The Eagles!

Just in time for July 4th, here’s a post about Eagles. Not the Hotel California Eagles, but Gandalf’s Eagles and our eagles at Piedmont Pine Coffins.

If you’ve ever read J.R.R. Tolkien or seen the movies based on his Hobbit and Lord of the Rings books, you know that giant eagles are his deus ex machina. Sort of. Or at least, they are the last trick up loose sleeve of moth-whispering wizard Gandalf, reserved for the darkest hour when nothing but mammoth size and the power of flight will do.

On the eve of this July 4th fiesta of independence, I’m here to say thanks to two local businesses that are helping Piedmont Pine Coffins take flight. Whenever they call, I shout “The Eagles!” (inside my head, or I’d be strange). They are bacon-savers of the first order and, you never know, maybe someday of the last resort: Carolina Wood Enterprises and Renaissance Funeral Home.

Aquiline assistance unlooked-for


In the darkest warehouse…

Carolina Wood Enterprises (CWE) is a pine plank mill in Siler City, a town close at hand for Melleray Farmstead, the cottage industrial home for Piedmont Pine Coffins. CWE receives huge shipments of southern yellow pine logs from within a 70-mile radius of Siler City. They ship out pine planks to the 50 states by the truckload. A single pack of theirs would take up half the floorspace of my workshop. The money I pay them might amount to the petty cash they keep in the office for buying snacks. All of which makes it so remarkable that Van Murchison, owner, and Hagan Pore, crew chief, let me come in whenever I please and select only the straightest and the prettiest planks of wood. (Hagan’s father runs the main funeral home in Siler City, and Hagan is likely putting in a good word for me there, too. Thanks, Hagan.) The Eagles!

Renaissance Funeral Home

Bacon savers

Renaissance Funeral Home in Raleigh, NC, buys coffins from us. It didn’t take a lot of convincing, either. In fact, Renaissance calls us, we don’t call them — quite a switch from most casas de funeraria, which already have their customary suppliers and need lots of good reasons to tilt the apple cart our way. Maybe it’s because leader Joe Smolenksi III is the movie-star funeral director in the home funeral scenes from the green burial movie A Will For the WoodsMaybe it’s because the staff is young and open to new things. Maybe it’s because they’ve found themselves in a groove with the premiere green burial cemetery in the area, handling many of the burials there. Whatever it is, we sure appreciate it. The Eagles!

Many thanks to these two companies that provide aquiline assistance unlooked-for!