This is an excerpt from an essay book I wrote about living in the South
Middle Aged (35-54)
North American, US South (Deep South, Dixie, Delta)
Note: Transcripts are generated using speech recognition software and may contain errors.
southerners love a good funeral. Oh we don't love that someone has passed away or that family members are grieving but we love the hugging of necks, the reunion of friends, the eating of funeral food and a good excuse to drink in the driveway. That would not have happened otherwise. My parents grew up in Monticello Georgia, a small town in middle Georgia where they film my cousin Vinnie and other movies. You don't remember. I spent most holidays and summers at my grandparents house on Hillsborough street, which was only four houses down from Jordan funeral home. The jordans pronounced Jordan not Jordan's like it's spelled family have been providing funeral services to the people of Jasper County for generations. In the front of the funeral home there's a white sign that says Jordan's funeral home. If somebody has passed away and the funeral is upcoming, they put a gold wooden star on the top of the sign. This is so the good people of Monticello can drive by the funeral home and see the star and then wonder who died. The Monticello news only comes out once a week. So waiting for the obituary is too late. So the star is the signal to go home and call other people and ask who's dead. And that way you know whether to make biscuits or go to the liquor store. I think the gold star signal system on the funeral home sign is absolute genius for this little town. It's subtle, it's tasteful and it does not require internet service. My cousin and I named it the death star in tribute to George Lucas. But we never mentioned that to my grandmother because she would not have appreciated the humor. My daddy, however, thought it was hilarious. The interior of Jordan's funeral home is small and modest. There's a front room for congregating with people who attend visitation and a back room where the person who has passed is laid out for people to come stare at him and say things like she's at peace or he looks just like he's sleeping or are we in the right place? There was an avid group of little old ladies who were friends of my grandmother's that attended every funeral and visitation in Monticello. My daddy used to call them professionals. I think they were little old ladies who had lost their husbands and had a whole lot of free time on their hands, but mostly they were just nosy. When my granddaddy died, my father gave us strict instructions to make our way quickly past the professionals to the back room. Don't make eye contact he would tell us and for God's sakes don't shake their head hands because they will pull you into a conversation. You will regret. One of the professionals was Miss ruby. Miss ruby always brought the same jello salad dish anytime somebody passed away. It was purple jello with crushed pecans inside and cool whip on the top. I overheard my daddy asked her after somebody's funeral, oh this is so good. Miss ruby, thank you so much for bringing it, and Miss ruby said, oh, that's all right. I always keep one in the freezer because you just never know. After she walked away, my daddy ordained it death salad, and we still call it that today.
Fairy Godmother, Southern Belle, Storyteller, Comforting, Endearing, Folksy, Friendly, Funny, Personable, North American, US South (Deep South, Dixie, Delta)