Another school year is starting back up, and it’s the time for us to remember to show the same respect and compassion to those on the road who are still on this side of Heaven.
Once in a while, as part of my job, I will work a funeral escort.
I would say 99% of the cars stop and pull over to the side of the road as we pass. A lot of the older guys even take their hats off as they are pulling over. I’m old myself, so I take my hat off should I ever pass an escort on an off day.
I’m not sure what taking the hat off does, but it seems like the right thing to do.
There is always at least one person who ignores the entire procession and drives right on through everything.
The fact that he is unable to look anyone in the eyes as he does so shows he is ashamed, but has yet to come to terms with there being other people inhabiting his planet.
That one person notwithstanding, working funeral escorts always give me chills. It’s a sad thing to be a part of, but it’s also a beautiful reminder of our community. Watching a stranger’s reaction to a family’s sad day.
You can tell when they realize they are coming up on a funeral procession. Almost immediately, they will look in their rear view mirror to make sure they can safely slow down and pull over to the side of the road.
It may be a small gesture, pulling over and waiting for a procession of cars to pass. But it’s a sign of respect, and compassion, and it’s something else that I think we get right in the South.
We will have kids waiting for school buses on the side of the roads. Some kids will be crossing the roads to get to the bus stop.
There will be young drivers, nervously driving back and forth to school for the first time. They are young and inexperienced, tailgating them may lead them to drive faster than they are comfortable driving.
They haven’t learned the appropriate response to a tailgater is to slow down to one mile per hour under the speed limit and keep that pace forever. Be patient with them. They will learn.
Leave a little earlier, drive a little slower and always remember: no matter where you work or what you do, there is always at least one person hoping you called out sick anyway. No need to hurry. Wherever you’re going is going to be there when you get there.
Toby Nix is a local writer, guitarist and deputy sheriff. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org