Thoughts on a Funeral Procession

20 Dec

This afternoon, I was driving down the road when I saw blue lights up ahead. It was not a wreck. It was not a roadblock. It was a funeral procession. Like all of the other drivers, I came to a stop as a show of respect for the deceased and their family. While sitting still, a few thoughts crossed through my mind.

I wondered if stopping for a funeral procession is a southern tradition or if it happens in other parts of the country. Hopefully, some of you can answer that question. I just know that it is something people around here do automatically. In fact, I do not think highly of a person when I see them keep driving along.

I also thought about the job of law enforcement during a procession. Obviously, one leads the way. However, others block intersections and make sure no one pulls out in front of the oncoming cars.

Years ago, I was in a funeral procession, and we went through a four-way stop that did not have a police presence. A woman pulled out in front of us with her horn blowing. When she got in front of us, she flipped us off. Apparently, she had gotten mad at all of the people who were running the stop sign in front of her and decided to do something about it.

In recent years, there has become confusion about when the procession has completely passed. In the old days, drivers turned on their headlights as a sign of being part of the group. Now, the headlights of cars are on all the time. Which headlights are part of the procession and which ones are not? Having a squad car at the back might fix this problem.

After all of that, I thought about Sheriff Buford T. Justice. In Smokey and the Bandit, Jackie Gleason is chasing Burt Reynolds and gets caught up in a funeral procession. Like all good southerners, he stops out of respect. He does not know that the funeral director has slowed down the procession to help the Bandit.Buford

With hat in hand, Sheriff Justice proclaims, “If they’d a cremated the sum-bitch I could be kickin’ that Mr. Bandit’s ass around the moon by now.”

Burt Reynolds made another movie that ended with a funeral procession. In White Lightning, he played Gator McKlusky, a convict who goes undercover to expose a crooked sheriff. Of course, Burt wins and walks off as the hearse carrying the sheriff’s body goes by. Also, “Way Down Under” is playing over the entire affair.

Anyway, I go back to my original question. Do people in other parts of the country stop for funeral processions? If so, then what do you think about as you are sitting there?

The End

15 Responses to “Thoughts on a Funeral Procession”

  1. Marilyn Armstrong December 20, 2015 at 03:11 #

    Yes, we stop in New England. We stop for tractors and other farm vehicles. We stop for school buses, slow drivers, mail delivery, UPS, FEDEX, and oil delivery. Children playing and horses got loose. Cows crossing to the other meadow and confused pedestrians. It’s a miracle we ever get anywhere because we are stopped so often for so many reasons.

    • Rick December 20, 2015 at 03:27 #

      Dang. It’s like you live in the sticks.

  2. Cindy Bruchman December 20, 2015 at 03:31 #

    Yes, in Illinois we stop for funeral processions. In Virginia, too.

    • Rick December 20, 2015 at 03:37 #

      That’s good to know.You probably have the same issues with headlights.

      • Cindy Bruchman December 20, 2015 at 03:45 #

        All the processions I’ve been a part of or seen from the sidelines had a policeman to guide traffic. The lights are on, yes.

  3. animar64 December 20, 2015 at 04:08 #

    I was a Funeral Director so I drove many a hearse, but not in many processions.

    I worked in the Seattle WA area and we don’t have a lot of Church to Cemetery burials.

    Even if we did we didn’t have processions.

    • Rick December 20, 2015 at 04:27 #

      That’s interesting. I thought processions were common everywhere.

      • animar64 December 20, 2015 at 05:02 #

        I think in our area they’re used in more formal services.

  4. frontrangescribbles December 20, 2015 at 12:34 #

    Living in MO, AR, and TX we stopped. I have not seen any in my five years here in CO so not sure what happens here.

    • Rick December 20, 2015 at 15:36 #

      Maybe they don’t have processions in Colorado.

  5. spearfruit December 20, 2015 at 14:50 #

    I live in the south and yes we do – my hope is everyone would take time out of their busy lives and stop for a moment to respect a life that is now gone. Great post, thank you for sharing this.

    • Rick December 20, 2015 at 15:38 #

      You’re welcome. It seems that this happens pretty much everywhere.

  6. Bantering Ram December 21, 2015 at 03:26 #

    Different customs everywhere. Down in the southern part of India in many communities, funeral processions are not quite the solemn affair that’s seen elsewhere. Quite often processions are accompanied by a mad beat and dancing. It’s more a celebration of the life of the one that’s passed away. And it was one of the inspirations for Live Banned’s “Death Dance”.

    • Rick December 21, 2015 at 17:30 #

      That’s the way it is in New Orleans. A procession is like a celebration parade.

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