In The Land of God & Gullah (Shannon Scott Quoted)

In the Land of God and Gullah

God and Gospel meet African tradition in the South Carolina Lowcountry

“You sure you want to drive out there?” an 82-year-old farmer warns when I stop to ask for directions on a dusty, rutted road in the Lowcountry of South Carolina. “Ahead are the Gullah islands,” he says, shaking his head. “They’re a peculiar people with mighty mysterious ways.”

As I voyage over a gauntlet of bridges and down winding, sun-dappled back roads, past lazy pastures and homespun ma-and-pa stores, decades peel back as St. Helena Island, the center for Gullah culture, emerges through a gauze of saltwater marshes.

The descendants of African slaves, the Gullah today live mostly on the remote barrier islands of South Carolina and Georgia. Neglected during much of the 19th century by their slaveholders — who fled the islands frequently for the cooler inland climate — the Gullah often governed themselves. As a result, they’ve preserved significant elements of their West African culture, such as their African-based Creole language and their expertise in sweetgrass basket-weaving.

But perhaps the Gullahs’ most enduring African legacy is their commitment to a spiritual way of life. “Church is more important in St. Helena, South Carolina, than anywhere else in America,” says Robert Middleton, an 80-year-old island tour guide, driving past a row of single-room churches under a canopy of moss-draped oaks.

As gospel music crackles over car speakers, Middleton, a deacon of a local church, says 90 percent of the people on St. Helena go to church weekly. An impressive figure, considering Gallup recently found only 42 percent of Americans regularly attend church.

The descendants of African slaves, the Gullah often governed themselves. As a result, they’ve preserved significant elements of their West African culture, such as their African-based Creole language and their expertise in sweetgrass basket-weaving.

“Like in Africa, we [Gullah] have always centered our lives around faith,” says Middleton, mopping his glistening forehead with the back of his hand on a sultry afternoon. For example, Middleton says, until not too long ago, the religious and community leaders of the island resolved most quarrels among themselves.

Middleton remembers an incident in the 1950s when two men involved in a shooting on the island were brought to the local Praise House — a small building used for local religious meetings — to resolve the dispute. When the shooter agreed to pay for the wounded man’s injuries, all was forgiven and the men became friends again. “The Bible tells us don’t go to bed angry,” he says, fishing for a key to open the small white clapboard Praise House.

“The Praise House back then was our community center,” Middleton explains, “where we regularly met, danced, stomped our feet and shouted out to the Lord. But today we have our modern churches,” he adds, standing alone in the quiet, century-old, hand-hewn wooden room, where he once attended jubilant services as a boy.

Middleton says that with God’s help, the Gullah culture will endure. “Our roots run deep here,” he says, stepping outside the Praise House, amid live oaks that have stood sturdy with the Gullah since slavery and the Emancipation Proclamation.

Gullah Grub

Setting down a bowl of crab soup and a plate of fried shrimp and shark with red rice, the ebullient Oshi Green, 28, says her family restaurant celebrates their Gullah heritage by serving traditional fare and offering a local hangout.


From the sweet-creamy aroma of fish chowder wafting from the kitchen to walls lined with colorful Gullah paintings and shelves boasting wooden African figurines, Gullah pride radiates from the Gullah Grub Restaurant.

Gullahs embrace an African culture that honors God by fishing, hunting and gardening, Green says, standing under a large painting of her father hunting. “Living close to the land has long defined African and Gullah culture,” she says.

But as the threat of posh golf courses and tourist-laden resorts closes in on the prize island real estate, many St. Helena residents fear the worst. “This has been our home for over 300 years,” sighs Green. A picture at the cash register says the rest: An African-American woman labors in the fields with the caption, “Gullah Heritage. We won’t give up our land.”

Green says African and Gullah practices often exemplify Christian principles. For example, barter not only provided for the Gullahs’ daily needs on the island during slavery and Reconstruction, but also underscored the Christian value of sharing. “Barter taught us to work together and look out for one another, because if we didn’t help each other, we would have perished,” she explains.

And today, Green says that sharing thrives not only in the churches of St. Helena — which often pool resources to help needy members — but also in the day-to-day life of the island. For example, Green says, when her family restaurant recently had a surplus of collard greens, they traded the excess with a farmer who had extra lettuce. “No money exchanged. It was a real barter,” she says.

