Over the course of my adult life I have taken solo journeys throughout America, sometimes living with the homeless and sometimes following the trials of Native Americans and African American migration.  I remain off the beaten path in search of our nation’s character and have always found people who offer a meal, shower and plenty of stories.  On these journeys I frequently went to funerals in whatever rural town or city I roamed.  As a stranger I was never invited but always welcomed.  I left feeling deeply connected to both the people and the soil beneath them, frequently smelling the history that seaped up from the pavement after a hot summer rain shower.  The land never lies.

Many of the funerals in the deep South were for children.  Outside of Selma, Alabama I spent a day with a family and community who buried a 6 year old child who had been killed by violence.  The tiny pine casket was rimmed with M&M bags, the boy’s favorite candy.  These shoes are for him. – Jinx

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