As we were coming home from grocery shopping on Monday, Zach and I were held up at a redlight in West Helena by a funeral procession. There was this huge stretch limo following closely behind the hearse and only about 10 cars of mourners behind them so it was a rather short procession by southern standards. We are very respectful here in the south and one sign of respect we observe is to never pass a funeral procession (in either direction), so I drove so as to stay a good piece behind the funeral cars once they'd gone through the intersection. I had plenty of time to think as this was probably the slowest procession, at 15mph, I've ever been behind. So my thoughts drifted to how things really haven't changed all that much down here in the south.
My first thought was that this was a black funeral and the reason I knew this was because of the direction the cars came from and the fact that a stretch limo was used as the family car. You see, although the South professes to be intergrated we really aren't in some areas and funerals are one of those areas. There are funeral homes that the Negroes use and funeral homes that the whites use, and black cemeteries and white cemeteries. And although many of the churches in larger cities are intergrated, it's not so here in the rural areas of the delta where there are numerous, tiny, negro churches scattered all over the countryside and only a few white churches in the small and larger towns.
My second thoughts were about "why is this procession going so SLOW?" White funerals, especially a redneck, white funeral, would never have such a slow procession of cars. They'd be taking advantage of the situation to speed and run the redlights and stop signs, even the hearse driver! (I'm not joking here people!) The white folks also know that it's a good idea to move on out of the way because all those cars and trucks that are pulled over out of respect are only going to be respectful for so long. Black processions are going to take the opportunity to let everyone see the stretch limo.
Moesha: Driver, driver,,go slower right through here, my mother's, daddy's friend, Deiondre lives here, and I want to make sure he sees me riding in this here car,,,,wait, wait,,there he is,,, sittin on his porch couch,,,WAVE big ya'll!!
Laqueta: Wait up driver! Corentine couldn't come to the funeral cause her leg be broke and she ain't outside the house there, stop and blow the horn and give her a minute to come outdoors so she won't have to miss out on every bit of this here funeral.
Ok, so I'm gonna probably go to hell for this but when your poking along at the speed of a turtle on tranquilizers your mind wanders and gets you in trouble.