Joe put on his new black shirt and it was a little tight but I told him that with his jacket no one would notice. He had brought a heavy tweed jacket and we were so glad about that.
I got dressed first. I had a black and white top and a long black skirt. I found that people dressed more for the funeral than the viewing so I was OK.
DJ came out of his room wearing a lavender shirt (since Abbey's favorite color was lavender most of the men there were wearing that color) and told me that he had to go into town and buy a new shirt. "Look at this!" he said holding his shirt out. It was really large on him. I said, "Hold it. Don't return that. I think you should trade with your dad." It turned out that Joe's black shirt fit him perfectly and DJ's lavender shirt fit Joe. DJ still went and bought a lavender shirt and tie but kept the black shirt. Joe wore the lavender shirt and the purple tie he bought the night before.
The babysitter came and took Brantley.
Isn't he cute? I would call him "Mr. B." and he would give me a big smile.
DJ and Danielle left to get him another shirt. Joe and I left last. We had a key to the house so we were able to come and go as we pleased.
We went to the funeral home and even though we were early all the parking spaces were taken. We had to park on the driveway.
We went in and found seats in the fourth row. There were three reserved rows in front of us and these filled up with what looked to be the entire Tipton County Sheriff's Department. I have never seen so many police in one place. Abbey was an alderman and her oldest son Ernie and DJ are both police officers. That's probably why they were there. When the place was packed and there were no more seats, the police got up and stood against the wall around the room.
The songs were touching. The preaching was fantastic. It was just like being in a church service. Pastor Hunt (who was one of DJ's cousins) gave a salvation message that was second to none. If you couldn't understand it after that, forget it.
We all gathered out on the porch and the family led the procession to the graveside. The cemetery is right next to the funeral home. After a short ceremony it was over and we were all invited back to Buck and Abbey's home for lunch.
There was so much food. Unbelievable. And so many people! Abbey's sisters were so nice to me. I didn't know how they would take me because of Abbey being Joe's ex-wife and me the current one. But I didn't have to worry. They just loved on me and treated me as if I had been a part of their family my whole life. They were just the kind of people that anyone would want for their family.
I had some delicious Southern fried chicken. Joe had some chicken and dumplings. And lots and lots of other things. For dessert Joe said he wanted pie and I got him a piece of homemade coconut pie which he said was wonderful. There were a group of people sitting at the kitchen table and they told me to take a piece of the Hummingbird Cake. I said I had heard of it, but had never had it. One lady said to me, "That's because y'all are a northerner. But y'all should try it because it's good." And it was.
The saddest part for me was talking to Abbey's husband Buck. He asked Joe if he had done a good job raising DJ for him. Joe told him he did an excellent job and DJ and his brothers had grown to be wonderful young men. Buck started crying and said he had done his best. He said he didn't know how he would be able to get along without Abbey there. And he thanked us for coming all the way from Philadelphia. He said it meant a lot to him and he was hoping we would show up. Then he turned to me and said that Abbey had thought the world of me and was so looking forward to meeting me this spring. All I could do was cry just like I'm doing now.
In a little while Joe and I decided to leave. We told DJ and Danielle we would meet them back at the house. We changed our clothes and while Joe slept I watched a youtube video and was finally able to buy minutes to put onto my phone. I tried to switch my minutes over to the new phone again and still couldn't do it. I'm going to try to get ahold of them today.
When DJ and Danielle got back I asked to take some pictures of them.
Everyone was saying how much Joe and DJ looked alike. You don't see it so much in these pictures, but they stand alike, they gesture alike, they have the same likes and dislikes down to their favorite color and favorite food. It's amazing. And DJ definitely has Joe's chin and eyes.
DJ and Danielle got changed and then took us out to their favorite restaurant -- The Oriental Noodle. It was a little hole in the wall and I would never have seen it if I were trying to find it. It was pouring rain so we ran through mud into the place.
The guy who owned it is a former Marine. He and Joe were talking about the service. The food was great. Everyone was coming over to see the baby and say how cute he was. He was sleeping most of the time. DJ treated us which was really nice.
So then we went home, talked for a little bit and went to bed. We knew we had to get up early to get the plane to go home.
This is the end of Day 3. The hardest day of the visit. One more day to go.