Muscadine Lines: A Southern Journal

I've Found My Face

Jackie K. Cooper

A few weeks ago a friend's father died. When I went to his funeral I found myself being seated on the front row. It was at a church and all the family was on the right-hand side of the church and the attendees were on the left side. I was on the front pew on the left side.

During the service my friend got up to say a few words about her father. I knew she would be eloquent and sincere, but I also knew it would be hard on her, as she and her father were very close. Anyway when Deborah, my friend, got up to speak, she started out by saying she wanted to speak on behalf of her brother and sisters. She added she did not know she would feel so emotional doing it.

She then segued into a story about Ed Bradley, the "60 Minutes" host who died recently. It seems Ed Bradley was asked one time to speak at a friend's funeral. He knew he was going to get emotional doing it so he asked another friend for some advice as to how to keep his composure. The friend told Ed that as soon as he got up to speak he should find the face of someone who would be supportive and encouraging.

Ed said he found the face when he was speaking and when he got emotional he looked at him, and "the face" in turn looked up at the ceiling. Then he found another face and he looked at him and that person looked out the window.

At this point Deborah said, "So don't move, Jackie Cooper. I have found my face."

Well from that point on I was afraid to even twitch. I just wanted to stare straight at her and give her the support she needed. And something worked because she maintained her composure and gave a beautiful tribute to her father.

Later I thought about how honored I felt she had picked my face. It might have just been that I was sitting on the front row, but for whatever reason she did "find my face."

Then I thought back on all the times I have just wanted to find the right face to give me encouragement. When I was little it was usually my mother's face I sought out when I was performing in one way or another. I would look out in the audience and there she would be mouthing the words to a song I was singing, or nodding her head in time to the music I was playing.

Once when my brother and I were visiting my aunt and uncle who lived in Charlotte, North Carolina, I got lost downtown. I was searching for my brother's face and when I saw it I thought it was the most wonderful face I had ever seen.

At one time or another we all need to "find the face" of the person who can get us through a bad time, or can give us encouragement in an uphill battle. Then there are the times when we need to "find the face" to share a really happy moment in our lives.

Our faces can show our emotions and that is a good thing. With a smile or a nod of our head we can be the encourager or whatever else we need to be. So keep a smile on your lips because you never know who is "finding" your face.


Jackie K. Cooper was born in South Carolina and now lives in Georgia. He is familiar to people living in the middle Georgia area as the "entertainment man" since his entertainment reviews run in newspapers and are shown on television there. His short stories have been used as commentary on Georgia Public Radio. He also keeps active appearing as an after dinner speaker for various events.

Cooper has lived an exceptionally interesting life and portions of it are contained in his first book Journey of a Gentle Southern Man. The journey continued in Chances and Choices.

Jackie's first two books, Journey of a Gentle Southern Man and Chances and Choices, were reprinted and published by Mercer University Press in July 2004. His third book Halfway Home was published by Mercer University Press in October 2004.

Cooper's fourth book, released in 2006, is The Bookbinder.

Visit his website, or email Jackie

© Jackie K. Cooper

Muscadine Lines: A Southern Journal ISSN 1554-8449, Copyright © 2004-2012