Nephew remembers L.J. Carr

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 24, 2003

Special to the News-Herald

I couldn’t understand why the limos hadn’t arrived yet. I looked down at my new Rolex watch. Well, maybe it wasn’t a Rolex, but it never hurts to dream. Actually, the limos still had some time before they needed to be at the house. I was probably just anxious because it was my uncle’s funeral and because I knew people were going to cry. I didn’t want to see other people in pain. Nobody likes to watch other people sob because then you get emotional.

When the limos and other cars arrived, I noticed that some of the people that got out of the cars already had been crying so that made me feel sad. I had heard Mike, my uncle L.J.’s son, say that there were about 600 people that had visited the funeral home the night before we got to Suffolk, so I knew that everybody and their brother were going to be at the funeral. That was when I realized how much L.J. had meant to this town.


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L.J. was a retired firefighter. I figured that policemen and firemen were going to be at the funeral too. In fact, it might as well have been a town reunion.

Once everybody had gotten into the right cars we headed to a nearby church. On the way, I thought about all the things that I had done with L.J. As we lined the car up on the side of the road I saw tons of emergency vehicles, but, surprisingly, none of the cars had their lights on. My theory was correct. There were lots of firemen and policemen there.

While we were being seated, I looked around and could tell that there was no more room in the church. The firemen were in their uniforms, and I could see millions of gorgeous flowers around the casket. A lot of the people I hadn’t seen before so that just showed me even more how popular L.J. was.

After the firemen came in and had a seat the pastor began to speak. When I noticed Justin and Russell, my cousins, getting teary-eyed, it showed me how much L.J. had meant to them. Throughout the ceremony, I thought about all the times we spent together. Just me and the guys. We played golf and went to Hardee’s every morning when my family visited them each summer. It was like a tradition that everyone enjoyed, especially me.

After the pastor had finished, everyone got back into their cars and drove down to the cemetery. As we drove past the old firehouse, I saw Rena, L.J.’s wife, start to smile. I looked to my left and saw the firemen saluting everyone. That was an emotional moment for all the people in my car. It was almost like L.J. was the President of the United States. As our car entered the cemetery, I noticed that there was a fire truck with its ladder raised as high as it could go. It looked like it was almost waiting for L.J. to climb into heaven. I’m not sure why it was up like that but it may have been a tradition for firemen. That seemed to make my family very sad, and my mom began to cry. I could feel what she was going through.

When I started to get out of the humid car I could hear bagpipes being played. I don’t like the sound of bagpipes, and I don’t think anyone else attending liked them either. I looked around and saw the tears run down everyone’s faces. In my opinion, bagpipes do sound like someone wailing the words to a song. The bagpipes probably sounded so sad because you could see the loneliness in people’s eyes. Like they had lost one of their most loved family members.

I walked over to the casket and the funeral director plus the firemen began to say a few words. &uot;L.J. Carr will be remembered forever,&uot; said the Chief of the Suffolk Fire Department. That is exactly right. My experience at this funeral will be something that I will remember forever because I have never known a person who has had such an impact on so many people’s lives. Just to see how many people were influenced by L.J. made me think, &uot;Man, was I lucky to have such a great uncle.&uot;

Matthew West, 12, is a straight-A seventh-grader from Louisville, Ky. This essay was written for a school project, on which Matt received an A.