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.
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…