Posted on 07.31.2020

The Best There’s Ever Been Part 4 - Soapbox, Jr.

I’ve been dreading writing this soapbox because it’s the culmination of an awful, emotional, beautiful, powerful, touching, tearful and exhausting week which has left me with a need for comfort food that I need to move on from, and quickly.

As I mentioned, in the previous soapbox, Thursday was a public viewing at the funeral home, so mom and I did not attend.

I do have one powerful moment to share from Thursday. I picked up dear friends at the airport that night, and we needed to stop to get supplies and then we ordered food from Olive Garden in Mt. Juliet.

We pulled up in one of the carryout spots, and a young lady came up to the truck and asked if I had an order, and then it dawned on me that I was driving dad’s pickup instead of my car, and I put down the wrong vehicle when I placed the order from the Olive Garden app on my phone.

I apologized and told her that I was in my father’s truck, and I instinctively put down my car instead and that the order was under “Daniels.” 

A few minutes later, she handed me our food and said, “We didn’t charge your card, and we are so sorry for your loss.”

I lost it. It was the unexpected kindness of strangers to a grieving family that did it. We were all in tears, including the sweet young lady who brought us our order.

Friday.

The funeral was at 11 at World Outreach Church in Murfreesboro. It was a beautiful celebration of dad’s life with heartfelt performances, special words from members of the CDB Family, a perfect eulogy by Pastor Allen Jackson, who, dad, mom and I not only call pastor, but we are also blessed to call a dear friend.

And there was an unexpected twist later on which I think dad would have gotten a chuckle out of.

We arrived at the church which was thankfully in a rural enough county to not be under heavy restrictions due to COVID-19, but we sat in one of the small meeting rooms at the church and saw friends and extended CDB family that we hadn’t seen in years.

We had friends come from across the country and despite the need for social distancing, there were still a lot of hugs, and a lot of tears.

It was particularly hard seeing Randy and Mary Travis. Dad and Randy had a lot in common. They were both from North Carolina, both were inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame on the same day in 2016, and up until July 6th, both had been stroke survivors.

Dad bounced back pretty quickly after his stroke in 2010. Randy’s was more severe, and he’s had a much longer road to recovery. But the night of the Hall of Fame Medallion Ceremony, despite having difficulty speaking – Mary had to give his acceptance speech for him - Randy and Mary brought a room filled with music industry professionals to tears with a faint, but distinctly Randy Travis rendition of “Amazing Grace.”

About eight months later when dad performed at CMA Music Fest 2017, dad escorted Randy to center stage where he was greeted with rousing cheers and applause.

So, knowing what Randy has been though, and that dad just passed away from a stroke, it really got me choked up as I greeted Randy and Mary.

I spoke to several artists who would be performing later, and thanked them for being there to honor my dad.

We took our seats, and Carolyn Corlew, wife of dad’s manager, David, and longtime backup singer for the CDB sang a beautiful rendition of the 23rd Psalm before an honor guard placed a US flag and the Tennessee state flag on each side of dad’s casket as Benghazi survivor, Mark “Oz” Geist - overcome with emotion - struggled through The Pledge of Allegiance before turning things over to emcee Storme Warren.

Then, David Rutherford, a retired Navy SEAL spoke about dad’s love for the military, and Trace Adkins sang “Arlington.”

I’m not going to go through every performance or speech, the livestream is available on YouTube or the CDB Facebook page, and I couldn’t do it justice if I tried, but I will highlight moments that stuck out to me.

Longtime CDB Family member, Roger Campbell, told stories from the road, then Vince Gill sang the beautiful “Go Rest High on That Mountain” which almost always brought a tear to my eye, and now will definitely bring many more.

Travis Tritt performed “Amazing Grace,” before Pastor Allen gave a beautiful message about dad’s life and the people he touched with his music, and his love for Jesus.

Then Gretchen Wilson sang “I’ll Fly Away,” and had an “unexpected” guest performer. A gentleman who was dressed in a flannel shirt, cowboy hat and a very long bushy beard got up to dance a jig in front of the church stage with his very confused dog keeping close beside him.

