Friday night I attended a viewing for someone I adored. Many people where there....this was especially true since there were three viewings that night. The funeral would be on Saturday. I was singing and Frank was preaching. It was to be a military funeral and those always make me especially sad....especially when Taps is played. The day of the funeral the casket was wheeled in....and there was an extremely long pause.....the family did not follow. Ten minutes later the family and friends came in....and I knew something was not right. The funeral was a sweet one. The man who had died was loved by many and a really neat guy. As the funeral ended and the family filed out one of the sons began to speak louder than normal....I could not see what was going on because I was hidden behind flowers. By the time the pianist and I filed out everyone was in their car. There in lies yet another gripe. The city police led the procession to the city limits and left us. There was no sheriff escort....and we were only going about a mile so we went on.....it amazed and angered me at the number of people going west on the highway we were traveling who did not pull over....this is a sign of respect. This was NOT an interstate...or even a four lane. It was a small two lane road and this is the SOUTH! There is not law saying you HAVE to do it.... it is an "unspoken rule" in Alabama to stop for funeral processions. "Here in the South, most people do it out of courtesy and respect for the family," he said. "It's been done here so long that some think it's the law."We are known for our signs of respect! Obviously I was mistaken. I was surprised by who did not stop....or even slow down. It was not just young people...it was old, young, men, women, white and black. It was SHOCKING! We arrived at the cemetery....filed in and waited for them to place the casket. I had opened my door and was waiting to leave my car when I heard a POP! I looked toward the hearse and saw one of the sons firing a gun into the cemetery. All of sudden....life moved in slow motion. It was like watching a movie play out before my eyes. The son emptied the barrel of the gun he held....and reached into his pocket to reload. It was at that moment that my husband shouted and grown men scattered to attempt to subdue the man. A chase ensued and it took three men to wrestle him to the ground before he could reload....and it took two of them to get the gun away from him. 911 was called and in a matter of a few minutes there were five officers present. The son was placed in their custody and once everyone settled down....my dear friend's graveside was conducted. A lot of things had happened....and the son was just beyond himself in grief. He wanted a 21 gun salute for his father...and the military here does not do them anymore because of all the Vets who suffer from PTSD. He meant his dad would have one....It was heartbreaking for all of the family involved and terrifying for the family and friends present. Did he have a permit to carry? No....where did he get the gun....who knows. Both Frank and I are licensed to carry a weapon. We love to target shoot. Neither of us had one on that day. I sure am glad. God was definitely with us....with all that happened....no one was physically hurt...we live in a small town so it did not make the 6:00 news....it is one of those things....that you just cannot make up. I ran on pure adrenaline for a little over two hours....and when I got home and crashed....I did just that....crashed. Frank said I was talking ninety to nothing.....and then there was quiet. When he looked over at me I was out like a light. I promise you that is the closest I want to be to a gun being fired in a crowd...not at a target....EVER!
I am a woman who wears many hats and loves them all. I am a singer - I sing with the group Still Magnolias. I was part of the original First United Methodist Church Arbor Praise Team until we moved. After 24+ years of teaching English 11 and Spanish I - II at Benjamin Russell High School I decided to take a job closer to home. I now teach Spanish I & 2 at Randolph Co. High School and Wadley. I thought I was getting close to retirement and looking forward to it, but decided to move my cheese and try something different. I am a preacher's wife and a preacher myself. My husband Frank is the pastor at Rock Mills United Methodist Church and I am the pastor at Midway (Wedowee). It has made our conversations interesting, to say the least.