pioneer, blazing trails for all to follow.
Mrs. Bush also was a woman of her word. In 1966, on my mother’s death bed, Mrs. Bush promised to help take care of my mother’s 10 children. And Mrs. Bush did just that. She would pick up my younger siblings, take them to church, and after church take them to Townsend Park for a picnic two to three times a month.
She would check on us to make sure that everything was okay. There were four girls, and she would fix our hair for free. As a matter of fact, after I returned to Pine Bluff in 1997, Mrs. Bush did my hair for free for about five years until she started having problems with her arms. She refused to take any money. You just had to know Mrs. Bush. I often would tell Mrs. Bush just how much we appreciated what she did for us. She would just say “g’on now and thanks Anne for checking on me.”
Checking on Mrs. Bush had become my routine. During my time with her, we would sit and talk about the Lord. She would also tell me funny things that had happened in the past to my family or her. She would say “Anne, I am praying for you” but would not say why. And all the way home, I would be pondering why the question. I thank God for insightful praying women. For James 5:16b states that the effectual fervent prayers of the righteous availeth much.
After taking my mother in 1966, God has placed several God-fearing women in my life, but I claim Mrs. Bush as my surrogate mother. When Mrs. Bush was in ICU, she said to me, “Anne, don’t forget about me.” And I told her that I wouldn’t, and she said “I am not talking about now — don’t forget about me.” And my reply was, “Mrs. Bush, I could never forget about you.”
A few days before Mrs. Bush passed away I was in her room and I told her that I loved her and she responded “I love you too,” several times.
I want Pine Bluff/ Jefferson County to know that I loved Mrs. Bush for her words of wisdom, her integrity, her virtue, commitment and sassiness. Revelation 21:4 states that God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes: and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain; for the former things are passed away.
Rest in Peace, Mrs. Goldie Mae Bush, for your work is done on this earth.
Annie Jones Jasper is from Pine Bluff.