Passing of The Chief

img_6863.jpgOn December 7, Friday, Pearl Harbor Day our father, Edward B. Feathers, passed away silently, peacefully in his sleep, in his easy chair, at home.

Known to his family and close friends as Talking Bear (a name given him by a friend of the family when he embarked on his five-year long, daily chat group) Dad proceeded to play on the theme of a Family Council and subsequently named each member of the online community:  Morning Star (Beverly), Laughing Waters (me), Bluebird (Barbie), and Skylark (Kathryn) – his daughters. He christened each grandchild also: He-Who-Digs (Tom), She-Who-Paints (Heather), Evening Star (Jennifer), Little Eagle (Nathan), Columbine (Amelia), and Little Bear (Liberty). Mary Hampton (his niece) and Aunt Marynelle (his only sibling) were on the Council as well as daughters of his WWII flight crew and life long friends of council members.

Each day Dad delivered the word for the day; Farmers’ Almanac, a link to a great performance, or (more likely) a link to the latest on alternative remedies for various ailments. He quoted poetry and invited council members to send their favorites. My sister Kathy inherited his gift for remembering poems and the two of them entertained us for years. Dad was a big fan of Jacquie Lawson e-cards which we all received on our birthdays, holidays, and just for fun.  At work it was great to take a moment to watch one of these beautiful renderings, with music and serendipity, and always Dad’s warm greeting.

These are the regular, simple things he did for us, that kept us all together and nourished our souls as we were out in the world with all its “slings and arrows of misfortune.”

We loved our father, this man of deep emotions never shown, of constant and steady love, and a bit of the rascal mixed in to keep the balance.

Dad had a profound influence on each of our lives and will continue to do so though he is now in another dimension. But as each day passes beyond his military burial – taps and the final words, “Please accept this flag from a grateful nation” – we are more and more in the knowledge of how much his life supported and enriched ours.

Members of the Council are casting about wondering who can take over to keep the online community going, but no one has stepped up to do so. Perhaps that is an acknowledgement that no one can take Talking Bear’s place. But I imagine after we all grieve and heal, a few of us may take up the staff to keep something like it going.

To My Dad

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

by Robert Frost
Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound's the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark, and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

Author: Susan Feathers

Family, friends, nature, books, writing, a good pen and journal, freedom of thought, culture, and peaceful co-relations - these are the things that occupy my mind, my heart, my time...

6 thoughts on “Passing of The Chief”

  1. I am grateful for your words about our Dad. His shoes, too big to fill. What will life be like daily without him in our lives? I hang on to his voice in my ear as I hear him say things like “this too shall pass.” I am still in kind of a shock and mourning. Perhaps as time progresses we will find other ways to honor him, such as keeping the council fires burning and not disbursing and going our separate ways. I miss seeing the teepee everyday, and his signature: Talking Bear, Chief, Tribal Council, Great Granddaddy.” I will miss him every day of my life until I see him again.


  2. Susan, here is another poem that is so apropos for Dad, the one who fostered a love of poetry in us all. He always recited the last four stanzas to us, too, remember? It’s another Longfellow poem, The Day is Done.

    The day is done, and the darkness

    Falls from the wings of Night,

    As a feather is wafted downward

    From an eagle in his flight.

    I see the lights of the village

    Gleam through the rain and the mist,

    And a feeling of sadness comes o’er me

    That my soul cannot resist:

    A feeling of sadness and longing,

    That is not akin to pain,

    And resembles sorrow only

    As the mist resembles the rain.

    Come, read to me some poem,

    Some simple and heartfelt lay,

    That shall soothe this restless feeling,

    And banish the thoughts of day.

    Not from the grand old masters,

    Not from the bards sublime,

    Whose distant footsteps echo

    Through the corridors of Time.

    For, like strains of martial music,

    Their mighty thoughts suggest

    Life’s endless toil and endeavor;

    And to-night I long for rest.

    Read from some humbler poet,

    Whose songs gushed from his heart,

    As showers from the clouds of summer,

    Or tears from the eyelids start;

    Who, through long days of labor,

    And nights devoid of ease,

    Still heard in his soul the music

    Of wonderful melodies.

    Such songs have power to quiet

    The restless pulse of care,

    And come like the benediction

    That follows after prayer.

    Then read from the treasured volume

    The poem of thy choice,

    And lend to the rhyme of the poet

    The beauty of thy voice.

    And the night shall be filled with music,

    And the cares, that infest the day,

    Shall fold their tents, like the Arabs,

    And as silently steal away.


  3. Susan, I was thinking of you today. Your words brought a swell to my heart and a lump to my throat. How fortunate your father and your family are to have had such a wonderful bond.

    May it come to you before
    you know it and you’ll find
    yourself flying, a balloon

    cut loose, taking one last glance
    at this fond world that you have loved.
    Though it will feel so cold to us,
    this world without you, still………..
    Tamara Madison



  4. A wonderful tribute, Susan, to Talking Bear. He will indeed be missed. I remember how he reached out to Rene and me when Mom passed nearly 20 years ago. It meant so much to Rene and me. I will forever be grateful to him for his huge heart that he could wrap us within the folds of your family when we were hurting for our loss. His passing touches us deeply and he will be remembered and honored within our family.


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