The Final Ride

It has taken me a few days to get my thoughts together for this blog post about my father’s memorial service. This will surely not be the last time I write about him.

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Wednesday, February 26th, 2020 was my Daddy’s final ride with the Patriot Guard. We left Bishop-Crites funeral home in Greenbrier and drove over 100 miles to Holly Springs Baptist Church in Star City for a memorial service that he would have been proud of.

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Daddy had planned much of this day himself, although he didn’t want the PGR to have to ride that long of a distance but they all insisted. As we were escorted down the highways and byways of Arkansas, I know we all hoped that he could see what a tremendous amount of respect was shown to him as the procession made its way southward.

The service itself was fitting and touching. The PGR stood a flag line beforehand and as the urn was brought into the sanctuary. After my uncle Van sang “Amazing Grace, My Chains are Gone,” my cousin Jeff gave an outstanding eulogy and read a piece that I had written, printed below. My incredibly talented brother Tim had written and recorded a song “Live” (link below) which was played and which I have not been able to listen to since. “Look for Me” recorded by my Aunt Sue and Uncle Van was played and then the chaplain of the Patriot Guard, Chuck “Snake” Winters said a few words. Afterwards, there was a procession to the cemetary across the road. Taps was played, and flags and plaques were presented to us, the family. Jeff read the 23rd Psalm and then it was over. The good people of the church had prepared food for us and we all spent some time together before beginning the long drive back home.

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It was a draining day but the hard part has just begun as we learn to live without him. The business side of a death is consuming for a while but the day to day business of life without a loved one is what no one can prepare for. But we will go on. We have to go on. He would want us to go on and in the words of my brother’s song every day we will “live a little more”.

-Karri Temple Brackett
March 1st, 2020

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The following was originally written as a tribute on my blog for my dad on Father’s Day this past year, in 2019.  After his death, I edited and added to the blog post to serve as a eulogy for the occasion of his memorial service.

If I Were to Write Something About Him

My father, Harry Laron Temple, was a private person who, although he was very caring and loving, didn’t really discuss his emotions much (not unlike yours truly).  So I don’t know how much he would appreciate a rambling tribute written about him that will be shared with everyone here today.

But if I were to write something about him, I would write about how he was one of six children who grew up in a traditional home, with a preacher father and a stay at home mother.  And how despite the fact that his parents and one brother are gone, he and his remaining siblings have remained close.

If I were to write something about him, I would write about the fact that he joined the Army National Guard in the late 1960s and sustained a horrific injury during training which caused him physical pain for his entire adult life, but which didn’t stop him from being an incredibly active person.  And that his brief period of military service led him to become involved in one of the highlights of his life after he retired, The Patriot Guard Riders.

If I were to write something about him, I would write about how he worked for years to provide for his family, never taking a sick day that I can remember, unless he was sick enough to be in the hospital.  I would tell you about his incredible work ethic and talent from everything from car repairs and restorations to building entire houses.

If I were to write something about him, I would write about how he sometimes had a very short fuse, and didn’t suffer fools (not unlike his daughter!), but how he would help anyone at any time for any reason, with no thought for himself .

If I were to write something about him, I would write about how incredibly smart and intelligent he was and how he taught himself more in the last 69 years than most people learn in a lifetime in a classroom.

If I were to write something about him, I would write about how he was a rock for me my entire life and was always there for our family and how there is nothing he would not have done for any of us, from taking us on long family vacations when we were growing up to being there to help in any situation once we were adults.  

If I were to write something about him, I would write about how he was a faithful husband and partner to my mother, a wonderful father to my brother and me, and a fun loving and attentive Papa to his five grandchildren.  There are so many more things I could say about him and memories I could share, but the fact is, he wasn’t a fan of long funerals or memorial services! 

So if I were to write something about him, I would write about how all of us are thankful for the years we had with him.  And although we will no longer have him in our daily lives, we will always have our memories. Dr. Colin Murray Parkes once said “grief is the price we pay for love.”  And now, as I do write something about him, I want to let him know as he watches over us that we will pay that price with tearful gratitude for years to come.

-Karri Temple Brackett
February 26, 2020

Link above to my brother’s song “Live”

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