How's Your Year Going So Far?

By Sandra Sylvester | Feb 15, 2014

Knox County — How many times did you hear, if you grew up in New England, “If we can just get through February…then winter will be about over.”  You all know I’m not a big fan of February and we only have 28 days of it this year, thankfully. February is known to lie a lot. March first doesn’t guarantee that winter is really over. February in its orneriness refuses to let matters be and so spills its lies over into March. However we still like to live under the illusion that there is indeed a spring ahead if we can only ignore the present weather situation.

So far this year we’ve had a couple of doozies in the way of storms. Here in Georgia, the two ice storms we had stranded people on the highways and children were stranded at school. Those on the highway who chose to walk off and find a warm store to go into stayed where they were. The stores were accommodating and even let people sleep on the floors. The kids caught in the schools were all camped out on gym floors for the night.

This year also seems to have started out with more than our share of obituaries. They seem to come in threes don’t they? Recently we lost one of my classmates, Darold Poulin. I also just learned that my classmate Jo Ann Knowlton LaFrance lost her son, Christopher, in a car accident. He was only 37. Jo Ann has now lost her husband, her sister, also recently, and now her son. Today I also saw a notice on Facebook of the death of Meredith Dondis, of Meredith Furniture and the Strand Theater, back when I was growing up in Rockland.

The threesome entertainers we just lost were: Pete Seeger, 94, on January 27; Maximillian Schell, 83, on Feb 1; and Philip Seymour Hoffman, 46, on February 2. And just this week we lost Ralph Waite of The Waltons; Shirley Temple; and Sid Ceaser. Our past just seems to whiz by us doesn’t it?

I’m sure I have many of Pete’s lyrics embedded in my master’s theses which focused on WWII and the Vietnam War. He practically invented protest music and stood by his beliefs all through a Congressional Hearing on Un-American Activities to the present day.

Maximillian Schell, who played the judge on Judgement at Nuremberg, for which he won an Oscar, was himself a refugee from Nazi Germany.

Philip Seymour Hoffman, who died way too young, is in that group of young entertainers who get caught up in the drug scene. It’s a scourge of the business and I’m not hopeful that the accessibility of these drugs to our idols will wane anytime soon.

I found a seedpod from Rob McCall’s “Awanadio Almanack” in the latest Maine, Boats & Harbors magazine that seems appropriate here: From John Banister Tabb: “Are ye the ghosts of fallen leaves, O flakes of snow, For which, through naked trees, the winds A-mourning go?”

Enough of death for now. We all have some of the same problems this time of year. Pipes freeze. The fiscal year budget runs out and some workers suffer with shorter hours or even layoffs. This happened to a former worker friend of mine just recently. She fell into that category of oldest worker/highest pay scale who suffered when my old company had problems a few years ago. She must have had five jobs in as many years. I lucked out on that one by retiring just before the s….&*^ hit the fan.

As for Nanci and I, this month brings the need for two tires on her car; taxes to be paid on my car; and whether or not we can afford to both have haircuts at the same time. As it happens, I had to wait till my Socialble came in to have mine cut. The cupboard is looking a little bare today too.

So what do we do to get through the rest of this month?

Well Nanci and I decided to do a little retail therapy just after Christmas. Maybe not such a good idea considering our present money needs, but darn it, we needed things. We took our Christmas money and the $200 the apartment complex figured they owed us somehow and spent a day getting new shoes and replacing some of our wardrobes. Felt good too.

When I was feeling at my lowest, partly from being more or less housebound because of my bad left foot, which will get operated on soon I hope, I get mail from my great-niece, Danielle Sylvester Deal. As a member of the present third generation of Sylvesters, Danielle makes us all proud.

This picture was on the Thank You note I got from she and her new husband, Haydn, when I contributed a small amount to their mission in the Dominican Republic.

The Deals were married this summer. It was a beautiful wedding which I was fortunate enough to attend. Danielle is an RN working at Boston Medical Hospital and Haydn is working on his masters at Boston University in Social Work.

They were there during the bombing but were not hurt, thank God. They didn’t have time for a long honeymoon, therefore this mission, called the Good Samaritan Mission Council, which took them to the Dominican Republic, served as their honeymoon. The people there even made them a cake for the occasion.

Danielle went on a previous mission there when she was still in nursing school. Here’s some of what she says in the note:

“Each day we served between 70-130 patients. Funds raised were used to help provide medications for ailments such as high blood pressure, and infections and pain, among other things.”

Haydn also helped with construction of a new hospital that will offer healthcare to Haitian immigrant sugar cane workers.

“The people we met were all very thankful and appreciative for everything, none of which would be possible without the donations of people like you. Thank you!”

I say Thank You, Danielle and Haydn for making me realize that I’m not so bad off after all. You brought much needed light into my life.

I will try to get an address from Danielle if you’d like to contribute to the Good Samaritan Mission Council. I’ll let you know later.

I leave you with another seedpod from Ron McCall: From Albert Einstein, “The most beautiful things we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all science. He who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe is as good as dead. His eyes are closed.”

Words to live by. Thanks for listening.

 To make a contribution to the mission send to:

Good Samaritan Mission Council

800 Main St., Suite 126

Holden, MA 01520

In the memo section write: "Boston group"







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