Here in Hometown, people sometimes "take out an ad" in the local newspaper to celebrate a birthday ("Oh my wordy, Look who's 30!" or "Lordy, Lordy! Bubba's 40!") or to announce a baby's arrival (who needs to send frilly-froo-froo cards on fancy paper when newsprint works just as well and you don't have to buy stamps). These usually appear on page 3 right next to the obituaries. In a town who's population is smaller than the enrollment of the university I attended, this is just one more way we make sure everyone knows everyone else's business. We're fun that way.
But the thing that I just do.not.understand is when people put an "ad" in the paper for a deceased loved one on their birthday or perhaps the anniversary of their passing. Sometimes its in the form of a letter: Dear Momma, We will never forget you. Love, Your Children. Sometimes its a poem about the day you became an angel or you may be gone, but your memory lives on. Now, please don't think I'm insensitive to the heartbreaking loss of a loved one. Its just that...honestly, do these people think "Momma" is actually reading the Hometown Herald? Do they believe that all our loved ones meet for coffee at the Dairy Queen in the Sky and say things like, "Did you see the lovely sentiment Pearl's family put in the paper?" or "My children wrote the sweetest poem about me spending Christmas with Jesus this year!"? I just don't believe that's the way Heaven works. Like my friend Bart says, "I'd like to think my [loved one] has more to do than sit around and peek through the clouds at me all day...like worship the Living God." So here is my admonition to my family: Say what you want to say to me while I'm here on earth. And when I'm gone, you can cancel my subscription to the Hometown Herald. I won't be reading it anymore.