Vol.VIII No.IX Pg.8
November 1971

Stuff About Things

Robert F. Turner

This story came right out of the heart of my native Kentucky, and I may have scooped Joe Creason with it.

A well known preacher of the past generation was hurriedly called to preach the funeral of one of two brothers. He had known the two men well in past years; and knew John to be an irresponsible sinful man, the very antithesis of his brother Ned. John was the town drunkard; Ned was an elder in the church, patiently doing what he could to care for Johns neglected family, and uphold the family name. The preacher felt that the contrast of the two lives was so well understood, even by the family, that any attempt to gloss Johns sinful life with funeral oratory would be inexcusable hypocrisy, so he chose a direct and factual course.

Now we all know the kind of man John was, and our sympathy for his family can not change the truth. He cheated many of you in business, and drank up or gambled away the money that should have gone to his family. He was selfish, ugly-tempered, and a terrible —— The preacher paused as he noticed a man in the audience wave his hand in a shhhh signal, and shake his head negatively. But the preacher was determined to persist in the course he had started.

He continued, John had no time to serve the Lord. He made no preparations for death or judgement ——— By now the man in the audience was waving frantically, so he stopped and addressed the objector: Well Sir, if you have something good to say for the deceased John, say on.

I have nothing good to say for John, the man replied. But John aint deceased. Hes sitting over there with the family, and the man in the coffin is Ned.

If my informant is correct, the preacher kept his cool, and turning to the family said, Im very sorry about this; but John, you should realize that this is the way an honest preacher would have to preach your funeral, unless you change your ways.

It makes a better story to stop two paragraphs back; but here I am, wondering what happened to John. You see, I take these Kentucky stories seriously. Im also wondering if that preacher was ever invited to preach another funeral in that section.