OP-ED: Grieving at the holidays

Published 7:27 am Wednesday, December 16, 2020

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Dawn Burleigh,
General Manager/Editor

On Monday, I spoke with a young man on many different topics and we started discussing Kelly Price Sr.

Price was an exceptional man who worked at the post office, worked in realty, and believed strongly in serving the community. He served on city boards and the city council for the city of Orange. He also owned Geter Funeral Home.

His son, Kelly Price II, joined his father at the funeral home and took it over after his father passed a couple of years ago.

The younger Price was a kind hearted man who also gave to the community, but quietly behind the scenes.

He also took great pride in his work or whatever task he had before him.

But that is not what I will remember first about him. It will always be the look he had in his eyes as he looked upon his bride, Wythel. She too had the same look in her eyes as she gazed upon him.

I was saddened and shocked when I heard Kelly Price II had passed away on Monday. My first thought was of his wife and how she was doing.

Silly question because I know how I would be doing if it was my husband.

My first real visit with the younger Price concerned the anniversary of Martin Luther King’s death.

As Mr. Price put it, “Every one celebrated his birth and honor him, but no talks about the day he died.”

Mr. Price attended Morehouse College, King’s alma mater, when he heard the news of King’s assassination. Price was also a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, the same fraternity as King.

Price told me about the fraternity being asked to be ushers for King.

As part of the duties of usher, Price also stood at the head of King’s casket while the body of King lay in state for 48 hours at Spelman College across the street from Morehouse College.

Morehouse College is an all-male school while Spelman College is an all-female school.

Price was also a member of the Glee Club, which sang at the funeral.

“I did not think I was part of history at the time,” Price said at the time. “I was involved in the March at Washington. I heard two of Martin Luther King’s speeches; the speech against Vietnam and the I have a Dream. He was also a Founder’s Day speaker at the College. I never thought I would be a part of his funeral.”

Price said he was unable to put into words the feelings he had while standing at King’s casket.

And now we will be standing at his casket.

Not only has the city lost a good man, but we also lost another piece of history. There is nothing like hearing what happened first hand from a person who lived it.


Rescuing Christmas is in need of help

Bells are ringing and change is not jinging as Salvation Army is still hoping to reach it’s red kettle goal for 2020. Standing at the door of a retail business Tuesday morning, the weather was chilly and the breeze reminded us that colder weather is on the way.

I asked the person ringing the bell, “Imagine being the child waiting for the school bus in the mornings in this weather and hoping that Santa will bring him/her a winter coat this year.”

The experience is eye-opening. Every year, I ring the bell, I learn something new about the needs of the community.

Last year, it was to make sure I had a jacket of some kind. This year, it was gloves. Not the plastic, latex gloves for COVID protection. Instead, warm gloves that help keep the fingers warm. Again, the thought of a child standing at a bus stop in the early morning hours when it is at the coldest.

Of course, my images of cold weather at the bus stop is different from those who grew up in South east Texas because in my thoughts, I add snow. Standing at a bus stop in 25-degree weather with ice on the ground and snow flurries in the air is a bit different than an Orange winter morning. But being cold is too cold when it is you standing outside on an overcast day with the breeze blowing just enough to remind you that summer is months away.

Take a moment and drop some change into those red kettles. Change does add up to dollars and the Captains Frankie and Jan Zuniga of The Salvation Army know how to get the most out of each dollar to help the most people. Let us pitch in together to help Salvation Army to Rescue Christmas.


Dawn Burleigh is general manager and editor of The Orange Leader. She can be reached at dawn.burleigh@orangeleader.com