For the second time in two years, one of our sons was diagnosed with cancer. We were devastated, of course.
Those who know Kaye and me are aware that we are a family of great faith. We believe in positive outcomes for every situation in our lives. We recently celebrated our 38th wedding anniversary and reflected on the good times. Never the bad.
On May 4, 1974, we celebrated our big day with a reception at a restaurant in Beekmantown. I mentioned it in a recent column, and the owners brought a present and a great anecdote that was connected. Sheila and Wayne Dumont wrote a note saying that two years after our reception, they closed the restaurant, made some alterations in the building and opened an antique shop. Their letter goes on: "The day before we closed the doors, a tractor-trailer rolled into our driveway to deliver 30,000 (yes, thirty thousand) Brothers Five Tavern napkins … we had forgotten to cancel the auto shipment."
They still have a few bundles of the vintage napkins and shared a package with us last week. What a delightful gift.
I called to thank them for their thoughtfulness. Sometimes we can thank people in person, but at other times, we need to use a broader forum to let the world know how grateful we are for the love and kindness this great North Country gives us all the time.
We had horrible tragedies in early November of 1988. We could never repay what people did for us, but we have tried to give back whenever we can.
Two years ago, when the first cancer diagnosis tried to knock us down, the prayers and medical expertise prevailed, and our son made miraculous strides. As far as he is concerned now, he is now disease free and thrives with excellent health. He has boundless praise for treatment he still receives at the CVPH FitzPatrick Cancer Center.
When another son was recently declared to have cancer, our family and friends rallied 'round. Surgery was expertly performed at CVPH, and he can't say enough about the doctors and excellent nursing staff on the fifth floor. They treated him as though he were a member of their family.
He is recovering nicely from the surgery and is about to begin an aggressive regimen to fight the cancer in his body. Once again, we believe there will be a happy ending to this story.
Meanwhile, we have witnessed an outpouring of compassion, love, prayers and hands-on help precisely when it is needed most. Kaye and I drove into his Peru yard a couple weeks ago, and it was alive with activity. Men and boys, fathers and sons were cutting, splitting and stacking wood. The wood chips were flying. People were singing, whistling and chatting. It brought tears to our old eyes. They weren't asked. They just did it. Some were fellow correction officers. Others were friends our son has helped over the years. He's a most magnanimous guy. Others were complete strangers. Amazing.
I learned later that 20 or 30 more were working in Sciota that day. They loaded trucks and trailers with more wood and drove in a long convoy to Peru, blowing horns and waving at well-wishers along the way. They delivered 44 cords of wood, all cut, split and ranked in the yard by 4 that afternoon.
He said he didn't know how to express his deep gratitude for all of their kindness. I offered to try to do it right here. They know who they are.
With all the hatred and ill will in this world, Kaye and I are refreshed by these great examples of people who really care. We believe it perpetuates itself, and we try every day to somehow give back to keep the ball rolling.
We urge you to do the same. After that terrible crash in 1988, I began to close every radio newscast with a phrase that I carried over when I began writing this column in 1997. I have vowed to use it every time, and here it is again:
Thanks to all of you for your love, prayers and good will. Have a great day and, please, drive carefully.
Gordie Little was for many years a well-known radio personality in the North Country and now hosts the "Our Little Corner" television program for Home Town Cable. Anyone with comments for him may send them to the newspaper or email him at email@example.com.