Thursday, June 25, 2015

Too Close to Home

The search for the two convicted murderers who escaped from the Clinton Correctional Facility in upstate New York is very close to my hometown of Burke, New York.  I still have cousins in that area and a lot of memories of going to Owls Head, New York where the latest search is taking place. Some of my relatives had a camp on a lake near Owls Head and I spent a lot of time enjoying summer vacations there. 

Prison is in the middle county at the top of NY State.
The scene of the latest search is only 17.5 miles from where I grew up and very close to a border check point that leads into Canada. When I was young our family could have walked a mile to the Canadian border and crossed over without being stopped. The border is much more secure today.

My father spent much of his spare time roaming the woods and the hills where the police are now searching. He was a member of a hunting club like the one where the escapees’ DNA was found.

Upstate New York, especially those counties closest to the Canadian border, has a very large prison population. That area of the state is very sparsely populated and rugged, with forests and thick underbrush, and small towns scattered across the Adirondack Mountain region. The prisons are considered an economic lifesaver for a region that has few jobs and opportunities. The population of a county with a prison grows by approximately 30%—counting the inmates, prison staff, and families of inmates who move to the area. An increase in the prison population grows the county census and increases the amount of grants and representation at the State Capitol in Albany, New York. So unless there is a rare prison break, it is a win-win for the locals. This year I suspect a lot of locals are staying away from their summer camps on remote lakes until the escapees are caught. 

Upstate New York is anything but peaceful and quiet these days. I’m praying that the police soon apprehend the convicts so that my family and other folks in that region can enjoy the little bit of summer they get for two months every year.

Monday, June 8, 2015

19 Years & Counting

I’ve been waiting a long time to write this blog—nineteen years to be exact. Today my late bloomer husband and I celebrate our 19th wedding anniversary. Almost to the exact hour 19 years ago we said our “I dos.”

It was the second marriage for both of us, and with my terminal illness, neither of us knew how many years of wedded bliss we would have. Charles reminds me that “love is deaf, dumb, and blind.”  In spite of the obstacles we both believed that God brought us together and so we chose to trust Him with our future. 

To celebrate we attended the Barry Manilow “One Last Time” concert last week. What a show and what a showman. He sang everything from his forty year music library. I have to admit that I expected his voice to not be as strong as it used to be.  Boy was I wrong; he hit all the right notes and never missed a beat.  He definitely “writes the songs that make the whole world sing.”

The next day we took time to smell the roses at Gibbs Gardens in Ball Ground, GA.  One thousand red and white knock out rose bushes were still at their peak. Their fragrance filled the air as we walked along the winding paths. It reminded me of June 1998 when we went to another garden five weeks after my liver transplant. With my limited stamina, I made the effort to walk a few hundred feet and sit on a bench. We were both determined to get out of the house and do something for our anniversary. I am blessed today to live a very normal life today.

A few months ago, our nine year old granddaughter, Belle, drew this picture of Charles and me for Grandparents’ Day. She copied it from a family photograph. I guess this is what anniversaries are all about. 
The Bible offers words of wisdom on how to keep a marriage strong in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8.
“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;  it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things. Love never ends.”

During our marriage ceremony, we played the song; “Grow old along with me. The best is yet to be. God bless our love.” Those words still ring true today.