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Editor's Corner: Laughter keeps the love alive


By Kim Hasty

The Bible says that faith, hope and love remain but that the greatest of those three things is love.

Far be it for me to argue with any of that, but I seem to remember something in Proverbs that puts laughter fairly high on the list as well. So important, laughter is, for making the everyday occasions and the special occasions memorable. Tears in our eyes, a snort or two escaping, laughter bonds us, lightens us, enlightens us. Laughter gets us through the trying times, the impossible times.

Dr. Sarvis Joel Hedgecoe,
age 78, died on Tuesday,
August 10, 2021.

Even in the face of incredible loss, if we can find a measure of humor and levity, we can go on. And we can show others the way forward as well.

“This is kind of an impossible task to talk about my hero,” David Hedgecoe was saying one recent afternoon in delivering the eulogy for his father, Dr. Joel Hedgecoe.

But then he proceeded to have those in the congregation, who were packed into the pews and filling Haymount United Methodist Church, smiling, nodding and, yes, laughing. He talked about his father’s kind and gentle nature and about the fact that his father’s 6-foot-5-inch stature allowed him to excel in a long-ago college summer job “painting ceilings without a ladder.” He talked about how, when he himself graduated from dental school and came home to Fayetteville to practice with his father, he was sure
he would be able to “show the old man a thing or two.”

“I was humbled quickly,” David said. “I loved to joke with him that while I would get all the latest and greatest instruments, he could use one dental instrument and do a much better job.”

To be sure, theirs was a charmed father-son bond that flourished in a happy childhood that included David’s mother and sister, Margaret and Anne, and would later include five grandsons and many more moments of laughter. But, as it does for all of us, life would include challenges and moments of sadness. Joel Hedgecoe’s health during the last year of his life was failing.

Joel Hedgecoe built a successful dental practice by treating patients as if they were family members for 52 years. He also was an avid outdoorsman who loved horses and hunting. But his legacy will live on in the family and friends who knew and loved him. At the service celebrating his life, powerful soprano Suki Wolf sang “How Great Thou Art” and the touching tenor Andrew Sanchez sang “The Lord’s Prayer.” And powerful too, the sounds of laughter rang out as well.