This would have no doubt produced a smile and a considerable chuckle from my dad.

All I could think of was a line from “The Legend of Wooley Swamp,” in which dad told the story of an old man who lived in the swamp named Lucius Clay whom the renegade dancer bore more than a passing resemblance to… “There’s some things in this world you just can’t explain.”

Dad’s manager, David Corlew, spoke about their 47-year-long friendship and working relationship before we wrapped things up to make the 25-minute journey to the cemetery.

What I witnessed as we drove in the procession was akin to what I witnessed earlier in the week, when dad’s body was transported to the funeral home, but on a much grander scale.

Tennessee Highway Patrol and local law enforcement led countless cars, and traffic was stopped all along the route. I know people were inconvenienced, but I still saw many folks out of their cars with their hands over their hearts in honor of dad’s passing.

As moved as he would have been, he wouldn’t have wanted such a big deal to have been made. 

That’s just the humble kind of guy he was.

While driving, way off in the distance in front of us was what had to be nearly ¾ of a mile of motorcycles leading the procession, it must have been close to 100, but I don’t know for sure.

We got to the cemetery, and it was extremely hot. After Pastor Allen said a few more words, the vault was sealed, and mom and I were invited to each take a rose from the pall and lay them on top. Then other friends were invited to do the same. Band members, road crew, longtime friends, all took roses and laid them on the vault. 

One of those friends was Mark “Oz” Geist, who stood at the vault and lifted up his hand and mimed like he was firmly pressing something into the lid of the vault. I knew exactly what he was doing.

Mark is a retired Marine, but he mimed an action based on the tradition of Navy SEALs when a fallen team member is buried, the surviving members take their Trident pins and jam them into the wood of the casket.

He was giving dad a symbolic gesture, military respect, the same respect he would have given a fallen brother. After I dried the latest set of tears from my eyes, I told Mark that I saw what he did, and I understood what it meant, and thanked him.

Friends were invited to put a shovel of dirt on the vault after it was lowered, and I’m pretty sure most of the people there – aside from my mom – put a shovelful, or two. There wasn’t that much left for those maintaining the grounds to do when we were finished. CDB folks get the job done.

We later dispersed and headed home. None of us had eaten since breakfast, and we stopped at a local restaurant in Mt. Juliet to get some food to go. When we pulled in, I noticed about ten motorcycles in the parking lot. I saw where they were sitting and after I ordered, I went over to them and said, “I think you guys were escorting us today, and I wanted to say thank you.” I told them who I was, and everyone got up to tell me how much dad meant to them, and we took some pictures. The chaplain of the group prayed for me, and many of them laid hands on me during the prayer.

There has been so much love for this man that mom and I loved so much. It’s truly overwhelming sometimes.

It was a horrible week, but the hardest part started after that, with mom and I trying to adjust to life without our rock being there. Trying to get back to “normal,” as if there is such a thing now.

As I’ve said before, thank you for all the prayers, they are crucial for us.

I’ve got a few more ideas for soapboxes, so y’all might be stuck with me for a while.

What do you think?

Pray for our troops, our police, our country and the peace of Jerusalem.

God Bless America

— Charlie Daniels, Jr.

PLEASE READ BEFORE YOU POST

Feel free to comment on soapboxes, but please refrain from profanity and anonymous posts are not allowed, we need a name and you MUST provide a valid email address. If you provide an email address, but leave the name as "Anonymous" we will pick a name for you based on your email address. No one other than website administrators will see your email address, not other posters. If you post without a valid email address, your comment (whether positive or negative) will be deleted. — TeamCDB/BW

 

Check out "Geechi Geechi Ya Ya Blues" from Beau Weevils - 'Songs in the Key of E'

 

 

