There are thousands of courageous people on the front lines of this coronavirus pandemic. The epicenter in the United States is currently New York City. I live a long way from there but I have many friends who live there. I was born in Manhattan many years ago. My Mom was born there too. She grew up in a walkup in Jackson Heights. When I saw this tweet by Governor Cuomo tonight on Twitter it really grabbed me. I’ve been very impressed with Governor Cuomo’s leadership in the midst of this chaos. I pray everyday and especially for the people of New York. I hope you’ll pray for them too. New Yorkers are tough. They have to be. I’m saluting the folks who put this video together.
The King shall rejoice. The words of the psalms written thousands of years ago by King David and others are frequently with me. I sit beside the still waters of Nannen pond. My soul is restored. I walk through the valley of the shadow of death each day. It’s a metaphor for life. Under his wings I find refuge. Next to still waters I am refreshed. I’ve been thinking a lot lately and sitting next to a lot of still water. God I love the smell of the crabapple blossoms behind me. Their sweet perfume, this lovely June evening, and the stillness invite me once again to listen to the silent voice of my creator. What is it that you are calling me too? Is it simply to “be still and know.”
I’ve been thinking about love a lot lately and the people I love who have touched my life. Some are gone now. Each spring when the Veronica first appears in the lawns near our home and around the area I think of my grandmother, Caroline Watkins. I can hear her voice and feel her presence with me very strongly. I feel good and wish she were here. I know how much she loved me and how much I loved her too.
Then too I was picnicking with my wife today in Cuba, New York in what the locals call Willow Bank Park. We used to picnic there in 1983 when we were newlyweds. Now we’re a bit older but we still like picnics and tonight we were able to have one. It was romantic and lovely to be with the one I love and who has most drawn me out of myself in these last almost twenty-nine years since we first dated.
I loved my ride to Mt. Irenaeus today and my time with the Friars there. I love Fr. Bob, Br. Joe, and Br. Kevin. I love Fr. Lou and Fr. Dan even though they weren’t present today. They are family to me and so are all the other regulars like Duane, Anita, John and my other Secular Franciscan brothers and sisters. I loved to the ride I took after Mass and brunch. A ride that took me south over the mountains to Bradford, PA. I found a nice little mountain vista and pulled my car off the road for a short nap in the lovely sun.
I love our children too. Devin and Dara though both away in Buffalo and Rochester, they are never far from my heart. Today at the prayer of the faithful I asked that God would bless all those I love and all that he loves which must be the whole world. He knows them all and blesses them all.
A couple of days ago I wrote a short piece for a colleague who is the senior class adviser at Franklinville Central School. I was trying to be helpful and I’ve found that whenever you try to help others you invariably help yourself too. Several people have responded to that request. My son who works in the Rochester, New York area was one of the responses. Devin realizes how important it is to give these young people a hand. More than that many of these students who come from low income backgrounds get a chance to get out and see what opportunities exist for them. It can be a mind expanding and opportunity expanding experience for them. Franklinville’s need has been our opportunity to be helpful but also to think about how we can help on a broader scale. Peace.
Joe and Betty Carrier flanked by their children and grandchildren on the occasion of their 55th wedding anniversary. We enjoyed a lovely dinner at Sprague’s Maple Farms in nearby Portville. It was a lovely October afternoon. The only one missing was our son Devin who was off playing in a benefit golf tournament. I’ve been a member of this family for just a little over 25 years and I regard Mom and Dad as though they were my own parents. I’m very happy for both of them. I cannot imagine our lives without them. Dinner at Spragues is always a treat and today was no different. If you’re ever in southwestern New York State you owe it to yourself to visit Spragues. It’s a lovely restaraunt that showcases area maple syrup production. My father-in-law is one of those area producers who each spring bring us tasty maple syrup. I’ve been blessed to have had a grandfather and father-in-law who are maple producers. I’ve almost never been without real maple syrup.
Yesterday I took this picture with my Kodak camera as I was flying over the campus of St. Bonaventure University. St. Bonaventure is situated next to the Allegany River and is adjacent to the Village of Allegany which is also pictured. I was at 4500 feet which is a little over 3000 feet above ground level. It was a beautiful night to be aloft.
As March winds down, daytime temperatures rise into the thirties and forties. The winter snows recede each year. The rising temperatures bring sweet sap flowing from our maple trees and producers large and small tap our trees to harvest maple syrup. Thursday night mother nature graced us with some sugar snow. That’s what my folks called the special wet heavy snow that came in late March. It’s really a herald of the approaching spring. The storm Thursday night brought over six inches of fresh snow to our area. About this time of year I’m tired of snow but this storm produced an picture postcard image of the wooded area behind our home. The forecast calls for rising temperatures over the next week, so our sugar snow will be short lived.
This year’s Maple Syrup crop has been bountiful and local producers our content with their production. My father-in-law has produced over 200 gallons and I know of another local producer who has produced in excess of 600 gallons. Prices for this years maple syrup range from $39 to $45 per gallon. [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OVh-pWVvM-w]