Remembering Friday, October 13, 1972
I have learned that 69+ is not old. Today is a Mile marker. A day of success for my Dad, but a sad day for us, his family.
Charlotte is a fairly large city. My dad was taken to the hospital there after a severe heart attack. The situation did not look good. In a hospital that large and in a city that big, the head nurse on that ward was Ethel Buff, a friend of Sherry & I. When she learned who B.F. Darnell was, she called Dick Lankford (my bro-in-law) aside and said, “Call Jack, tell him if he wants to see his dad alive to get here as quickly as possible.”
At the time I was in GITMO BAY, Cuba. The Navy got me on a plane that day (my family was to come later, there was no room on that flight.) I flew to Norfolk then a plane to Charlotte, it was record time, but the weather was bad in Charlotte and we could not land. While my plane circled Charlotte, Dad passed away. Mama, Shirl, Jim, Kat, Dick,Jr and Odis were there, I was in the sky above. I should have seen his spirit leave.
Ethel (the nurse) was with Dick when he was standing beside Dad in the ICU. Dick said to Dad, “Doc, we want to get you well and get you back home.”
Dick said dad looked at him very tired, raised a feeble hand pointed skyward and said, “Home.” He closed his eyes and departed for his long awaited home. Like I said it was a good day for him, but a sad day for us.
Ceremony was not Dad’s best suit. He was a common man of uncommon valor. He went from a dirt poor peanut farmer to a very successful and well respected pastor and minister. He never forgot that the members of his church worked for a living and respected everyone of them.
The church in which the funeral was held would only seat 5 to 6 hundred. It was the first church he organized and built. It is located in South Gastonia, NC. There were a hundred honorary pallbearers. City officials and politicians were there. Dad would have been proud if he had not been busy elsewhere. Yes Shirl, Sherry and I miss you Dad. You were really one of the GOOD GUYS! You never made me feel inferior, but I knew I was, you were a MAN!
Little known facts: Dad plowed a matching pair of Roman nose mules. Mama said he could plow from dawn to dark.
**could handle and use dynamite well enough to stack boulders.
**When dad ’built a church’ he was right there with the workers, mixing mortar, handling lumber. (a working supervisor)
**He was never afraid to say “I don not know.” But followed it with, “I will find out.”
***He never had a fortune nor lived in a new home.
BUT HE was the richest man I ever knew, and now lives in a mansion. He talks personally with his hero’s Caleb & Joshua.
(Dad liked optimists)
Now the selfish part of this entry. If I live three more days I will have lived as long as my Dad. I never expected to see the day. Funny, now I want to live longer.
Thanks for dropping by the Shipslog.
Life is short:
Never regret anything that made you smile.
Keep this in mind, if you carry a grudge, it will weigh you down!
If you are mean, it will be seen.
All the good you do can be wiped out by one act of stupidity!
And old navy expression that fits here:
One “OH SH-T!” wipes out a thousand ‘ATTA BOYS’