About a month ago, we were invited to a very elegant wedding in Wilmington, North Carolina. Since we have dear friends in Raleigh, we decided to land there and visit with them before heading to the coast for all the social soirees surrounding the happy occasion.
Our visit was wonderful and we set out on a hot sunny afternoon for the two hour drive. Our rental car came with satellite radio but we rather quickly grew bored with the selections and decided to listen to something local.
We warped into the twilight zone.
There is a stretch of Highway 40 south that takes you through some very rural back country. And it is here, between Spivey’s Corner and Rocky Point that we discovered WEGG radio. All gospel, all the time.
Which was fine. They were playing hymns that I hadn’t heard since I was a small child and I was amazed at how quickly the words came back to me. The DJ had a very strong rural North Carolinian accent.
With which she began to read the local obituaries.
Here are a couple of examples. I took notes so I wouldn’t forget them.
“Mr. Devour Brown was called softly to the Lawd (Lord) last Wednesday. The funeral will be this Saturday at 10 a.m. at the Mission View Baptist Church in Faison with “burl” (burial) to follow. Family will be receiving at the church.”
“Mrs. Letitia Green was called softly to the Lawd Friday at St. Helena Hospital. The funeral will take place this Sunday afternoon at 2 p.m. Burl to follow at the Mission View Baptist Church in Willard with the family receiving after the burl at Mrs. Green’s former residence on 123 Main Street in Willard.”
“Mr. Jebediah Johnson was called softly to the Lawd Tuesday evening at his home in Burgaw. The funeral will be this Friday at 1 p.m. at the Missionary View Baptist Church in Burgaw with burl to follow immediately.”
This went on for at least 45 minutes and then she launched into the advertisements:
“Have you recently lost a loved one? Well you need to call Mr. Jakes Funeral Home and Cosmetic Supply Store. Be sure and asks for the economy package and he will give you a 10% discount on cosmetics. Mr. Jakes will take your loved one and fix them right up and put them away right good.”
“If you are going to be blessed by the Best this Sunday, be sure and stop by Miss Maybelle’s “Blessed by the Best” dress shop in Burgaw. She sells church hats and church suits as well as ladies church dresses. She will fix you up to be fit for the Lawd. Right now, she is having a sale on short sleeved leisure suits. (!!!) But don’t go callin there on Satiday. Miss Maybelle done lost her sister to the Lawd last week and she will be funeralizing her Satiday mornin’.”
We considered stopping to see, exactly, what a short sleeved leisure suit looked like. It was tempting since I remember how bad the long sleeved versions were.
It is amazing to have heard this with my own ears. It truly was an alternative reality, albeit a righteous one providing a community service.
Quite the experience.
America. What a country.