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Just A Minute, 4

April 30, 2018

Our thoughts are well stirred, and we can add to the pot of last words, well written by the deceased, but not forgotten.

Emily Dickenson (1830 – 1886), an American poet, wrote nearly 2000 poems in her brief lifetime, but she saw published only 12, many about death. Remember, “Because I could not stop for death, it kindly stopped for me. The carriage held but just ourselves and immortality.” We see the recluse Emily riding to the hereafter in a comfortable coach with Death, the loving sister, at her side. Her epitaph is brief: “Called back”, and she was heard no more.

Hilaire Bellocc (1870 – 1953), a prolific Anglo-French Catholic historian wrote, His Sins Were Scarlet, But His Books Were Red.” I could not find a listing of his scarlet sins, which might be interesting, but his Cautionary Tales for Children continues to be red.

Remember H.G. Wells (1866 – 1946)? The science fiction writer and author of War of the Worlds died of liver complications. In the preface of that book, he wrote his suggested epitaph, “I told you so, you damned fools.” His body was cremated, and his ashes were scattered in the English Chanel. An historical marker, called a Blue Plaque, was put on his last home in Regents Park in 1966. We can hope his epitaph was not a prophesy.

Born in Darby, Pennsylvania, a busy suburb of Philadelphia, W.C. Fields (1880-1946) was an American comedian and actor who shared his contempt for dogs and children and love for alcohol. He claimed to read the Bible looking for loopholes. His final message was, “On the whole, I’d rather be living in Philadelphia.”

John Yeast left us his sense of humor. “Here Lies John Yeast. .. Gentleman. .. Pardon Me for Not Rising.” Christians can only hope this unknown Yeast’s fate is not ours.

There lies “Woodson James, (Jesse) 1847-1882, Murdered by a traitor and coward, whose name is not worthy to appear here.”

With no dates, “Here lies Lester Moore, 4 shots from a ’44. No less, No moore.”

A wooden marker tells half of a sad story. Unwittingly George bought a stolen horse. “Here lies George Johnson, hanged by mistake. 1822. Nearby a marker tells the rest of the story. “He was right. We was wrong. But we strung him up and now he’s gone.”

Mel Blanc (1908 – 1989) is remembered for the voice of Porky Pig in children’s cartoons. His final words were “That’s all folks.”

 

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