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Southern Ladies Guide to Hosting the Perfect Funeral." ''In the Delta, we ask not for whom the bell tolls it tolls for all of us, and the message we hear is, 'Open a can of Campbell's cream of mushroom soup and get busy.'"While perhaps one of the most popular and time honored traditions, cooking isn't the only way in which friends seek to comfort the grieving.People show up at funerals and memorial services, stand vigil in parks and on sidewalks, to express their grief for dear friends and perfect strangers."We are profoundly social animals," said the Rev. Christopher J. Viscardi, chairman of the theology and philosophy division at Spring Hill College. ''Grief is obviously personal, but it's also communal in ways Saucony Trainers Glasgow
including a quilt and two oil paintings, since his death. The tokens have helped them as they mourn.
that are more profound than we realize."After national tragedies, from the massacre at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Va., to the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, many sense a need to gather together.After Barbara and Philip Johnson's son, Philip A. Johnson Jr., was killed when his Black Hawk medical helicopter crashed in Iraq, strangers sent sympathy cards and letters. A quilt, an angel and two oil paintings showed up as well.John David Mercer/Staff PhotographerPhilip and Barbara Johnson mourning the loss of their son Philip who was killed in Iraq."People just did things," Barbara said. ''It made us feel good."Congregations' bereavement ministries arguably the modern day equivalent of professional mourners of the ancient world provide practical as well as spiritual support, and may be more important now than ever. With societies so mobile, family members and friends who once might have provided the funeral meal themselves must travel significant distances to services. A plate of deviled eggs, fried chicken or tomato aspic won't make a cross country flight.Nancy Bell, who has helped serve grieving families at Christ United Methodist Church in Mobile, said she and Saucony Jazz 89 her family were on the receiving end of such a meal when her aunt died in Texas."They came and brought everything," she said of her late aunt's congregation. ''It was wonderful we could all sit down together as a family."Providing food to a grieving family is ''a concrete gesture, something visible and tangible," Bell said. ''It really is more than just food. It's a ministry of love."John David Mercer/Staff PhotographerThe Johnson family received gifts from strangers, Saucony Triumph
strangers provide solace in time of need
John David Mercer/Staff PhotographerFried chicken, beef rolls, collard greens, macaroni and cheese, cornbread, cakes and pies all are part of traditional funeral repasts.In the South, providing sustenance for those in mourning serves as a point of pride."Nobody in the world eats better than the bereaved Southerner," write Gayden Metcalfe and Charlotte Hays in ''Being Dead Is No Excuse: The Official Saucony Grid 8500
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