Does a good man’s life end at his death?
The answer for daughter Lisa Reinicke was, “No.” Her father was known by many names: Buster, Bill, Billy, Dad, and the Football Flyboy. His deeds, no matter how small, should be passed down to family, friends, and anyone looking for inspiration, and life-lessons from one who worked, lived and part of the Greatest Generation. The Football Flyboy was young, newlywed and a pilot in WWII. He was a good man.
One weekend morning, she determined that his spirit should not stay silent just because his mouth could no longer speak words. “I open my dad’s old air force footlocker - still solid, battleship grey, weathered, and a little rough from travel and age. His name is in white lettering on the front: First Lt William R Cannon.”
What she discovered were yellowed envelopes bound in twine - hundreds of them - that her father had written to her mother. Letters written daily during the last year of WWII and received by his bride. Her daily letters disappeared - only three times during the year, did the “mailman” catch up with him and teased with just a few of the hundreds.
“Before reaching inside, there was a feeling of the hands of time grabbing onto my heart, knowing that this was such a huge part of not only his life but my mom’s as well.”
Meet Bill “Buster” Cannon, the Football Flyboy … a good man with a good life who made a difference.
Lisa Reinicke is the majority holder of Our House Publications and author of 4 published children’s picture books for sale on Amazon and independent book stores. Lisa was honored with the Mom's Choice Gold Award for lifetime literary excellence for her children's book "Wings and Feet in 2017. She is a storyteller and author of 35 children’s stories appearing on local TV shows, elementary schools, and bookstores. The stories have been published in 3 collective recordings for distribution for A Goodnight Sleep Company. She also produced online (virtual) training for service advisors and technicians. Lisa served as head writer and on-camera talent in the videos. Her books are entertaining yet focus on social issues that engage children and parents to discuss. Her four children were all uniquely different ranging from physical differences, adoption, and physiological disorders that lead her following experts in each field to help children overcome the stigma around being different.
Lisa passionately works raising money for charities that improve children’s lives physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
It was August 1945 When Dad left his home as a new pilot on the C-47.
He was a newlywed, just married right before he shipped out.
He had never been outside of his comfort zone in the heartland of Oklahoma, Texas, and Arkansas. Those were his people.
His new wife bravely held back tears until she turned to leave him. He respectfully hid his own tears from falling.
But then anguish comes bursting out when we are alone. We only have ourselves that can cradle our heart.
We don't know what the goodbye entails. Is it today, tomorrow, or forever.
We somehow think that saying goodbye on a regular day is ok, but that goodbye may be the last and we would have missed a final hug.
In 1945 goodbye for Mom and Dad was war torn. Now it was my turn for war and I was letting go of a son again for war.
Football Flyboy: First Lt. Bill Cannon, Piloting More than His Own Aircraft
We all can relate to the hurt of saying goodbye to someone we love. For me, this letter brings back memories of when we took our oldest son to Marine Corps boot camp, and later our youngest son to serve in a Marine Corps tour in Iraq. I held it together while saying goodbye with hugs, smiles, and encouragement. When out of sight, the tears burst and I made that grotesque face. The face you make when you turn your mouth inside out, and your eyes squeeze tight in your sorrow. You get that ugly cry face that is much more than a cry; it becomes a wailing that is inside trapped deep within your soul. No sound comes out. No tears stream down because the anguish is stuck and will not leave.