home goin…

January 25, 2011

as i think about mayberry and getting back to the basics and all the simple things about small-town life that make me happy, it always reminds me of an experience that i feel honored to have been a part of. an experience that will stay in my memory until the end of time, an experience that profoundly inspired me beyond all measure.

{because i don't have any images from my experience, i searched for images that conveyed my thoughts...i love this one courtesy of sue henry photography}

as some of you may know, in the south (and not to exclude our northern friends…it may be this way in the north too, but i know this to be true here in the south), African Americans do not have funerals. they have “home-goins”. and when the father of our dear friend passed away a few summers ago, it was my first time to attend a home-goin.

it was moving. it was touching. it was deep and profound and SOUL-FUL. it got inside of you in a way that i don’t believe the traditional ‘quiet and solemn’ funerals do. those in attendance that day, although deeply sad that a loved one was leaving them, were celebrating the event that LeMarCUS was goin’ home. hallelujah.

 it was the middle of JuLY…steaming hot in texas. as i sat there in those old oak pews housed in this picturesque little, old, white wooden church (the church was like something out of little house on the prairie) nestled down a long dirt road in the middle of the country in northeast texas…i stared up at the stage, with it’s beautifully grand, old, red velvet curtains & it’s preacher podium appreciating and absorbing every site and every sound and every emotion.

my seat in the back was the perfect view at the backs of all the beautiful, southern-belle-style hats perched atop every womans head as they fanned their tattered paper revival fans. through the “hallelujahs” and the “amens” and the “preach it brothers”, i was overcome with the beauty and the POWER of this entire moment.

and i’ll never forget when the preacher said: “it ain’t that bad to leave if ya got someplace to go.” and at that moment this small-town girl who grew up in a quiet-style church proudly threw my arms up towards the heavens and exclaimed to preacher jarrett, “amen, brother.. HaLLELuJAH!”

afterwards, we all gathered under the majestic pine trees that make me feel at home like nothing else … long mis-matched tables lined up end-to-end…and the feast began. smokey-saucy slow-cooked bbq ribs, baskets of crispy-spicy chicken, ooey-gooey casseroles, homemade breads, every home-grown vegetable you can imagine, and don’t even get me started on the southern-style desserts…

home-goin…such a better word than funeral. i feel a bill should be passed that the new official term is home-goin, not funeral. because after all…we’re all just goin home…

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  • Reply Theresa-Garden Antqs Vintage February 1, 2011 at 8:52 pm

    I love this post and have been to a home goin a time or two, it’s definately different and will leave an impression on you, such a celebration of the person’s life.

  • Reply Thelma February 2, 2011 at 12:21 pm

    Thank you Jolie for such an incredible tribute to someone I loved very much!! Love you!

    • Reply Jolie February 3, 2011 at 9:22 am

      thank y’all so much for letting me be a part of something so sacred…i’m so glad you like it…this one’s been in my head for some time now. love y’all…

  • Reply PaulB Thomas February 3, 2011 at 3:35 am

    Hi Jolie, I’m fromWales and I have fallen in love with Tx, I lived there for some years, as a preacher, missionary and am now back in Uk for a short time. Anyway your entrepreneurial passion is very inspiring, and this blog post, just touched base with me. Thanks and God bless you.

    • Reply Jolie February 3, 2011 at 9:23 am

      paul…thank you so much for this comment! so sweet and so exciting that our lil blog is being read in the UK! XOXOO from texas!

  • Reply Melody February 3, 2011 at 9:49 am

    happy tears. you just gave me happy tears. awesome post. god bless.

  • Reply marcie February 3, 2011 at 9:55 am

    funny… When God wants your attention, some times you get hit with a feather, some times with a brick… you just need to be ready… this post was a brick. I am heading to a memorial service today for a sweet little friend, who is 13- she lost her dad suddenly, and i lost the words to say to try to help make her feel better. Thank you for the words…

  • Reply debi February 3, 2011 at 10:08 am

    just decided, when I die, I’m having aa home goin, not a funeral.
    Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply Barbara Revia February 3, 2011 at 10:14 am

    this post brought chills to my skin and tears to my eyes. I now know exactly what to say when a loved one passes. i’ve never heard truer words than those of brother jarrett.

  • Reply Melissa Marshall February 3, 2011 at 10:21 am

    Wow. Such a touching post. Home ‘goin…..funny how just those words can change the way we say “Good Bye for now”. I love Pastor Jarrett’s words…..and will pass those on. I have a precious friend whose 16 year old son is in his final days battling cancer…these words will undoubtedly comfort her. Thank you!!!

