I had only been living in the South a short time, the real South (Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama, etc.) not Southern California, I was driving along when suddenly all the cars in front of me began to stop. Not pull over to the side of the road and stop, but literally STOP right where they were at. I couldn’t figure out what was going on. I looked around the cars, I didn’t see anything that would be blocking the cars. I was frustrated, what was going on?! Then I noticed a driver from one of the cars got out of his car and respectfully stood facing the two lane highway going the opposite direction. That is when I noticed something amazing. Over the grass median heading in the opposite direction was a funeral procession. I thought to myself, “this must be someone very important for all these cars to stop.” But as I watched it seemed just like your ordinary run of the mill funeral. I waited patiently, thinking I must be missing something. Then the man got back in his car and we all began to move again.
It wasn’t more than a few weeks later when I was driving along and suddenly all the cars in front of me were stopping. Yep, another funeral procession. In the South it doesn’t matter if you are the President of the United States or Billy the local porch sitter, if you die, people will stop for your funeral procession. I was once in a procession for one of our members that had died. I noticed something else on this occasion. People on the sidewalks even stopped walking, kids got off their bikes, and everyone stood respectfully while the procession passed.
I was happy the day I saw a funeral procession and no one else was around, but I was able to stop and wait respectfully in the middle of the road while cars behind me slowed to a stop as well. No one honked or sped by me. We just sat there, for 5 minutes not moving paying respect to the family and friends of the deceased individual.
Last Friday we were driving through Visalia and came upon a rather large funeral motorcade. Christina asked me, “Are you going to stop?” Sadly I looked at her and said, “We aren’t in the South anymore.”
I love living in Visalia, but every now and then I miss the South! Thanks Dixie for still making honor more important that rushing through life and for teaching me a little about respect for our fellow man!