Outside the wood-planked Gullah Grub, a grandmotherly Jery Taylor sits and weaves sweetgrass baskets the way West Africans have done for centuries.

Weaving baskets for over 50 years, Taylor says she puts a little bit of God in everything she makes. And it shows. Her baskets adorn the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. and galleries throughout the South.

Taylor says the care she puts into weaving baskets stems from reverence for God and her ancestors: “Gullah pride weaves deep.”

Spirit-catching bottles

Outside the gallery, a steel-limbed tree decorated with blue bottles greets customers. “That’s a Blue-Bottle tree,” Smalls says. At night, she explains, daylight-hating evil spirits roam and take refuge inside the bottles, but when the sun rises, the evil ghouls are trapped inside, where the morning sun kills them.

“You can’t get too far from superstition around here,” Smalls says.

Across the street, Victoria Smalls, manager of the Red Piano Too Art Gallery, leads the way through a labyrinth of jostling, color-grabbing paintings of Gullahs laboring in fields, fishing and attending church.

Smalls says Gullah art is practical. “You can paint on a wooden shingle or on an old wooden door. This is art for the masses, not the elite.”

She says the shout — popular in Gullah art and literature — celebrates a vital part of Gullah spirituality. Similar to the African ritual of spirit possession, the shout happens when someone falls under the influence of the Holy Spirit and sings or moves ecstatically. The line between Christianity and African spirituality blurs here, she says.

Outside the gallery, a steel-limbed tree decorated with blue bottles greets customers. “That’s a Blue-Bottle tree,” Smalls says. At night, she explains, daylight-hating evil spirits roam and take refuge inside the bottles, but when the sun rises, the evil ghouls are trapped inside, where the morning sun kills them.

“You can’t get too far from superstition around here,” Smalls says.

Gullah can preach

Down the road, on a Sunday afternoon, hands clap, bodies sway and voices rock the red brick walls of First African Baptist Church on Olde Church Road.

“If you give to the poor and have not love—you have nothing,” the Pastor declares to a packed church of well-dressed parishioners, his mellow cadence building in fervor.

With shout-outs of “Yes, sir” and “Amen,” the congregation engages in a dialogue with their pastor, a holy duet, a back-and-forth repartee.


“Unlike white churches, preaching in Gullah churches is not a one-way lecture from pastor to parishioners,” says Shannon Scott, a local historian and tour guide. “Gullah churches — steeped in West African worship — are about getting a response from their worshippers, getting everyone involved, the community, the village.”

Working toward a crescendo, the pastor feeds off his flock’s nodding heads, swaying bodies and supportive yelps. “Salvation comes through faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ on Calvary,” he bellows. More hands clap, more shouts. “Jesus ain’t playing. No, he ain’t playing!”

Scott says the emotionalism of Gullah worship, rooted in traditional African religion, is about experiencing and feeling God — letting God touch you. “It’s not about being passive or overly intellectual like other churches,” he says. “The Gullah got spirit.”

Playing it safe

“That color is called haint blue,” says the old Gullah man pointing to the sky blue trim around a home outside St. Helena. “It scares evil away. My people still have plenty of folk tales, you know.”

The snow-white-bearded Baptist, who asked to be called Adam for this interview, says haint blue is a heavenly color, and evil haints [spirits] won’t have anything to do with heaven. “This comes straight from Africa.”

“It’s trendy now for everybody to paint something haint blue around their homes,” he says, sitting on a park bench behind a home with a bright haint-blue flowerpot in front.

Adam doesn’t put much stock in superstitions, though. “That’s just African folklore. Only Christ can scare away evil spirits,” he says as the glint of a bright haint-blue cross winks beneath his shirt collar.

A Customer’s Special Gift

By Shannon Scott
One of the reasons I love my job and show up most days, is because of the interesting people I meet.

Ever now and again, one really reaches out and touches your heart and gives you something beyond the general patronage of my tour. Which I’m always honored by. After all, they could spend their money LOTS of places, but are spending it with you on that day.

One of the bigger story presentations I do in Bonaventure is at the songwriter/singer (poet in his world), Johnny Mercer’s grave for all of the reasons he deserves as such an accomplished artistic and business spirit. Cole Porter once said, “Johnny Mercer is beyond category.” He wrote over 1500 songs, won 4 Oscars with 19 nominations and founded the biggest record company in the world, Capitol Records.

