Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Life and death, in rural Rabun County, Georgia

Don't miss Drew Jubera's story in the NYT this week, "Tiger Journal: A Georgia County Shares A Tale of One Man's Life and Death." The dateline is Tiger, Georgia, population 316. An excerpt follows:
For years, the story of Mr. Green, a never-married 76-year-old itinerant millworker who could not read or write, and his impending burial had spread through the mountains of Rabun County [population 15,050] and beyond, becoming the kind of tale these people have long been famous for telling.
Sammy Green died last week, and when he did, he was buried in a pine coffin made by high school students who had met him when students from Foxfire magazine, a student-run publication devoted to Appalachian culture, had interviewed him. Green was suffering from a lung disease, and he told the students of his concern that he did not have enough money to be buried when he died. The students then got busy with what they called a "Bury Sammy" campaign. Some built the coffin, and they also held fundraisers to defray other expenses. One company donated the tombstone, another discounted funeral home services, and a county cemetery offered a burial plot. In all, the students raised $3,100.

Delbert McCall, the pastor of a church that Mr. Green often attended, played and sang at Green's funeral. McCall is quoted in the story with this comment on his rural community, “That’s what it’s all about ... That’s Bible. That’s community. That’s love. That’s what I grew up with.”

No comments: