Memorial for Omas Morris


Eulogy preached at the memorial for Omas Morris



Popa was not always the easiest person to love. When I was very little I used to dread it when he came around because I knew he was going to pinch me, which he always did sometimes to the point of making me cry. I know now that it was just one of Popa’s unique ways of showing affection. He was a loving man, but we all know that he could be a bit obnoxious. He had a habit of saying the wrong thing, he could be temperamental, and he was incredibly stubborn. But despite his many faults he was a lover of many things in his life, including his friends and family, and he found ways to show that love even when he had trouble expressing it directly.


Popa loved his life very much and he really lived it on his own terms. Anyone that knew pop very well, knows that once he got it into his head what he wanted to do, that is what he was going to do. He might ask your opinion, but that never really seemed to make any difference. He was hyper-health conscious to the point of being neurotic, and in his later years he lived in constant fear of getting sick, but when he was younger he lived as if he were invincible and he bore the scars to prove it: one good eye, one good arm, one good foot. Going on road trips with him was something of an adventure, because you knew that he couldn’t see well and he drove accordingly. But despite all of his injuries and ailments, Pop still make a point to do the things in his life that he wanted to do. He had fun, and he was fun to be around. He traveled, he hunted, he fished and of course, he sang.


I think Popa found in his music a way to express emotions that he otherwise had difficulty talking about. I’m not sure if he loved country music because it reflected the life that he lived, or if his life was the way it was because of the music he listened to, but Pop’s life was very much like all those country songs he sang. I think it is what helped him to make sense of his life: he could sing about the green, green grass of home, he could sing about his momma’s love, he could sing about staying up all night in honkey tonks and we know that he could sing about finding love and losing it and finding it again, because that was his life and he could sing about it even if he couldn’t talk about it. I remember when Grandma Essie was aging and living in a nursing home going to visit her with Popa and the rest of the family on her birthday. Now if you knew Popa and Grandma Essie, you knew that they both got extremely frustrated with each other and bickered all the time, especially when they were living together, but in many ways they were very much alike and maybe that is why they butted heads. He wanted to read a birthday card to her that expressed how much he loved her, but he just couldn’t and he got so choked up that he just couldn’t read it. After she passed away he had a real hard time singing her favorite songs too. If Popa couldn’t even sing what he was feeling then you know how deeply he felt it.


Popa loved life and he really lived it. He always seemed to be on the go somewhere. When I was little we travelled around with him in the back of his camper van: going to the zoo, Lion Country safari, going to St. Augustine, visiting family in Georgia, singing music and stealing onions. When I was a little older he traded in the camper van and bought a boat and for a while he quit being king of the road and took up some ocean front property. For a man with one good eye, one good arm and one good foot he did pretty well fishing and driving the boat and swimming back to the shore every time he fell off the dock. After the boat got to be too much for him he sold that, bought the music trailer and became the honkytonk man. He was always on the go doing something, even if it was just taking the dog for a walk, and incidentally if you knew Pop, then you also knew how much he loved each of the dogs that he had. It was really only over the last couple years that Pop really visibly started to slow down and you knew that for a man who spent so much of his life on the go and singing, that for him not to want to do either meant that he was really declining.


Life has a way of pulling us apart from those we love. Our careers take us in different directions, our individual families fill our daily lives, our personal interests distract us, our health limits us, but no matter what separates us in this life I have to believe that God has the power to bring us back together. When life pulls us apart and separates us, God can pull us back together. If you knew Grandma Essie, then you knew that her favorite scripture passage was Romans 8:28: “remember that all things work toward the good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to his purpose.” It is a great passage, but if you keep reading there is what I think is an even more important passage to remember, especially on a day like today: Romans 8: 38: “For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

No matter what may separate us in this life, God has the power to bring us back together. I believe in a God that is merciful and loving and stronger than death and I believe that that God has reunited Pop with Grandma Essie, who I am sure never stopped praying for him even after her death. I believe that that same God can reunite the rest of us as well. When Grandma Essie died, my dad stood up at her funeral and read the lyrics to one of her favorite songs, which really expressed what would have been her last words to any one of us: “If we never meet again this side of heaven, I will leave this world loving you.” That of course was Grandma Essie’s song. I wanted to think of what Popa’s song would be and when I was thinking of all the songs that I associated with him there is one that stood out and when I reread the lyrics I realized that these weren’t Popa’s words to us as much as they are God’s words to him today. So for Popa’s sake I hope that God can do his best Jim Reeves impersonation today and sing this song to him:


Welcome to my world

Won’t you come on in

Miracles I guess

Still happen now and then

Step into my heart

Leave your cares behind

Welcome to my world

Built with you in mind

Knock and the door will open

Seek and you will find

Ask and you’ll be given

The key to this world of mine

I’ll be waiting here

With my arms unfurled

Waiting just for you

Welcome to my world

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