Comments

Saying Goodbye
I want to thank you for sharing these soapbox articles with us. I know it must be very hard for you and you have our empathy and understanding. Everyone feels like Charlie was their best friend because that's how he treated all of us. You mentioned your father's sense of humor, and that's one thing I cherished about meeting him and getting to know him, in a small way, and sharing on social media. Thank you for keeping his daily tweets going. It means a lot to still have that message. May God grant you peace and comfort, and rest assured you will see him again. God Bless always, with love.
Posted by Mavis
CDB
Your dad was a gift from god. He inspired me, he helped me regain my trust in god. I had talked with him about a week before he passed and we talked about the volunteer jam. I’m glad you guys are making it a tribute to Charlie. God Bless
Posted by Mark
Your Soapbox, Jr. Memories
Hi Charlie Jr., I’m sure there are many traits...and inherent gifts and talents...that you shared with your wonderful dad, and the warmth and kindness that show through your Soapbox, Jr. posts prove that. You have his gift of making the reader feel like they are sitting next to you on the porch and having a conversation. It’s a kind of intimacy you project...as if your reader can actually hear your voice, see your smile, dry your tears, and be close enough to you to share your grief. Through these posts, we are witness to the passing, and laying to rest of your beloved father. Thank you for allowing us to be a part of what I am sure was the worst day of your and your mom’s life. Writing about our inner most feelings is cathartic, and I am hoping that, in small ways, you are beginning to find the peace that it will ultimately bring to your soul. Your dad would be so very proud of how you are helping those of us who also loved him grieve over losing such an exceptional man. With much love to your family. ❤️🇺🇸🙏
Posted by Lynda
Thoughts
Charlie Jr...Young man, you are carrying on quite well. There is no way to tell one how to grieve the loss you are feeling.. simply take it one day at a time, and put your faith in the Man upstairs. You had an excellent example .. and you have all of us to support you in your walk.
Posted by Jone
He Was A Damn Good Cowboy
Amen, Amen & Amen Charlie, Jr your dad was the best and now he is enjoying his heavenly reward. I hope you continue his soapbox as the apple didn't fall far from tree. I must say that the elderly gentlemen doing the jig was in the spirit and I really got tickled. Prayers to you and your mom, God Bless Plowboy
Posted by Plowboy
Thank you
Thank you for sharing these difficult, heartfelt memories. They really mean a lot being shared by you. I appreciate you continuing the Soapbox. Your dad was a great man to have had such a special son. I continue to keep you and Hazel in my daily prayers.
Posted by Holly
Best there's ever been
You are definitely a chip off of the block you're dad was a great person I have had the privilege to have known him since 1978 my mom & I were always given tickets & meet & greets every time he came close to Oklahoma city when my mother passed in 2007 the cdb sent the nicest wreath to her funeral I love everyone in the cdb family I had bought volunteer jam tickets months ago and am still planning on coming
Posted by Larry
Thank You
Would love it if you would continue the Soapbox. Thanks!
Posted by Becky
God Bless the Daniels family
I awoke early this morning like I often do, scratched Lola, took her out and somehow stumbled upon this blog written yesterday by Charlie Daniels’ son. It made my day and even though the day isn’t really yet started, hard to imagine anything better happening than reading this. I have loved Charlie Daniels music since the 70’s. More recently through Twitter I have learned to love him and what he stood for. His love of God and his love of our Country. His son, Charlie Jr, is an apple that didn’t fall far from the tree. If you want to start your day off right, go ahead and read his words about the final goodbyes for a true American hero. God Bless Charlie Daniels.....
Posted by Tom
Soapboxes
I welcome any and all Soapboxes you have to share. They make us somehow still feel close to your Dad. Maybe some day Ms. Hazel would care to share some thoughts or memories on the Soapbox too!
Posted by Diane
So thankful for you and your family
Please allow us the pleasure of continuing to be "stuck" with you CD, Jr. My family and I so enjoy every word you share with us here on the Soapbox. You make us so happy with your words. You are doing a great job with your writings. You are the positive influence we all need in this world. Mr. Charlie would be so proud of you. Continuing to pray for y'all.
