OPINION COLUMNS

Addie Bohn Blackwell and the notary

By Gerre Joiner | Published Saturday, December 19, 2015
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I recently helped with the funeral of a true patriot. Sam Blackwell was a hero in every way one can measure a hero.

I wrote a story about my friend a few years ago, recounting his days of service in World War II. If you’ve not read it, please go to gerrejoiner.com and look up Sam’s story.

While the family was together last week for Sam’s service, someone reminded me of the funeral service for Sam’s wife, Addie, several months ago.

Nothing was extraordinary about Addie’s preferences for her service, except she wrote notes detailing everything (everything!!).

The pallbearers were chosen and included in the notes. The ministers were chosen. And included in the notes.

She requested that pastor-at-the-time Ken May and I sing “Sweet Beulah Land.”

Everyone was notified down to the last casket-bearer. Everything was in place.

Then she took the document to the law offices of Bishop and Bishop and got it notarized. She left nothing to chance, my friend Addie.

I have helped with many funerals that were done on a “plan-as-you-go” basis. Among the most important tasks of a funeral director and a minister is this: Ask many questions regarding choices of music and special features (video, pictures, instrumentalists, scriptures). Guiding the family through the process is important.

For Addie’s service, they simply pulled out the notarized copy of her preferences and went to work.

Reminds me of a day at the coffee shop when one of my friends asked, “Gerre, would you lie a little if you needed to?”

He had spoken loudly enough for the whole group to hear the question.

Everyone grinned. Some laughed out loud.

I said, “Well, I guess I might lie a little if I felt like it was important.”

He then said, “Good! I want you to do my funeral.”

Then everyone really laughed. It was a good day at the coffee shop.

He brought me a pocket knife the next day to seal the deal. He’s still on the planet, alive and well. I still have the pocket knife as a reminder of a good friend, who’s trusting me to say kind things about him at his funeral.

I’m going to fool him.

I’m going to tell the truth about this good man when the time comes.

Gerre Joiner is a semi-retired church musician and has lived in Decatur since 1999.

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