a newspaper column that I wrote which is a tribute to a Dansville resident who was the owner of the East Hills Bed and Breakfast.
I lost a good friend, but she lives on in my heart.
A uniquely authentic person came to town almost three years ago, and it wasn’t long before Beverly Watson-Horsted made her presence known, whether or not you chose to engage with her.
She tragically died in an automobile accident near Albany with her fourteen-year-old daughter, Faith, leaving behind her ten- year-old son, Prince.
At the celebration of her life held at the Dansville Free Methodist Church, where she was part of their church community, Pastor Ben Lattimer and the members of his congregation got it.
They had extended an extravagant welcome to her from the beginning. Although they wouldn’t want to be singled out as doing anything out of the ordinary, it was a blessing that their belief in active service to their fellow man would result in such gentle kindness at a time of double grief to her family, friends and the entire community.
Not to say that others didn’t get it either, because the church sanctuary was filled with compassionate teachers, business people, local leaders and friends.
Many offered some comforting thoughts to the family publicly sharing a little glimpse into their connection with Faith and Beverly.
Others talked privately after the service remarking at Beverly’s easy agreeable nature that made her a true optimist.
How much everyone wished that a little of her optimism would rub off.
Beverly was a force to be reckoned with wherever her life’s journey took her. Her sheer determination and intelligence, along with her wandering spirit, made her visionary for the young age of thirty-five. Coming from Jamaica to the United States, her parents opened all the doors they possibly could for her to succeed.
-And achieve she did. In her short time in Dansville she was the owner of The East Hills Bed and Breakfast and Dial a Chef catering service. Her businesses became her passion, and she was her own best promoter.
I had the pleasure of meeting Beverly when we were both taking a writing course on how to publish our work. The majority of us were sifting through the sand finding our way, but not Beverly. She had a goal in mind, and with her warm signature smile declared in class, “I am going to write a book.” She did just that, and “Feast or Famine”, a twenty-five piece poetry autobiography, was for sale soon after.
It makes you stop and think, though, about your own welcoming nature when a stranger comes into your midst and unglues the normal pattern. Given a chance, that person could positively enrich your life forever. Differences can turn into wonderful opportunities for understanding cultures, and broadening your perspective outward beyond a small town mentality.
Believe me, that’s the case with Beverly Watson-Hortsed. I will be forever grateful that our paths crossed if ever so shortly.