I grew up with my mother always having a piano & organ in the living room and teaching music in our house. I learned to play to some degree even though it never took really, but other than singing out of The Elvis 101 Songbook, my brother and I sang occasionally out of the Johnny Mercer books too. And nothing improves the mood for me than putting on some Johnny Mercer. Living in Savannah of course gives it something “extra”, and it reminds me of a simpler human feeling of living. The world is always chaos but its good to escape for awhile and feel more lovely about it inside of such songs.

Through the years, I’ve had people who worked with Johnny Mercer at Capitol who have taken my tour and not too many months back, had a woman on the tour that had a memory of him on Regency Street in London around 1970 or so (he died 1976). She was all of 21 and was in a sandwich shop near her home and while in the busy place she heard more than one person chattering “Thank you Mr. Mercer” and “You’re welcome Mr. Mercer.” She looked over and saw him eating and naturally, being a fan of “Breakfast At Tiffany’s” she went up to him and said, “Excuse me Mr. Mercer, I just wanted to say I’m such a big fan.” He looked up from his sandwich and with a big smile, piped, “So am I!” Classic Johnny. Always “On.” The tour had a good laugh over that and how interesting to have met him, had such a moment, and then finding yourself at a person’s grave so many years later to share such a story? It left me envious quite honestly. I’ve met my share of Savannah characters but the closest I will ever get is next to his grave. I did meet his wife, Ginger, an amazing woman before she died in 1994 but that’s another story for another time.

Elizabeth “Ginger” Meltzer as Broadway Show Girl & Later As V.P. Founder of Capitol Records and yes, Mrs. Mercer!


So couple of weeks ago, on one of those Savannah days in November where — well you can’t believe its so perfectly warm and sunny in November — I had a pitch perfect combination of the weather, a group of tourists and some level of good feeling that seemed too good to be true but so wonderful when you know its there and you ride the wave of it all. Attending that day was an older couple and the wife, Terry, had a khaki satchel over her shoulder which at first glance sort of fit their “safari” look as a couple. I paid it no real mind but it would have such special relevance after awhile..
Johnny Mercer Gravesite-LBonaventure Cemetery_047

So about 90 minutes in to what at times is a 3 hour story extravaganza, we arrived to the Johnny Mercer family plot on the Johnny Mercer Aisle and I did the big story show at this plot per usual. There’s truly something very spiritual about this plot too. It has this gorgeous live oak and its branches seem like a parasol spreading out protecting the family plot, giving it shade but just enough sun too. And I’ll share with you one of the mysteries of Bonaventure here. The cemetery has 27 miles of azaleas that bloom in March and April. The azaleas around this one patch of cemetery blooms all year long. Rarely do I see them without flowers, even in colder months. I can’t figure it out but I don’t try to either. To me the explanation is in the Mercer plot itself and all of the love and legacy that lives here and that so many people come here adoringly and as they stand there together, pour over their minds remembering all of the life moments they shared around Mercer’s music. Humans feel free to open all of their heart’s chambers there. Their minds too. That’s what fertilizes those flowers. I’m sure of it.

As I went on to tell my version of Johnny’s tale, it was then this lovely couple revealed their true purpose. They announced that they’d brought something to give to me personally. At first I was kind of speechless because I’m so “giving” in my story mode, that I’m not used to having someone present me with gifts in the middle of it! Hah! I kind of felt like someone was talking to me in a dream and that’s the best way I can explain it. Which yes, this is symptomatic of being both in the storytelling zone and the Bonaventure one at the same time.

So once I sort of shifted mental gears, the woman, Terry, started again and said, “Well, when we heard that you were so into Johnny Mercer, we knew we had to bring you these things for your collection.” While the tour looked on also surprised and intrigued, they pulled from their bag a collection of photographs and papers and Terry went onto explain the following living memory of Johnny Mercer and in a very distinct, elegant, Scottish accent I might add.

