“They chime every hour, their sound easily carrying across the four Brooklyn blocks to my apartment. Even with the windows closed I hear their song. The melodies are instantly familiar, transporting me five hundred and eighty miles south to my rural hometown of Denton, North Carolina. Rock of ages, cleft for me! I sing along in my head to the ancient hymn, one of my dad’s favorites.
A funeral director whose hardscrabble upbringing spurned an ambition that transported him from a home without indoor plumbing to building a family business spanning three counties, my dad loved to belt out a tune when he returned home late in the evening after work. Fifty years in the funeral business plus a lifetime of bible belt religiosity meant he knew every word, every verse, every hymn.”
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