The Land o the Leal

Jack makes it on time again – – –

2020 has been a year of surprises. Some were terrifying and others were poignant, as was one earlier this week.

I went out to check our mailbox and there was a large thin stiff envelope there. I immediately recognized it as containing a calendar and had a very eerie feeling. The only person who sends us calendars is my old friend Colin Stuart in Scotland. But Colin died suddenly and unexpectedly in January of sepsis – –

Sure enough, when I opened the package it did contain a calendar with Scottish scenes. Turning it over, I noticed the sender name on the back of the envelope. Colin’s sister had mailed it but I’ve no idea how she found our address – maybe in some of Colin’s things at his house I suppose. I thought it was a lovely thoughtful way to keep his memory alive in a way that will continue throughout the year.

Something very similar happened when my older sister Margaret passed away a few years ago. I made contact with her old school chum Christine not long before Margaret passed. Christine, who lives in England, re-connected with one of her old friends who lives here in SW Virginia simply because they are both Facebook friends with Wendy and me. All part of the great kaleidoscope of life.

Margaret had always sent electronic greetings cards to us for our birthdays, Thanksgiving and Christmas. Somehow Christine got wind of this and she has carried on the tradition. We get lovely online greetings from her for each occasion and it reminds us not only of our friendship with her but of Margaret.

As I get older (and older) it’s inevitable that many contemporaries pass away and it reminds me of a much shared observation. You die three times – 1) When your body dies 2) When you the last person who remembers you dies 3) When the last thing you impacted is gone.

I’m pleased to have known so many friends and relations whose third death is yet a long way off.

Of course the calendar can’t go on the wall until Friday; any earlier would be bad luck, and we’ve had enough in 2020 – another Scots tradition.

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Filed under between books, Big Stone Gap, folklore and ethnography, Life reflections, Scotland, Uncategorized, VA, Wendy Welch

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