“When I was a younger woman, in my teens, I lived in Edinburgh and my mother worked at a very grand hotel there where lots of famous people stayed so I was used to my mother (Molly), telling me about seeing Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor and lots of different celebrities in movies and music. I’d gone into the lobby one day and was waiting for my mother to take a break and suddenly I hear a man say, “Hey there Molly,” and I turned to see this short man walking through the lobby and really he was nothing to look at, but my mother replied, “Hello Mr. Mercer,” and they began talking to each other. It was then I realized it was Johnny Mercer. My mother knew that I was fan and when she took a moment to introduce me, and I expressed myself as much, he was legitimately surprised that someone so young knew who he was and took great interest in this fact. He told me he was in Europe to record an album with Bobby Darin and that when he finished it he would send me an autographed copy. He took all of my information and to my great surprise he sent my mother and I an autographed photograph(See Images) and then later some correspondence from his hotel in Paris, a couple of letters from California, a Christmas card, and of course, an autographed copy of the album, “Two of A Kind” with Bobby Darin.”

As Terry handed me all of this, I wanted more than anything to sit down with her and just talk but knowing I had a tour to finish, I was very fumbly and felt that having to just move along was somehow an insult to this lovely gesture so did all that I could to show my appreciation as we continued to walk onto the the last few grave sites of the day. Sometimes you just feel so blessed by the actions of others that you kind of want to cry with happiness and this for me was one of those times. I’m not sure if it will make sense to others, but it was like two angels had given me such treasures and then just walked back into the clouds. I wanted more time with them for such thoughtfulness.

Which is the thing. Even now as I’ve been typing this and scanning the images I’ve come to realize that I’m holding these very personal items 2nd hand. 3 hands ago? They were in his. Its 3 degrees of separation in my world. Johnny Mercer took the hotel’s stationery in Paris, probably smoking and a drink nearby, inserted into the typewriter and typed it up reflecting on the meeting with the young girl who was the woman on my tour. And yes, as you’ll read, flirting openly with them both. Perhaps he was just being “Johnny,” but maybe as he typed, it wasn’t a far cry from the feeling of a piano and as he thought himself the poet first, songman after, such letters may have seen more close to the heart of himself and his craft. Perhaps he whistled while he did and maybe flashes of song lyrics came to his lips, words for a future song. Who knows, maybe he even thought, “that’s witty” and jotted a note to the side. Surely there was music playing nearby? Yes, its fun to romance such things. And as I said earlier. I can’t bring him back to life. I’ll never get to really meet him. I can just be inspired in my stories by his spirit and conjure him up for audiences graveside. No, he doesn’t need me to do this but I love doing it. Johnny was known to be very personal with his fans. We’re a lot a like that way too. Mike Douglas once reflected to Tom Waits that he was the most personal, down to earth guy you could ever hope to run into in Hollywood. I don’t doubt it. He was from Savannah after all. He was everyone’s huckleberry friend.

Even now, Johnny Mercer is making magic happen through moments like this in Bonaventure…



Imaginary Sleeping With You (by Gandre’)

Click To Hear Shannon Play With Words

This wasn’t written by me but a poet named Gandre from Germany. She used to have me narrate all of her poems as she said I sounded like Klaus Kinski. She was a strange bird but a mind blowing writer and poet. Scientific even. She always apologized for her English but had a command of it that few English could even match. Partly she wanted to know how her words were supposed to really sound together and so yes, she was using me. Sigh, my fate. We used to talk on the phone and she had an angelic voice and was just beautiful. But she rather liked having benefactors over boyfriends. Either the angels stole her back, a sugar daddy or the misty ether. All I have left is this funnily read poem by yours truly. I had fun adding sounds to the words and part so she could feel them in action.

The Church, A Cemetery & My Not So Religious Weekend




By Shannon Scott (C) 2015

NOTE: Having just seen The Church in concert recently for what is probably the 4th time, I decided to scratch up this review I wrote for their 30th Anniversary Tour in 2010. I think it says something about the force that music is and also why this band is so enduring.

There’s the church, and then there’s The Church. There are cemeteries, and then there is Rose Hill. Both have been my passion and love for quite some time. I spent a little time with them both this past weekend. Saturday night in Atlanta marked the last night of the 30th Anniversary Tour for the band The Church and then Sunday marked another day in the 170th year of Rose Hill Cemetery.

Rose Hill - Macon 041

The Church as some may know, are best known in the states for their 1988 hit, “Under The Milky Way Tonight,” a haunting, melancholy and cerebral love song of sorts. I remember being 17 and lying on the hood of my 1978 Trans Am inside of an Illinois cemetery surrounded by corn fields, staring at the stars with a girl I loved and the song reverberating off of headstones as it played from the car, moving around the cemetery and night air like some singing wraith. The song and the band became a part of my consciousness and lead singer, Steve Kilbey, a part of my hero base. The man feels art and makes it. He draws and paints, writes and sings, and in the same way some people eat. No lie. And unlike most rock stars who just go around spending money and doing interviews and carry around a kind of glam approach to their craft, Kilbey and crew remain humble honorees to their art.


