THE PREACHER'S DAUGHTER: <span>Miss Nona</span>

In the quiet of the morning I sat with my eyes closed in our over sized recliner. I allowed myself to go back in my memory vault and give her all of my time. A lady like Nona Smoot deserved all of my time.

I first learned of her passing over breakfast with my husband on Saturday. Given I sat and cried just a moment, I also thought of the reunions she was experiencing. Nona Smoot was singing, clapping, and shouting all over Heaven. This was an absolute truth.

The word matriarch often refers to a woman who is the head of her family. I can’t think of a better word to describe not only the matriarch of a special family, but ultimately one of many incredible women who have enriched my hometown. Nona was an icon, a prayer warrior, and a talented cook.

How talented? All of the barbecue in western Kentucky couldn’t touch hers. She didn’t need a fancy food truck parked on Main Street during Old Fashioned Days in Williamsburg. Her tent on the lawn with a crock pot underneath, that’s where the treasure was. It was out of this world good.

She drove a little white sedan. If you got behind her going anywhere you best be prepared to take your time. Miss Nona was seldom in a hurry. Her eyes were leveled just above the steering wheel, she was a petite lady with a bun of white hair perched atop her head.

Nona had a unique singing voice. I wrote a column sometime back in tribute to the ladies whom I have always referred to as the 2nd Street singers. Nona was anointed, her voice was sincere and strong. I often sing one of her songs when I wash dishes, “When you see me coming, I got him on mind.” Nona Smoot always had Jesus on her mind. Always.

I can’t recall a time her yard was out of order. Her home was nestled just below the hill beside the laundry mat. She loved to wave. I can see her standing outside even now in a polyester dress with her pocket book in hand.

Some people are so embedded in your memory that you can’t envision life without them. I am a greater person because of people like Nona Smoot. People so prevalent within the walls of time, they don’t age or disappear.

My mind wanders back to a time I stared over the padded royal blue pews of my Pap’s church. As a little girl I would smile with excitement as I watched her walk up the aisle, tambourine in hand. Nona would raise her hands and keep time in the pulpit while she sang. I imagine she’s doing the very same right this very second.

She’s face to face with Jesus, the one she sang about so many times throughout my childhood. Keep time until we get there Nona, keep him on the mainline, there’s lots I can’t wait to tell him.

Erinn Williams is originally from Williamsburg, and now resides in Owensboro, Ky. The daughter of a teacher and a preacher, she hopes to make a difference through her words. She serves as a teacher's assistant in Daviess County, and writes for two newspapers in Western Kentucky. She can be contacted at

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