Thursday, July 13, 2006

Red Velvet and Shell Casings

For some reason as I was driving home my mind wandered back to my father's funeral. It was a sunny, hot (I think) August day. The cemetary was quiet. There were four folding chairs covered in red velvet slip coverings lined up next to the gravesite. Barb sat first then her daughter then my grandmother and then me. My mom sat behind me. My brother was a pall bearer along with two of my dad's friends and my uncle. It was rounded out by my brother's best friend and Barb's son and I think her brother. Off to one side stood the honor guard. I remember one of the honor guard carried the flag over to me and put it in my arms along with bullet casings after they'd been fired int he gun salute. I cried the whole time. But after a while I think my mom told me that everyone was waiting for me to make a move. Everyone was waiting on me. At about the same time, the honor guard guy walked over and told someone, I don't know who == but I overheard him anyway, and asked that I be told that the honor guard who had served at the ceremony were all submariners. Every one of them. I think I said thank you and that it meant a lot to me. It did. A lot. I have the flag and the shells. The shells are packed away and the flag is sitting on my bookshelf. My dad is never far away. He was a wonderful man. HOnored. He showed others how to not quit. He worked long after many others would've quit. He never used his failing health as an excuse or as means for drawing attention to himself.

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