Posted by Stephanie
Escort and Soapboxes
Is the escort after the funeral available to watch anywhere? I watched the funeral, or cried through most of it, and have PGR brothers and sisters who attended. PLEASE keep posting Soapboxes. God bless you and your mom. Hugs.
Posted by David
Thank you
Thank you for sharing. I have loved your Dad and his music for over 40 years. God bless y’all and I will continue praying for y’all.
Posted by Julie
My thoughts
There has never been or will be anyone the like Charlie Daniels. His kindness, his faith,his love for America, and his love for his family. He is missed but his music will always be with us. R. I. P.
Posted by Becky
Thanks
Thanks for sharing your dads last days with us. We love us some good Charlie Daniels music, but most of all have great respect for your dad.
Posted by Dianne
Thanks Little Charlie for sharing
We are all better people from having known your Father and how he shared his life, his prayers, & his beliefs with us daily was a significant source of strength & somewhat of a calming for me. I miss his tweets, humor, & his opinions. He is now with our Lord, probably offering him an opinion, there will never be anyone like Charlie.
Posted by Bob
Your Dads passing
My condolences to you and your family. I was a huge fan of the CDB, the last concert I attended was The CDB in Huntsville, Al. about two years ago. It will likely be the last concert I attend. I feel your pain, in the span of five months I lost both parents this year. They were 91 and 96 so it was a glorious homegoing for them. God bless.
Posted by Allen
Charlie
Charlie was a real gift from God. Loved to hear him preform. We was happy we got to See the show in Kansas in November. Was great. Will miss him. Thoughts and prayers for family and him band members.
Posted by Carol
Best That's Ever Been
Charlie Jr, I can only imagine how hard the month of July was for you, Miss Hazel, and the CDB family. That heartache will always be there and many times you'll say to yourself, " What I'd give for one more day with Dad" ... I do it quite often myself. Time heals many wounds and though it aids in the healing of a lost loved one, it can't take away all of the pain. All we can do is ask our Lord to help us cope and to live each day with our wonderful memories knowing that we will see them again and the reunion will be more joyous than we can imagine! Keep the memories alive! Prayers from Shelbyville.
Posted by Mark
Comment
Well done. Your father would be so proud.
Posted by Mary
Thank you
This is beautiful. Thank you for sharing and continuing these Soapboxes. God bless. - Sheri
Posted by Sheri
Sorry for your loss
Your dad was a amazing man I have listened to his music for years he will be miss my prayers are with you and your family sweetie may the angels watch over you and your family
Posted by Patricia
"Sittin on a bar stool"
Looking back I remember singing Mr. Charlie Daniels song "Sittin on a bar stool" I was in 3rd grade and started singing that song to the teacher..the teacher got a kick outta it and the school actually called my mom n dad about me singing the song, not sure what the conversation was like but its a memory I will never forget..I Love CDB and will always love his music..Peace, Love and God Bless..
Posted by Cindy
CDB Funeral
Thanks Charlie Jr for sharing the day's moment's with us, May the good Lord bless you and you mother with peace and happiness knowing how much of an icon he was in this temporary world. He will be waiting to greet you with arms extended, I'm sure of this, again my sincerest love and sympathy to you for the loss of you great dad, father, husband and grandfather. CDB memories will live on with us all, RIP CD, Our prayers continue for all of your loved ones and family.
Posted by Russ
Hugs of love to you all
Thank you for sharing your wonderful story about your father in the week that you had saying goodbye to him. No one knows what it’s like if they haven’t lost a parent but I can truly say I do. God bless you for sharing such a touching story about all that went on at your dad’s memorial. Please know that he was a wonderful man I saw him 30 thank you for sharing your wonderful story about your father in the week that you had saying goodbye to him. No one knows what it’s like if they haven’t lost a parent but I can truly say I do. God bless you for sharing such a touching story about all that went on at your dad’s memorial. Please know that he was a wonderful man I saw him 45 years ago in concert and it was amazing. He was such a normal man and he was always himself while on stage. Thank you so much for sharing your story Your father will always be with you.
Posted by Melissa