Today is my birthday and I’m fortunate to have so many friends with whom to celebrate. Birthdays are events for looking forward and sometimes looking back. Today I did a little of each as I wondered how much longer I get to hang around here. Fifty-six is only four years from sixty and that used to seem old. Now that it’s right around the corner it’s different. My brother Mark called at 7:30 this morning to wish me well. He was in Charleston, South Carolina and it was a warm 32 F compared to our 8 F here in Franklinville. Mark always calls and this year we chatted for longer than usual. I asked about my nephew Tom who is serving in the U.S. Navy Ceremonial Guard in Washington, DC. Mark said he was doing well and had even served at the White House already.

I spend most of my day in an elementary school where my office is and so each morning I’m greeted by a sea of young faces many of whom know me by name. Sometimes I stop to visit, other times they need help opening a locker or picking up something they’ve dropped. I’ve been greeting young people in this building for just a few months shy of thirty years.  These children are the flowers of my life. They pick me up on days that I’m down.  This morning I greeted a kindergarten class that was passing near my office. I asked them to wait so I could bring a special friend to greet them. I quickly retrieved a life-size Teddy bear from my office and held him so the children could touch the bear. They were delighted that I brought the bear out. Most of the children took time to hug the bear and when I saw them later in the hall they mentioned the bear again.

I usually eat alone in my office but today my wife came and made sure that I’d come to the faculty room at 11:30 AM for a special lunch. When I entered the room all present began to sing Happy Birthday. It was a nice surprise and I was very touched. We all shared some birthday cake and a few stories.  I’m grateful for my wife, my life and the students of Franklinville Elementary School who have been so much a part of my life since March of 1979.


It’s 5:30AM and Devin is leaving home after being here for five days. It’s been his longest visit home in three years, but as I watch him go I think of how blessed we are to have him. How many other parents have lost sons and daughters in the war or how many parents never have any children at all. Still parting is always sweet sorrow. He’s a young man now and no longer under our roof. Our daughter’s been home too though she’s with us more often, at least for now. She’s in her senior year of college and I know that soon she too will be out from under our wing.

We’ve had a full house these last five days as both our children have been home along with their friends.  Most of the time its much quieter at the Crestview cloister as I call it. We’ve been empty nesters for almost four years now and though we enjoy the freedom that brings we still long for those times when we were all together. Life is fleeting and it seems that children are too.

Devin left home this morning to drive to Rochester to attend a Buffalo Bills game with friends. He’s been an ardent Bills fan since he was a little boy. I watch the games sometimes,  but only once in my life have I ever attended a game at the stadium. This morning it’s 18 degrees Fahrenheit and although Devin assured me it would be 40 at game-time that just seems too cold to me.

We pray for Devin as he makes his way home to the Rochester area and we remember the good times of the past week. Today Diane and Dara will decorate our newly cut Douglas fir Christmas tree and then Dara will leave too and then our home will be still again.

Latarian Milton

This little boy did a very dangerous thing. He stole a car. But, he is one of the most adorable children I’ve ever seen. I love to hear his seven year old logic when confronted by the authorities.