Ah but the show. It was a nice crowd of maybe 1000 or a spread out 750. One of those places where there isn’t a bad seat in the house really. Since most reading this aren’t fans per say, I’ll spare you the whole play-by-play. But what I will share that I was reminded what tactile musicians they all were and one other significant thing. A revelation that I will say may at first sound like stating an obvious, but for me it was a kind of revelation that gave me new appreciation as a music lover and as fellow artist. That as a band, they are all telling a story with each song and that each of their contributions is a voice that they add to the story whole. And that without the setting of the band, they could not tell the same story. A story yes, but it would not be of the same scale or meaning. Anyhow, this thought prompted me to see them more as storytellers than just musicians and I began to observe and listen through the rest of the show in an unexpected way. I began to see them more as 4 primordial neolithic beings gathered around some fire and making this sound or that one as they searched for the sound that would shape the story they were trying to tell or perhaps already existed and had found them to help it be told. Some bands strike one as exacting a will, and then other bands, like The Church, are like a will exacting on them. Even so, what gets fashioned in the end, with such cool, loving and even jaded narration by their spirit guides-man, Kilbey, is something very special to behold indeed. I’m not quite sure why they officially chose the name The Church, but I’d have to say that they are love of their own unique organization. Without going to hippie with it, I mean they are a “love organization.” Even in their most dispirited or even cynical songs, they never just remain inside of that one vein and always have some note of benevolence undercurrenting the messages and all is about four good-natured fellows. Like introspective advisers that you would turn to for learning and healing, but less of titles or of an institution. What they offer you isn’t dogma in repeat but more about vibrations that will in turn do something for you that is meaningful to you and for you. The Church really are some lovely human beings mostly. Relatable magicians amongst the spirits.


Unfortunately the next day I woke up from my little dream space inside of the in-love-with-itself, City of Atlanta. Albeit in a very comfortable bed which I did not want to leave. Don’t get me wrong, because my loathing of Atlanta is much akin to those who say, “I don’t support the war but I support the troops.” I like some of the individual things there and some of the individuals themselves but like Oscar Wilde said on his death bed, “Either that wallpaper goes or I do.” So I did and apparently Atlanta is still standing doing its thing.

Greetings From Atlanta by R.Land

Greetings From Atlanta by R.Land

Yuppie Shitholes by R.Land

On my way home down I-16 from Atlanta to Savannah I couldn’t quite shake the overall loneliness of my brief time in Atlanta. I think I relate more to the homeless people stammering around or marching purposefully with their empires stacked high in grocery carts than I do the rest of the population. So  I decided I needed to get grounded in one of my favorite cemeteries, Rose Hill. So after a quick stop for some coffee, I made my way around to the steep hill entrance of the 1840 cemetery. I knew right away that I was going to find a high perch overlooking the river and would soon puff away on one of my favorite cigars. After that the universe would just kick in and take effect. It was a pretty hot day but a decent breeze and big puffy clouds rolled across the sky like ghostly zeppelins in a parade. Anyway, the cemetery is a masterpiece of Italian styled terracing and reminds me that at one time Macon was truly a great city of great business, minds, statecraft and the arts. And you know what? I’m convinced that for all of our corporate commercialized surroundings & techie gadgetry, that our world is actually so much less than civilization was at one time. Rose Hill and other cemeteries are like “today’s” dirty secret in that they reveal the past in brilliant respects and show the present for all of its weaknesses.

Rose Hill Monument by Jennifer Anne Sparatore

Macon today is a fairly rough around the edges & very poor looking town. I mean sure if you’re only measure of quality is by the number of drive-thrus and gas stations that a town has, then yeah, Macon and many other cities are virtual Renaissance Romes. But if your measure is deeper and more complex than that? Say involves literature, poetry, painting, art, stone masonry, sculpting, hand-craft, philosophy, work, effort and valuing what you possess and taking care of it all to make it last? Than cemeteries like Rose Hill once again expose us for the frivolity of the times and the soul sucking of human kind’s individuality going on all around us. Or at least if you believe that the greatness of a time can be and ought to be defined in that place’s architecture, city scape or yes, its cemeteries. In fact to look at Rose Hill, one might even doubt that the place of today and the cemetery in those places have anything to do with each other. That’s how shocking in contrast places like this can seem. As one wanders through one almost in a daze asks, “where did the culture go that belonged to this?”

