On eagles’ wings: Remembering Carrol Fisher
Published 1:58 am Tuesday, November 22, 2016
By Chaplain Fleming Otey
Special to the Salisbury Post
Sonia Fisher’s home-going in 2006 has now been followed by her loving husband, Dr. Carroll J.W. Fisher.
With Sonia, it was a huge, iridescent, red tail mother hawk that appeared. One of Dr. Fisher’s sons drove his father in the pickup truck to meet the Rev. Bob Freeman and me.
That was May 21, 2006.
We recounted the marvelous sight, not knowing the angelic bird, white as a peace dove, was heralding the home-going “Indian style.”
Now it’s happened again, but different and more subdued. After being heartbroken for so many years — surrounded by so many friends, four wonderful adult children, a dozen cheerful grandkids, plus a doting younger sister, Helen, next door — “Doc Carrol” longed to go on home to be with Sonia and the Lord.
On every visitation at his mini-ranch in the Catawba woods of Salisbury, we exchanged prayers and blessings. There is even a tiny chapel with a stained-glass window, the gable overlooking the lakes, creeks, forest, hills and Catawba College Chapel.
Dr. Fisher wore at least three different authoritative “hats.” First he was an outstanding aviator and Naval officer, He was a builder of homes, schools and community organizations. And thirdly, he was board chairman and senior elder of the Salisbury-Rowan ministers association and UNCJ.
Chief Fisher was the senior-honored spiritual Indian elder of the Yadkin River Valley Cherokee Indians. He was the honoree at the annual celebration at the VA Medical Center in November.
But I digress.
Before we last met, I noticed for the first time in a very long time two huge raptor birds circling and soaring high overhead — almost too high to tell if they were red-tail hawks or golden eagles or both.
When I reached Carrol’s room at the Veterans Home, at the end of the long hall, the door was closed to casual visitors. The head nurse inquired and they said it was OK only for Chaplain Otey to come in. His daughter, Mimi, and Danny’s wife, Nan, and/or Mark’s wife Maria were tending this very quiet grandfather of 12.
I greeted Carrol. He did not seem to respond, but his eyes opened. I spoke in a louder, booming voice and his eyes focused on me. I encouraged him to do as we had done many time before. The Lord’s Prayer was repeated and three verses of Amazing Grace were sung — the first and third verses in English and the second in Cherokee. “Through many dangers ….Grace will lead us home.”
Through it all, Carrol struggled to participate with facial expressions and slight body language.
We communicated silently. As I mouthed the blessings and healing for his soul, I touched his forehead, the tips of his hands, his feet and then his heart. Carrol then loudly gasped out the phrase: “ I’m happy.”
I gave a big warm smile to him and to his daughter, Mimi. I also have a daughter named Mimi and she is pretty too, as all parents think about their children.
I said out loud, “Blessing to the whole family, and we will see you again soon too.”
Now, only a few days later do I realize that the day I saw the eagle-like raptors was the last day on this earth that I visited with Dr. Carrol Fisher. And I believe, like with his loving wife of almost 50 years, the angels were heralding the home-going of Dr. Fisher to be with his wife, Sonia, the mother of his children and their grandchildren — the love of his life — and his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Other members of the family marveled as they witnessed the large raptor bird soaring like an eagle circling the bell tower of the new Sacred Heart sanctuary. Was it heralding the transit of this devout soldier of the Lord as he flies to a higher plane? The Celebration of Mass was about to begin.
Inside as we sang “On Eagles’ Wings,” the red, white and blue stained glass to our right glowed extra brightly. It was the huge image of a warrior guardian angel with huge wings and a the sword of truth and the armor of righteousness.
This Thanksgiving will evoke very poignant memories for all. Blessings from above.