Tuesday, January 10, 2012

"And sings, too": Notes for a Diary

Jesse & Helen Halsey c1950
This afternoon after a largely attended funeral that I conducted, my wife was standing with the daughter of a former minister. Mrs. _____ said to my wife that the service was very beautiful. Just then the two overheard a couple behind them speaking about the same service. The man said to his wife, “Well, don’t you get Halsey to bury me. He always reads everything.” “And sings, too,” said his wife. They went on with further criticism, much to the embarrassment of the lady who was standing with my wife, and much to my wife’s amusement. Later, she reported it to me. It is a good thing for one to try to know what other people think. Aside from a poem which was read, I don’t suppose there was a line in the whole service that didn’t come from memory and without a book. I expect it sounded read and what they wanted was an old fashioned service. Where the singing came in I don’t know, but an hour later conducting another funeral, I spoke with the undertaker who has a parlor just across from the church that he attends. At present he is rather at outs with the minister so he asked me if I ever sang at a funeral and he said, “Our minister does.” Then I told him that today was the first time that I had been accused of singing at a funeral.

--Reverend Jesse Halsey c1929  

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