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Death Ain’t No Big Deal

"The mortality rate is still 100%.

Last year. on this very date, at this very hour, my mother took her last breath and left this life for her eternal home. I had spent the night with her and just went home to get a shower. Just as I sat down on the sofa to rest for a moment, I received the phone call no one ever wants to receive. My mother had passed while I took the time to get a shower. I was heartbroken that I had not been there with her, holding her hand and praying with her. She was gone. All that I had the time and opportunity to say, and do in 70 years of my lifetime was gone.

As I was headed back to hospice to be with the family  and wait for the arrival of the funeral directors, I was thinking about her influence in my life. She had taught me the love of music. She taught me the elementary chords on the guitar. She introduced me to everything in my heritage when it came to music. She loved it.

My dad’s first church was in Huntingdon, Tennessee. It was a small farm town in West Tennessee. We had few people in the church and we had moved into a 32′ by 8′ house trailer (rv was NOT an operative term then). However, one of the great things about this church was Sis Humphrey. She owned a little cafe. It was called the “Cat and Fiddle” and was known all over the state for it’s BBQ. She held “chitlin” dinners for Gov. Gordon Browning.

She didn’t tithe since  her husband objected, but she had permission to feed the Pastors family every day. We ate a lot of meals in that place. I loved that she had a “juke box”. On that big old record player, was a record of the Famous Statesman Quartet. My mom would give me a nickel to play that record every time I walked in. Always,,,”Prayer is the key to Heeaaavvvvennnn, but faith unlocks the door”….The amazing voice of Jake Hess filled that little cafe

Then I would looked at my beautiful mom and smile knowing she had sung with him and knew the Statesmen. I knew I wanted to sing gospel music. A mere 7 years later, I stood on the stage of the Ryman Auditorium and played back up for the Statesmen , Blackwoods, etc. I was hooked from that day. Jake Hess and I became friend….because of mom. Later, I was asked by Jake Hess to play guitar with the Imperials. I can’t describe that feeling. From the Cat and Fiddle to the great stages of America.

One day my boss, Jake Hess, called me to the hospital. He was having a heart procedure. I was his toupee guard…..it’s true. I was not to allow anyone to take it off. So I didn’t. I spent many hours sitting in his room and talking about death with him. He was a young man, but he seemed much older. During one of our conversations, he said “Hambone, (his pet name for me)…I have come to the conclusion that “Death Ain’t no Big Deal”. Soon afterwards, he walked into a studio and recorded a song by that title. He lived a long time after that, but we talked again many times about that issue.

When I arrived at the hospice, I went to my mom’s room. The woman who had been so forceful in sharing her life, her love, her passion for music, and her love of Christ had silently slipped into eternity. Memories of sitting beside her on a piano stool and playing guitar while she told me the chords to play, standing beside her onstage and singing “Walking the Sea”…..”For Jesus is ever at your side He’s walking the Sea..”…flooded my mind. Seeing her walking through the isles and bringing the power down. Lifting people’s spirits to praise God. Those days were gone to all but those whose lives were impacted by them.

And then , I heard my boss, Jake Hess singing “Someday when I breathe my final breath, and the doctor takes one look and says’s “You’re dead” the truth is gonna finally be revealed Oh, I’m gonna find -Death ain’t no big deal…..The light will shine much brighter than the sun, and I’ll be right back where I started from , Ain’t no way to say how good I’ll feel. Oh..I tell you children …death ain’t no big deal….He’ll reach down and gently close my eyes . I ‘ll be watchin’ from the other side, I’ll be laughing “bout how scared I thought I’d feel…Oh Im gonna find …death ain’t no big deal.”

Mom and Jake….they taught me “Death ain’t no big deal”…..But I sure do miss them both.

See you guys later,


One thought on “Death Ain’t No Big Deal

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Maxine Neblett5 years ago,

Ron, that is so sweet. You know how I loved her; and, believe it or not, I was thinking about her earlier this morning. Love to you and your family


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