I am in Thomaston, Georgia for the funeral of my aunt Dorothy or “Dot” as she was known by family and friends. We got here around 6:15 after enduring the awful Atlanta, Georgia traffic which is notoriously horrible.
When we got to my aunt’s house tonight we were greeted by family who were sure to feed us in the tradition of many families around the world when there is a death in the family. Now in the south it’s about fried chicken, the sides and deserts. Food is synonymous with coming together as family to remember and to reconnect. In the south when you are sick or a family member passes traditionally ones community comes to the side of those who survive. Gifts of food among other things are offered to ease the loss. Blessed are those who mourn as it says in scripture.
You know it shouldn’t take death to bring people back together in times like this. However for many family comes with complications that unfortunately cannot be overcome even in the passing of a loved one.
Dot’s funeral is on a Saturday in January at her church where she was a member for a very long time. This is the same church where her mother, my great-grandmother’s funeral was held fourteen years ago.
Her devotion to God was/is shown by her hospitality and love for family and friends. She lived a great life, a long life, a life that will be remembered.
A funeral is more than mourning the dead it can be a family reunion too. Sometimes that family is biological or chosen from your tribe of friends. It’s amazing how you can reconnect and renew the ties of family that bind you.
I know that Dot is with her mother, father, brother and sister in the company of saints above. For me I am grateful of these people’s impact on my life and how I know that life does go on in the hearts and minds who continue a legacy.
A quote I like is “Live your life so the preacher won’t have to lie at your funeral” so for Dot she has nothing to worry about.
As of 5:00 PM on Sunday evening it was 65 degrees. Earlier in the day it was warmer. The southern United States does get cold weather and snow. Right now its very unseasonable in the south. I could go for some seasonable weather like we had when I was a kid. Right now its supposed to be sweater weather, instead the air conditioning is on. Now it has brought up a blizzard in March and April so I don’t count anything out.
These are a couple of memes going around the Internet about how many of us are running the air conditioning here in December. The weather here is crazy if you ask me. Where is the cold weather? I blame El Nino.
Now is the time of year when you have to run your heat at night and your AC during the day. Fall can be a challenging season here in the south to keep comfy. Last night was the first night our heater came on and there was that familiar smell of dust being burned off the coils. The heat is on during the evening and during the day.
I support the move of the Confederate flag to a museum or perhaps to the pages of a history book. Americans of all stripes should work towards building a new heritage of inclusion, peace, love and reconciliation. As a southerner that flag does not speak for me because I live in the 21st century, not the 19th. We must all focus on building a new south where people of all races, genders, orientation and religions are free to live without fear.
I have been a southerner my whole life and there are things about it I appreciate such as the food and the charm of many of its cities like my hometown of Chattanooga. I believe in a progressive vision of the south that includes people of all races, creeds, religions, orientation and politics. What I don’t embrace is holding on to the old south that relies upon relics from a bygone era such as a flag that has been in the news lately. The past in the south is something to be remembered in history as to not repeat it. We owe it to every person terrorized by the ways of the old south to step forward with helping every person realize the promise of the new ways.