  • Reply Tracy Bradley February 3, 2011 at 10:23 am

    I experienced my sweet Nannie taking her last breath… As they took her body away from her home.. I sang “I’ll fly away” … All I could think was she was really “goin home”… I too was raised in a quiet church, but at her funeral I couldn’t help but raise my hand to heaven and celebrate… Thanks for sharing sweet girl… I too believe it’s a celebration!!!

  • Reply Jennifer Higdon February 3, 2011 at 10:51 am

    All life returns to the source from which it springs. Life begets life. Energy can neither be created nor destroyed. Hallelujah for the eternal soul! Nothing sad about that! Thanks for the beautiful story.

  • Reply Cindy DeFatta February 3, 2011 at 11:32 am

    Jolie, it’s Cindy from San Diego…I always am so inspired by your posts, I think I could resite everyone. Thanks for making your life changing moment life changing for me. From your Dad’s biscuits to Hollywood to Mayberry and the home goin and everything inbetween and to come…..thanks! See ya at Warrington!

  • Reply Judy February 3, 2011 at 12:01 pm

    Wow! How powerful. I love that. I grew up in Texas, but never experienced a home goin’. The quote “it ain’t that bad to leave if ya got someplace to go.” really touched my heart. Thank you!


  • Reply Missy February 3, 2011 at 12:17 pm

    Sometimes we need to experience some part of our lives from someone elses perspective. This is how we grow and spread our wings. Even death takes on a new hue when experienced in a culture different from your own. I’m glad you shared this story it helps us realize life comes in many different colors and shades not just black and white. One person’s blue is another one’s gray.

  • Reply Tabitha Higdon February 3, 2011 at 12:38 pm

    Great story and I can totally relate, growing up in the country myself… In my opinion, there should be laughter with the tears and celebrate the life of your loved one!

  • Reply Alea February 3, 2011 at 12:58 pm

    Beautiful blog!

  • Reply Tiffany Rowdy Y.O. Ranch Mama February 3, 2011 at 3:22 pm

    Well y’all know that we LOVE Y’ALL LIKE CRAZY!!!! And THIS blog illustrates YET ANOTHER Beautifully SOULFUL reason why!!! Thanks for continuing to illuminate our hearts and minds…The Junk Gypsies are UNDOUBTEDLY a true blue TEXAS TREASURE!!! xoxoxoxoxo

  • Reply Vonda February 3, 2011 at 6:24 pm

    Goin’ home is something to celebrate!

  • Reply bud the pieman!!! February 3, 2011 at 9:56 pm

    jolie ….. u have done such a wonderful job writing this piece …. touching such emotion …. proud that you guys are our neighbors …. and dear friends!
    bless, bud the pieman!!!

  • Reply Nancy February 3, 2011 at 10:29 pm

    That was very nice..thanks for sharing

  • Reply dondi davis February 4, 2011 at 6:33 am

    Beautiful! As I was reading I felt like I was there…

  • Reply Liz February 4, 2011 at 10:08 am

    “it ain’t that bad to leave if ya got someplace to go.” love it!
    Yesterday was the anniversary of my Papa’s passing, and even though I was too young, it touches me day to day when family gathers and talks about what a wonderful person he was.
    Thanks for sharing! Love y’all gypsies xoxo

  • Reply kyle February 16, 2011 at 3:42 am

    Got me right there in my feel good spot! Nice post! Way to paint the picture, Savanah!

  • Reply wes February 23, 2011 at 8:00 am

    i take my hat off to you ladies! you should be on your own tv show.

  • Reply Steve March 18, 2011 at 8:32 pm

    airstream – Miranda Lambert – to you – awesome – bless you

  • Reply Debbie May 4, 2015 at 9:19 pm

    This is one of the most touching blog posts I have ever read. Wow – going home. Amen and AMEN!!

  • Reply Liz Thomas May 7, 2015 at 4:22 pm

    I lost my mother this past February. She lived with my husband and I. Her loss has left a hole in my soul. At any rate because we come from a huge family with grandchildren from all of there the world. I decided instead of a funeral I would throw a big “Celebration of Dot’s Life” party. We rented a function room, had the food catered, had a video of my Mom and music on the side. Everyone had a great time and it was a happy way to remember my Mom. This is how I want to be celebrated when I pass. Let us all mourn in private and rejoice together!

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