A Farewell Salute

There’s only two weeks left until Thanksgiving, and for today’s Throwback Thursday, I’m remembering a friend who used to come to my annual feast.  Many years ago when I was eleven, my birth mom moved to my state and lived with me and my grandparents for a few months while she attended a technical school.  During that time, she befriended a young woman named Christine.  Sometimes, she’d take me with her when she went to hang out with her friend, and sometimes, she took me to Christine’s parents’ home and let me swim in their pool. Less than a year later, my birth mom moved away again, and I didn’t see much more of Christine or her parents again for the next few years.

Fast forward a couple of decades.  My birth mom moved in with my grandma, and they invited my sister and me out to dinner with them.  When we arrived at the restaurant, we ran into none other than Christine and her husband.  My birth mom and Christine renewed their friendship, and we all had dinners and game nights together pretty frequently after that.

Fast forward another couple of years.  Christine and her husband and my grandma and birth mom were planning to come to my house for Thanksgiving.  But a couple of days before the holiday, my birth mom started one of her drama-filled arguments with me, and refused to come. So Christine and her husband came without her.  And as it turned out, my sister and kids and I had a better time without her here.  After that, we started having Christine’s nephew and parents to our house each year.  It was always so nice to be around a loving family and see them interact in a positive way.

Besides spending Thanksgiving with these folks, I’ve had numerous occasions to do their family portraits.  And last year, I had the pleasure of converting their slides to digital photos. Christine grew up in a military household, and they traveled all over the world.  Her dad took photographs of the most exciting places.  And looking so closely at their old family photos, it was evident how much they all loved each other.  Even when I’ve met their other family members that live across the country, they come as strangers but quickly leave as friends.  They’re the kind of family that I’ve always wanted.  They don’t have the drama or the retaliation that my family has, and the love they share just engulfs them and spills out to those around them.  I love every member of their family.

But sadly this year, Christine’s dad passed away.  It’s going to feel empty without him at our table this year.  So I wrote the following to honor him and let him know just how much we’ll all miss him…

A Farewell Salute
By: Rachel A. Carrera

As I prepare for the
Thanksgiving meal this year,
My heart misses a guest
Who is no longer here.

His smile lit up the room
When he walked through my door;
I’m talking about
Lieutenant Colonel Rory’O More.

As he served in three wars,
He remained ever so calm;
He was in World War II,
The Korean War and also Vietnam.

He was a hardworking man
And he had two careers;
He served in the Army for
Over twenty-eight years.

Something else he did
That was really quite cool
Was for thirteen years,
He taught at high school.

When he met his girl
Who was sweet as a lily,
He took her hand in his
And he married his Milly.

Then he wanted some kids,
He didn’t want to postpone,
So he adopted three children
And called them his own.

First came his daughter;
He named her Christine;
Then with twins Elsa and Ricky,
His vision was seen.

If ever a man loved his family
And was so paternal,
It had to be
This Lieutenant Colonel.

He took his little family
And traveled the earth
As he proudly served his country,
His heart filled with mirth.

He adored his wife Mildred,
They shared more laughter than tears;
And they stayed together
For over sixty-seven years.

One more thing about him
That cannot be ignored
Is that while he served his country,
He also served the Lord.

On his last birthday he turned
Ninety-two years old,
Yet in his chest still pounded
A heart of pure gold.

Though this year he left us
To be with God above,
He left behind a legacy
Of wisdom and love.

I only got to see him
A couple of times yearly,
But this holiday without him,
He will be missed dearly.

He was a wonderful man of honor,
A fact no one can refute,
So to Lieutenant Colonel More
I give a farewell salute.

Time to talk:  Do you share your holidays with friends?  Do you prepare a Thanksgiving meal at home or go to someone else’s home or a restaurant?  Do you have anyone in your family that causes drama?  Do you have friends you are closer to than family?

39 thoughts on “A Farewell Salute

  1. My wife prepares the Thanksgiving meal and we have all of our kids, grandkids, and now greats along with a few friends. There are 30 or so present. There is always at least one drama maker but I am watching out for it. I try to squash it before it gets out of hand. I think most families have the same kind of issues.

  2. Thanksgiving it typically a big event on our calendar. This year it’s just me and my wife. She has to work in the morning, and my daughter has to work in the afternoon. The hospital job I understand. I’ll never understand the needs of the retail job. You may have just given me my next blog post.

  3. Sorry for your loss. It’s funny how sometimes people can become more to us than our own family does (or at least have a function in our lives that might replace that of our family). You were lucky to have found that in these people.

  4. Lovely tribute!
    I love Thanksgiving. I always cook, and we have many family traditions–such as our cranberry sauce squirrel that I’ve written about in blog posts. Now that I’ve finished my book, I will be able to get started on some of the cooking and baking. 🙂 There’s family drama sometimes, but I still love it. One of my daughters will be home for Thanksgiving this year, but we will miss my other daughter and her wife (they’ll be here at Christmas time.)

  5. Beautiful homage. SOunds like a true gentleman of high integrity, a wonderful man. God be with you all who knew and love him. He will be there with you all- perhaps just not needing a chair.

  6. This made me cry. It was so beautiful and so sad. It reminds me of what my mom told me about a funeral of one of her uncles… and the funeral of the granduncle that I actually do remember. They fired the salutes at his funeral, and played Taps.

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