On the 11th of November, 1991, my little family went to see the Veteran’s Day parade here in Jacksonville. We stopped at Burger King for a bite to eat afterwards, and then came home. I got Kait in the tub to get ready for school the next day, and was puttering around the house. The phone rang, and it was my mum. All she said was, “He’s gone.”
My dad died that day, and a part of my Heart did, too.
This was one of the poems he’d recite, when the spirit moved him…I can still hear his voice when I read it.
Halfway down the Trail to Hell
In a shady meadow green
Are the Souls of all dead troopers camped,
Near a good old-time canteen.
And this eternal resting place
Is known as Fiddlers’ Green.
Marching past, straight through to Hell
The Infantry are seen.
Accompanied by the Engineers,
Artillery and Marines,
For none but the shades of Cavalrymen
Dismount at Fiddlers’ Green.
Though some go curving down the trail
To seek a warmer scene.
No trooper ever gets to Hell
Ere he’s emptied his canteen.
And so rides back to drink again
With friends at Fiddlers’ Green.
And so when man and horse go down
Beneath a saber keen,
Or in a roaring charge of fierce melee
You stop a bullet clean,
And the hostiles come to get your scalp,
Just empty your canteen,
And put your pistol to your head
And go to Fiddlers’ Green.