Murdo Girl… We celebrate a good man on a very important birthday

When I saw this photo on Sherri Miller’s Facebook page, I was drawn to it. I felt it told a story. The poem is in honor of the man in the photo. His name is Pete Swinson. He is Sherri Miller’s Dad, and he is celebrating his birthday tomorrow with family and friends. What a great day!


Mr. Pete Swinson

This captured moment.. touched me and yet, this is a man I’ve never met.

The photo moved me. I wondered why. Just who was this stand-up guy?

I searched my thoughts to no avail. I looked long minutes at each detail.

First I noticed how he stood; like a man of honor would.

I saw the men he stood before. Did they depict a time of war?

Their salute with heads held high, must bring him thoughts of days gone by.

One hand was’s reflection. The other clenched in recollection?

He survived unlike some others. During wartime, they were all brothers.

His lips are set, in neither smile nor frown. Keeping tears from tumbling down.

When I look at him I see, a man of great humility.

His life went on. Family needs were met, but on that day, he was an honored Vet.

I saw his eyes. Windows to the soul. He’s a good man. One I’d like to know. 


The poem is a reflection of what I see in the photograph, and what I know of this man’s daughter whom I have also never met. Sherri and I have become good friends without meeting. Her Dad must take after her right? I’m pretty sure Pete’s family adores him.

And if you have ever wondered..

What it’s like to be a hundred.

Pete’s having a birthday..and I’m told.

Tomorrow he will be 100 years old!

All the Best!









10 thoughts on “Murdo Girl… We celebrate a good man on a very important birthday

  1. sanjuan831 December 3, 2016 / 10:23 am

    You show honor to this man and his family through your poignant words.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Mary Francis McNinch December 3, 2016 / 10:28 am

      Don’t you just love the photograph? It shows so much character. It must have been very emotional for him.

      Liked by 2 people

      • sanjuan831 December 3, 2016 / 10:32 am

        Yes! Don’t you just wish we could be there today for his 100th birthday?!


      • Mary Francis McNinch December 3, 2016 / 10:55 am

        I’ve been thinking about that too. Their family will enjoy this day so much. Just like we do when we celebrate with family.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. scoper07 December 3, 2016 / 10:11 am

    A wonderfully written piece using only your perception of a photograph of someone you never met. Loved it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mary Francis McNinch December 3, 2016 / 10:22 am

      I let Sherri read it before posting. I am hearing from so many of her family members 07 (over 30). It warms my heart. They are very sweet.

      Liked by 1 person

      • scoper07 December 3, 2016 / 10:30 am

        You have a great following. You are doing the right thing with your writing.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Mary Francis McNinch December 3, 2016 / 10:52 am

        Thank you 07. I don’t want it to be about me. That probably sounds funny coming from someone who wrote 200 stories about herself!


  3. DIanna Kenobbie Diehm December 3, 2016 / 8:25 am

    What a beautifully written article to honor such a great man. I indexed all the cemetery’s in Lyman County and had heard that Parnell (love his name) had a relative buried on private ground. This private ground belongs in the family of the man my daughter works for on a ranch south of Presho. That instantly turned to great interest for me. So I brazenly went to his home in Presho SD and introduced myself, telling him my mission was to find all persons buried in Lyman County. He invited me into his home and told me his story. Turns out it was his great grand father. (I need to re verify). Can’t remember now if it was it grandfather or great grandfather. And that’s how I met this wonderful man. Thank you again for a wonderful article.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mary Francis McNinch December 3, 2016 / 8:45 am

      Thank you for your comments and kind words Dianna. I am hearing from so many people. It’s amazing how loved and respected this family is.

      Liked by 1 person

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