A final salute
This past week, I attended a funeral of sadness and celebration. Her name was Betty Graves, and she stepped off of an unsuspected curb. Betty taught for 33 years here in Burleson and left a huge void in her accomplished life. She was married to a kind and jovial gentleman for over 60 years by the name of Carroll Graves. Betty Graves wanted her funeral to be a celebration of her life. That would be an easy task, although tissues were going up and down the aisles.
I hope that you experience such a fond farewell. I went to the visitation to pay humble respect as we were in the same high school. I as a student and Mrs. Graves as an award-winning educator. The next day, I was able to attend the service conducted by her son-in-law Pastor Steve Beckwith at Oak Grove Baptist Church. The large facility was packed with friends of Carroll and Betty and many people paying a final salute, for the time-being. You see friends, I believe a funeral can be a fond hello to Heaven and a mourning goodbye to those on hand.
After the service, even in cold weather, many cars with their lights on followed the gracious lady to the grave. I was in my 1995 pick-up with some hay for my cows toward the rear. My lights were on as well as the many cars behind me. What touched my sensitive heart, among many things, was all the cars facing our direction were pulling over, stopping, and turning their lights on. I doubt that those people even knew my special friend Betty Graves.
I loved each and everyone for that random act of kindness. Two Fort Worth police officers led the way and blocked the traffic for us. Here it comes friends, being a Vietnam-era veteran, I had a physical exchange with a police officer as we were pulling in to the Burleson Memorial resting site. He dismounted his beautiful motorcycle (with several lights flashing) and gave me a final salute. I saluted him back and thanked him for his kind courtesy. It is a true blessing that we have so many friends in Burleson, even some we do not know! Amen?
As many of us might have a loss in 2018, take the time to pay your respect and give that one “Final Salute.” You will be better because of it, as well as their family and friends.
Brother Hank Hoaldridge
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