Rose Hill - Macon 040

But civilization philosophy aside, I just wanted to get grounded by the transporting energy there. So as planned, I found my perch and eventually lit my cigar and then after some puffs decided that I might just take some pictures with my little phone camera, not knowing if it would do the place justice or not. I began to wander and would wait at times for the sun to come out to catch the very contrasty light. I wanted to share some of the scenery with everyone. While I was sitting up on this grave plot above the river that right below has some train tracks, a poem came to mind that I knew I kind of wanted to express in some kind of way. I just got a few beats of it and just put it together below. I think my inner poet sometimes takes on the voice of a Southern black woman and I accept this just fine really. I mean if that’s the voice speaking through, it’s the voice that you accept and borrow you know?

I don’t care about anything out there!
I don’t care about the pitch fever traffic or the unkindly stares!
I don’t care, I don’t care, I don’t care, Don’t care, Don’t care, Don’t care!
I’m happy right here where the dead people sleep!

Rose Hill is my pasture and I’m its happy sheep!
There are slopes to run & stone bridges to leap!
Wildflowers growing and grass beneath my feet feet feet!
Grave markers to read and new dead people I need to meet!

I don’t have time for you old world of the living!
You might be driven but you sure ain’t livin!
There’s no peace out there or rest for the wicked!
Stress is your game and your spirits are constricted!
You won’t be my misery and I won’t be your convicted!
Here in this place I’m one with me and stay uplifted!

What’s that you say? You say you laughing at me?
That’s okay because in here you’ll soon be.
Away from all of that out there where you ain’t free.
You just can’t see, can’t see, can’t see.

So you go about your business, hustle and dread.
I’ma roam round here awhile, where you think its dead.
Might even move in, I’m so partial to this stead.
Lie down awhile, take in the cool earth ‘neath my head.
Listen to the river roll by and the train on the tracks too.
I’m home in here with the breeze and the quiet.
Not out there with you in that life laugh riot.

Some of the photos need a little explaining. Probably the most interesting and quite possibly, one-of-a-kind, burial aspect to the cemetery is this man-made but very nature grown in, “valley” between what I’ll call the  two main sections of the terraced cemetery. Which is where I spent the bulk of my time taking photos so when you see the shots of the stream, this is running through that area. There are graves here that were constructed to be resemblance of the purported Christ tomb of the bible and in fact a few of them have large rocks in front of their doorways that are the spitting image. There is one shot where you see a small enclosure in the hill which has some bricks around it and it looks like an open mouth. This is one that either fell apart or was dismantled by the family or vandalized, etc. I’ve actually crawled into before in past visits and there were 4-5 bed like graves going back that used to hold the caskets or what have you and one of the neat things about being in there is that the tree roots from the e hill above are growing out of the ceiling so are kind of dangling in the air here and there and it’s really quite strange. It’s a little damp and slimy in there and you can tell kids hang out in it from time to time so there’s a bit of an uneasy feeling about what might crawl over you or who you might bump into but with a little cleaning up it would make a fine little vagabond abode.

In the end, my visit really did achieve the hopeful effect. I won’t lie, I’m rarely happier then when I’m in a cemetery. I feel more connected and abundant with thought and feeling and some part of wholeness kicks in for me that I can’t quite get anywhere else. While in Rose Hill, it took mere seconds, for me to feel “at home” and happy and at ease and at peace. But if I think about it further, certain historic cemeteries are full of everything I love in life – scupltures, wrought & cast iron, flowers, birds, trees, fresh air, history, symbols, and all of those things combined into different compositions at every turn and so many different ways to spend your time looking at them and revisiting them. For someone like me who can be easily pleased (or disturbed) by my esthetic surroundings, the right cemetery can be the definition of absolute beauty to the senses. Its uplifting and peace instilling all at once. There’s also some unconscious knowing built-in to those feelings that one day I to will be a part of one permanently and may my resting place be just as affecting as is Rose Hill, which on this Sunday, for a time, was my church.