Maybe it’s just me, but as I’ve gotten older I tend to read the obituary page a lot more than I used to.
It’s not a morbid thing. On the contrary. I love the stories of lives filled with accomplishments and challenges—lives of people who were talented or inspiring or sometimes just downright strange.
Clearly in the latter category was William Pearlman, better-known perhaps as Poppa Neutrino who once crossed the Atlantic Ocean on a raft. According to the “Washington Post’s” obit
Theirs was the second successful raft trip across the North Atlantic….But Mr. Neutrino’s party was the first to make the journey on a raft built out of trash.
The obit goes on to chronicle other highlights of Poppa’s Bucket List of a Life.
As Poppa’s daughter, Jessica Terrell, put it,
He died like he lived. Plans in the works for a boat trip to Cuba the following week, a novel in progress, and $4.44 in his bank account.
Charlie was a legendary country singer who performed with his brother Ira as the Louvin Brothers. According to Charlie’s obit, the duo was “…renowned for their gospel songs and lost-love laments, such as “If I Could Only Win Your Love.”
The Louvin brothers also updated many traditional folk songs, such as “In the Pines” and “Knoxville Girl” on their 1956 album “Tragic Songs of Life.
Music critic Neil Strauss, writing in the “New York Times” in 1996, wrote these words,
With some of country music’s most beautiful harmonies, traces of 19th century hymn singing, and vividly rendered ballads about hunting fatalities, railroad accidents and crimes of passion, “Tragic Songs of Life” is almong the best albums ever to have been recorded in Nashville. It speaks for a time that became a memory when Elvis Presley ushered in the era of rock-and-roll.
The obituaries show us our history, our culture, a time gone by. They bring back memories. They make us laugh or make us cry. They celebrate life.
What about you? Do you read the obits?
photo by laurenprofeta