When Love Calls Us To The Things Of This World …

Big and Little Brennan

I’ve been running on empty for most of the past year, so I was not reluctant to let 2016 go. After all those years away in Florida, I had been able to return to my home in Jamestown and spend a year there. I’ve written about it every week for The Post-Journal column Upstate Muse. It’s been a great pleasure to do so. Though I planned on staying a long time, fate has intervened, and I’ve been called away from Chautauqua. Life takes us in unexpected directions. “Love calls us to the things of this world,” says poet Richard Wilbur.

My readers know my daughter-in-law Jean passed away unexpectedly last March at the age of 45 from pulmonary hypertension, leaving five children, two of them under the age of 7. My son Brennan struggled this year finding his way in a new land as a single parent. He found a blessedly fine nanny who tended the youngest two, little Brennan and Cassidy, well for the past months. Now that nanny has sold her house and is moving away.  My son turned to me to be caretaker of the children.

And so I am here in a new year and a new world of child care and housekeeping at the age of 67. I am living in New Jersey, and it looks like I will be here for some time. I must say farewell to my readers and to The Post-Journal, but I will always look back on my weekly columns as a connection with my home, my friends, and my past. One day I may get a chance to return to Jamestown and the column if circumstances permit, but I am glad I got to write about my family, incomparable Chautauqua County and what it means to grow up there and to live there.

As for me, I assume my new duties with a heart full of joy. I’m up at six and dressed too, breathing in the salt air from the Atlantic eight miles east off the back deck as I let my dogs out for a morning run. The little ones get up shortly thereafter, and we spend an hour and a half conversing in the language of children. I pack the lunches. I drive Cassidy to preschool. I wait at the corner with Little B for his school bus.

Today Cassidy asked if she could wave to me out the classroom window as I got into my Jeep to leave, and I said yes, of course, honey. Outside I walked down the sidewalk to where her face looked eagerly out the window. She was shyly smiling, wearing the white faux fur sweater I bought her for Christmas. I waved and threw her three kisses just like my mother used to do as I walked to school from Ivy Street to Fletcher School when I myself was a child. I would stop at the corner and look back. Mother would be standing on the front steps waving and throw me three kisses until I rounded the corner. Such love nourishes and sustains us.


Outside the open window / The morning air is all awash with angels, Wilbur writes.

I’m smiling and waving, readers, family, friends. Thank you with all my heart. Be well.