Southern Belle´s Family Album

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My Daddy

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"Sending The Old Man Home" by Jimmy Buffett
- sequenced by Sal GrippaldiRedSal's Midis

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They're sendin' the old man home
Back where the buffalo roam
Out in the Pacific, they say he was the best
Now he's in his "civies",
headin' home like all the rest

He'll never forget Rosa Lee
Or sleepless nights he fought upon the sea
He'll only have the memories
Or great books by James Jones

'Cause they're sendin' the old man home

Faraway (Faraway)
Faraway (Faraway)
Another life so very far away

They'll tear down the officers clubs
And write off the overdue subs
So let's drink to their memories
Our heroes and our pals
To those crazy Navy flyers
To those swell Hawaiian gals

The sailors will dance in the street
Then they'll mothball the whole damn fleet
We'll only have the picture books
Of land, and sea, and foam

'Cause they're sendin' the old man home

He'll only have his memories
Or great books by James Jones
'Cause they're sendin' the old man home

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My Daddy, Edward R. Orr, came from a small town in the northeast corner of Louisiana called Oak Grove. Daddy was in the U. S. Navy, served about 20 years, and retired as a Senior Chief Radioman. Served aboard mostly submarines. He was a plank owner on the Gold Crew of the now retired USS JAMES MADISON among other assignments. Being a Navy family, that meant we moved often. I know that must have been a difficult task, being a Navy wife myself now. Moving the entire family, keeping us all stabilized, from place to place. It was no wonder that I drew my foundation from my folks and not the town I lived in. My 'constant' in my life was my Momma and Daddy. To me moving was easy, change was not a problem, as long as they were there. I suppose the best thing a child can give a parent is to become self sufficient - independent. To only need from our parents their advice and support. I think we've all had moments where we knew our parents were there to lend a hand, financially. I'm very grateful to my parents for being there many times when I've needed support until I got on my feet. I'm also glad they raised me with the need to be independent, to stand on my own. Also, I'm glad they taught me how to achieve independence, instilled in me the drive to succeed, to face the challenges that will come my way and see them as opportunities to grow.

My father passed away November 8th, 1997. We had a memorial for him on November 12th, which would have been his 69th birthday. His remains were sent to my husband's ship at the time, the USS SAIPAN, homeport of Norfolk, Virginia, where he was buried at sea on December 15th according to my father's wishes. It was totally unexpected, and for me a very difficult time in my life. I'm just now able to recall my memories of my father with a smile and without too many tears. You know how it start doing something, and recall some silly thing your loved one said or did. Like my father's name for eggs - cackleberries, or one of his stories. Then it's all you can do to force yourself not to pick up the phone to call them, to let them know you were thinking of them, because they aren't with you any more. I loved my Dad, so very much. He was a proud man, didn't show affection much...but I saw it in his eyes. I saw how proud he was of each of us and how much he loved us. I'm going to miss not being able to talk to him, but there isn't a day that goes by that I don't hear him talking to me through my memories.
Daddy's Little Girl
Edward Ray Orr
November 12, 1928 - November 8, 1997

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Edward Ray Orr
(From a letter I wrote to the Chaplain, USS SAIPAN November 1997)

I had known my father to have many friends...but until now, I never knew just how much he had touched so many lives with his generosity and kindness. His willingness to give of himself to help others. Such as putting smiles on the faces of people he would meet casually in public with his sense of humor. Or helping someone get their life together, to give them a chance to prove themselves. I have seen my father cook turkeys at Thanksgiving, some for our family, but also for the waitresses down the road, that were raising their children alone, or for needy families that don't have as much. I have seen my father turn the other cheek many, many times. He had a tremendous faith in people...and a very forgiving heart. But he also had a sense of pride that prevented all from seeing his true feelings. And if he was ever found in error, he would argue his position to the last man...but in private would work to correct any mistakes and even learn to change himself from lessons learned.

I wondered what I would miss the most about my father. The more I thought about this, the more I thought about my three brothers and my sister.

My father would always be the calm in the center of any storm. You could always look to him to feel safe and secure. If there was anyone that had the knowledge and skills to handle even the most difficult of situations, it was my father. My oldest brother, Edwin, is like that. He is very intelligent and the calm in the midst of chaos...and we are, even now, looking at him to guide us in the 'next' step.

My father had such a wonderful way with children. He could get children involved in anything or entertain them. My brother, Bruce, and his wife, Karen, have a wonderful children's ministry at their church. Bruce has a way of sharing and writing stories that entertain children and adults, as well.

My father could teach anyone anything. And he had a quiet manner about him. My sister, Cynthia, is a kindergarten teacher. She has always wanted to teach, as far as I knew. She receives a real sense of accomplishment from observing a child's face light with understanding. She has a way of getting across that "you can accomplish anything in life, if you want it badly enough", just like my father. Her quiet manner is deceiving...she's very observant and aware of everything around her.

My father was a humorous man. He could pick you up when you were down with his stories, or distract you with his one-liners. He enjoyed life and people. If someone mentioned a get-together, you could count on him to make it great. My brother, Kenneth, is our source of entertainment. He can keep you laughing until the tears flow. He would always add the spice to any event.

I realized, now, that the strong character traits I would miss...are still with me. And all I have to do is look around at one of my siblings and see traces of my father's life and influence there. The other things I would miss are safely stored within my wonderful memories. I am fortunate to have known a man like my father. I am blessed to be one of his children. I will always have the courage to meet life's challenges. I have learned to value the importance of family and to nurture family relationships. I will enjoy life, because it is so precious. I will always try to have faith in people and allow for mistakes, after all - we're all human and deserve a little forgiveness. I will treat others with dignity and respect. I will stand tall and firm in my convictions, for you never know who may be watching and need the strength and courage to do the same. I will embrace the truth, not fear it. I will take the bad times and turn them around into lessons learned and create something good from it. As I will try now, with the loss of my father.

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~ About Me ~ My Family ~ My Daddy ~

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